Beat the weight gain
STRESS is everywhere, and chronic stress is known to be harmful not only to our emotional health, but also to our physical health. It can affect the immune system ( making us sick more often), the heart ( causing high blood pressure and other heart problems) and muscles ( causing problems with neck, shoulder and low-back pain), to name just a few concerns.
It can also be linked to overeating, and so contribute to obesity. Stress eating is a common problem in our fast-paced world, although many people believe they are alone when it comes to this issue. In reality, most people have a tendency to overeat when moderately stressed. That can make controlling food portions particularly d i f f i c u l t . T h e r e may b e physiological reasons why we tend to eat more and eat certain types of foods when we are under chronic stress. F o r e x a m p l e , r e s e a r c h suggests that certain brain functions linked to chronic stress compel us to eat. Stress can also compel us to eat faster, potentially increasing the amount we eat even more.
The foods we’re more likely to reach for at times of stress are the sugary and starchy favourites we might call ‘‘ comfort foods’’. These have properties that affect the brain in soothing ways, maki n g u s f e e l b e t t e r a n d reinforcing eating when we are under stress.
So you see, you’re not alone. I t ’ s j ust how our bodies are wired to deal with chronic stress. It’s essential to identify whether stress is driving your overeating. If you try to control portions w i t h t r i c k s l i k e u s i n g smaller plates, but don’t address the real reason for overeating, such tricks won’t help.
Is stress eating you? Take the quiz:
> Do you get irritated over minor things?
> Do you often feel anxious, jittery and ‘‘ hyper’’?
> Do people nerves often?
> Is it difficult to control your temper?
> Is it hard to focus on and remember things?
> A r e y o u c o n s t a n t l y worrying and thinking about the next thing you have to do?
If you see yourself in these signs of stress and are having problems with portion control, there may be a link. We can’t eliminate stress from our lives, but we can learn to manage it.
Here are some tips for reducing stress and portions:
> T a k e d e e p b r e a t h s t hr o ughout t he d a y , e s - pecially before eating.
get on your
> Slow down eating by savouring your food.
> Try to be mindful if you find yourself feeling hyper, and slow down your movements and actions.
> Look at the big picture. Remind yourself of what’s really important in your life. Perhaps what you’re worrying about really isn’t as important as you think.
> Remind yourself of what chronic stress can do to your health.
> Manage hunger by eating sensible meals on a regular schedule. > Watch the servings. > Exercise is a highly effect i v e s t r e s s - b u s t e r a n d appetite-reducer.