Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stress, Mindless Eating and Fat Gain

Stress and More Stress

When we're stressed out, we tend to craze for sweet and greasy foods to make us feel good. Many people pig out on high-carb, high-fat, high-calorie but low-nutrient-value foods.

Eat, Eat and Eat More

By the time you realize it, you mindlessly shovel two bags of chips plus a jar of salsa, or munch a double cheeseburger along with a large order of fries and a supersized soda, or perhaps gobble six packs of beer with all the high-fat, high-calorie finger foods while watching TV all night. Enjoying a few drinks at night to unwind your stressful day could turn into an overeating disaster.

You Can't Stop Eating?!

You just cannot seem to stop eating 'til you really feel full and stuffed. That's very likely 1000+ calories of "feeling good" junk food. You rationalize that, "since I feel better now, I'll go to gym to work out tomorrow." You know that probably won't happen since your life spins around again with the same stress cycle. No wonder you've gained all the fat, particularly around the belly. That's why it's called "beer belly."

Does this stress eating sound familiar to you?

Does your stress sabotage your diet and make you fat?

Does the cold weather and winter blues make you feel depressed and feel like eating more?

You know your weakness in food. You know you have to stop it but simply cannot help it.

Tips for Taming Your Stress, Emotional and Impulsive Eating

I have the following tips to share with you as to how to use food to fuel your body, replenish your energy and soothe your stress while enjoying the food and eating mindfully to manage your weight.

  1. Recognize your stress triggers and signals. Your body releases a stress hormone cortisol that triggers the release of two neurotransmitters. These two brain chemicals make you increasingly crave for sugary and fatty foods.
  2. Take your time, sit down for at least three meals to eat mindfully. Enjoy the healthy, nutritious foods. Savor the tastes. You'll feel fuller and more satisfied than eating mindlessly. You'll eat fewer calories. Some natural herbs or their essential oils such as pepperment may help curb appetite and eat less.
  3. Keep healthy snacks in your home, office and car. When you're hungry and ready for snacks, you have all the healthy snacks in your reach. You won't run to the vending machine or drive through fast food joints to pick up the sugary, high-fat foods.
  4. Watch out for the few drinks, particularly during and after dinner, and in special occasions. The calories do add up. Don't "drink" your calories. Try to replace the sugary drinks with tea. Keep the alcohol to a glass of wine with dinner. Alcohol disturbs sleep pattern, which makes sleep-deprived you even more stressful.
  5. Eat a balanced diet by eating high-fiber, low-sugar breakfast and a good balance of complex carb, lean protein, healthy essential fats for other meals. Your blood sugar will be more stable throughout the day, leaving you less stressful and less likely to overeat mindlessly.
  6. Some nutrients are helpful in soothing stress such as B vitamins, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium.
  7. Eat antioxidant-rich nutrients or supplements to help absorb or neutralize superoxide free radicals generated from oxidative stress. The superoxide free radicals were proven to be causes of many diseases, health problems and aging.
  8. Learn and practice self-care and stress management techniques. Seek alternative or preventive methods beyond the traditional fix-it approach.

Copyright 2007 by C. Carey Yang.
All rights reserved.

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web said...
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Relaxation and Stress Management said...

Hi, thank you for your participation in the carnival of healing at Where we Relax here is a copy of this weeks carnival

Carey Yang said...

This article was also included in Weight Management and Fitness Forum - 7th Edition (12/16/07).

Thank you.


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