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Something to Stress About: Your Stress Eating Adds 11 Extra Pounds a Year

stress eating

Whether it’s ice cream, fries, or some other comfort food, most of us have that one thing we crave when stress hits. It’s not that we’re eating it all the time, only when we’re feeling frazzled and feel like we “deserve” or “need” it. If we’re eating healthily the rest of the time, what’s the harm in indulging in some stress eating now and then?

The harm, as it turns out, is an average of 11 extra pounds a year. A new study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry shows that stress eating alone can lead to weight gain. Eating just one high-fat meal after experiencing one or more stressful events the day before can slow women’s metabolism enough to add more than ten pounds a year.

“The question we were asking is whether stress affects metabolism, and I was so surprised at the magnitude of the effect,” Dr. Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study, told Today, adding that she wasn’t expecting to see such dramatic results.
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How You Feel Affects How You Look: Mood and Weight Inextricably Linked

A number of factors in your life can contribute to your mood. Work, family, romantic relationships, and even the weather all play a part in how you feel. But what about weight loss or weight gain? Does how much you weigh affect how you feel? And does how you feel affect how much you weigh?

happy

Speaking from experience,  during the times that I am at a healthy and fit weight I’m in a happier mood than the times when I am heavier. Part of it has to do with how I feel about my body—better, obviously—but scientists think there’s more to it than that. Much of why you feel better at a healthier weight has to do with what you’re doing to reach those goals.

First off, exercise produces endorphins, so when you’re working out your brain rewards you with these feel-good chemicals. When you eat healthy foods like leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean proteins, you feed your brain nutrients that have been linked to happiness. (Conversely, when you eat trans fats and other bad for you foods your mood suffers.) And then there’s something to the idea of sticking with healthy habits, something that scientists call self-efficacy, which tends to lead to a boost in self-esteem and mood.
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Coffee Plus Stress May Lead to More Stress

I attempt to kick my caffeine habit at least three times a year. I’ll do pretty well for a while, but then I’ll need to stay up late to finish a project, or not sleep very well… You know how it goes.

drinking coffee

The fact is I know I’m far from alone in having an addiction to caffeine that never quite subsides. (However, I’m pretty alone when it comes to my dislike of coffee—I hate it almost as much as I love it!)

In fact, when Shape Magazine polled more than 750 of their readers, they found nearly half of them admitted to drinking more coffee than usual (up to two cups) when they needed to feel more focused, stay alert, and be productive, especially at work.


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3 Ways Yoga Supports a Healthy Lifestyle

Nearly everyone has aspirations to be healthy. Following diets and new and improved workout plans are popular behaviors at the beginning of each New Year, as many will vow to eat better and get more exercise.

A few months of eating fresh, high quality cuisine and hitting the gym makes a big difference in the way we feel. A slimmer waistline, clearer skin, and an overall feeling of health is worth it, so why is it so hard to stay the course?

Your lifestyle plays a huge role in whether or not your good intentions are going to stick. If you think your lifestyle might not be supporting your desire to be healthy, keep reading.
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Stop Middle Aged Weight Gain with Yoga

Millions of Americans are working extremely hard to lose the weight they’ve gained in middle age. Thankfully, there is an enjoyable way to prevent needing to join in this crazy rush to lose those extra pounds.

According to a study published by Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, people of middle age who participate in a regular yoga practice are less likely to put on pounds in mid-life compared with those who do not practice yoga at all. Alan Kristal, co-author of the study could not fully explain how practicing yoga helped people avoid weight gain because, “Except for very strenuous yoga practices, you don’t really burn enough energy to make any difference in terms of weight.”

In contrast to the highly sought after mega-calorie burning, sweat inducing, weight management benefits of vigorous exercise, yoga offers indirect ways to help you avoid weight gain, and the following explains why.


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