In the movies, whenever two characters break up, the next scene often involves binge-eating junk food. In reality, the first few days after a split are more often a stomach-churning affair, with food being the last thing on your mind. While the post-breakup feels are different for everyone, science says there's a reason for this eat-nothing then eat-all-the-things pattern.
One writer in the Netherlands recently investigated the phenomenon and reported that it has to do with your hormones getting out of whack post-breakup. Immediately after breaking up (especially if it was not your decision), your body goes into fight-or-flight mode. You're likely to experience a higher heart rate and increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline, leading to trouble sleeping and both stomach pangs and a lack of desire to eat.
Your body is basically in survival mode, according to Gert ter Horst, a professor of neurobiology in the Netherlands. You're in a high-stress situation, so your sympathetic nervous system kicks in, making hunger a much smaller priority and suppressing hunger pangs by slowing down your digestion.
Unsurprisingly, your emotions are also likely to be going haywire during this time and that can affect what (or even if) you want to eat. "The areas of the brain in charge of emotions and emotional pain also [regulate] how we eat, our need for food, and what we taste," Horst told Vice. "The areas that take care of these functions are close together, and can influence one another."
Once your hunger does come back, you're more likely to reach for fatty foods to make up for the calorie deficit and lowered oxytocin levels that occur when a relationship ends. This explains why pizza, ice cream, and Oreos sound especially great once the initial shock wears off.
Unsurprisingly, men and women respond differently to heartache and women are more likely to experience these stomach-related symptoms than men (ugh). So if you're following Lorelai Gilmore's advice of wallowing with gallons of ice cream and tons of pizza, just know you're not alone.
This article originally appeared on Delish.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.