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Tag Archives: emotional eating
Women who are fed up and burnt-out on their jobs are likely to eat more. This probably is not surprising to you, but it has been confirmed by research done in Finland and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While most of us want to stop stress eating, we are aware that we do it. Whether you know it or not, there are some good reasons why we do it as well.
Job stress is enough to cause stress eating for most people. Burnout is when job stress becomes a chronic condition and can lead to fatigue, loss of interest or concern, and often mistakes. Burn-out applies to men as well as women; however, this specific study was done with a group of 230 employed women between the ages of 30 and 55. Interestingly, 22 percent of the participants demonstrated some degree of burnout.
How is this possible? It’s simple. Not all cravings are created equal. Although some result from straight up hunger, other cravings arise because you smell something wonderful cooking in the kitchen or see a delicious looking meal. Other times cravings may exist because of a nutritional deficiency or because of a hormonal shift. Therefore, knowing which type of craving you are experiencing is key and can actually help you make good food choices if you are able to identify which craving you are experiencing and why.
Know Your Craving
Cravings can be described in two different ways: physiological or psychological. Physiological cravings are the result of actual hunger and mean that your body needs nourishment. If the body is well nourished overall, it probably won’t be a specific craving. These types of cravings don’t go away and instead often get worse over time. Psychological cravings, on the other hand, do pass as time goes on. A psychological food craving happens when you see something tasty online, on television, or even just smell the aroma of a food. Sometimes even boredom can cause these types of cravings and it’s important to not let these types take control of your eating decisions.
Cynthia Crowsen writes at It All Changes about living life on the roller coaster of life. She has lost over 100 pounds in a variety of ways but more importantly found her love for life. She hates changes but they keep coming so she’s jumped on to enjoy the ride.
It took me 3 years to lose 115 pounds and reach a happy weight where I felt comfortable. Then life happened. I had back surgery along with several other injuries, stomach and major allergy issues and some depression when my beloved Grandmother died. Life threw me a curve ball and suddenly maintaining this weight loss didn’t seem possible.
I won’t say I maintained my entire 100+ pound weight loss over the last 5 years but I maintained most. More importantly, I maintained the healthy habits I’d gained while losing the weight. The habits prevented gaining back all the weight I’d lost and a few extra pounds.
I used these 5 tips to minimize my weight gain while maximizing my health through difficult times. Now I’m using them to get back to my happy weight.
Stress is simply a part of life. Stress can be a positive thing: It can save your life in a fight or flight situation, or it can be the kick in the butt you need to finally finish that project at work you’ve been putting off. Too much stress, however, can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. In today’s society, where we are moving faster, taking on more responsibility and are constantly technologically connected to the demands of work and home, our lives are becoming more overwhelming, and it may be taking a toll on our waistlines.
Cortisol, dubbed the “stress hormone”, is an important hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, responsible for many functions in the body including regulating metabolism and blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory response, and releasing insulin, which maintains blood sugar levels.
Cortisol isn’t only secreted when the body is under stress, but it is secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress (think of when something pops out and scares the crap out of you. That surge you get is your body’s fight or flight response- you either jump and run, or start swinging.) The stress we encounter on a daily basis isn’t always so obvious or sudden, but daily stress, i.e. a jam packed schedule the next day or not knowing how you are going to afford next month’s bills, isn’t immediately remedied, so your stress levels stay elevated for an extended period of time until the stressor is remedied, or more often than not, until another stressor comes along and takes over.
Just as with everything in life, too much of something is never a good thing. Elevated cortisol levels cause many physical, negative changes to the body, including impaired cognitive function, blood sugar imbalances, high blood pressure, and lower immunity, causing you to feel slow and drained of energy, or even come down with an illness.
Rebecca Wilson practices cognitive & mindfulness-based therapies and researches health psychology and behavior change. Her website, habitspark.com, focuses on how to use positive habits to create healthy and happy lifestyles.
First of all, what exactly is a habit? A habit is a behavior that you do so regularly that it becomes almost automatic. Although many habits are good, like brushing your teeth, some habits are devastating to a healthy lifestyle and weight control. Here are the 3 worst habits and how to break them:
Bad Habit #1: Eating mindlessly. Eating on the run, eating without paying attention to your hunger signals, and eating to escape painful feelings.
Break It: Replace eating mindlessly with eating mindfully. Eat at a dining table and make sure you aren’t doing anything else while you are eating. Before you start eating, notice your hunger level. As you eat, pay attention to your senses: the taste of the food, the feel of it, the smell, and how it looks.
In a study released in the June issue of the journal American Sociological Review, mothers who have had a baby while unmarried appear to be at higher risk for poor health. The study, which began in 1979, followed close to 4,000 women between the ages of 14 and 22. The young women were queried every year until 1994, and every two years thereafter until 2008.
Those women who had delivered children outside of marriage reported being less healthy as they approached their 40s than the ones who had postponed motherhood until after marriage. In addition, those who began motherhood and then married reported the same health concerns. Those who married before having children reported the highest levels of positive health.
The study allowed for prior existing health conditions.
The rate of birth in the unmarried mother category has jumped from less than 10% in 1960 to close to 40% today.
The reasons for reduced health in this group are unknown, but many surmise that the possibility of a lower income level may have something to do with it. Women who have children when they are both younger and unmarried typically have a lower level of education and this can be a deterrent to higher income.
Even though there may be an evolutionary reason why we are tempted to eat when stressed, it isn’t a habit that benefits us. Stress eating is often the villain/antagonist behind weight gain or that stubborn, final four pounds. For many people, stress eating also allows them to avoid their stressors rather than focusing on finding a solution. Stress eating becomes a stressor in itself, creating an awful cycle, when it is a habit we want to break.
Most coping techniques were, at one point, functional to manage stress, but anything done to excess can be damaging. Grabbing a snack that can be quickly converted to glucose can help you think your way out of a problem, but a toll is taken on your waistline when overused. By the time you have gotten there, stress eating is a habit so stopping is slightly more complicated than admitting you have a problem. Awareness cannot just come after the deed is done, but must come prior to your actions if you want to change behavior.
This guest post comes from Alesha Sevy, Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge.
Creating healthy habits is a lifelong journey – you won’t always feel the same from day to day, and you may need to make a consistent effort to create healthy habits that leave you feeling good. At the Biggest Loser Resort, we educate our guests on emotional eating and how to identify when you are actually hungry vs. emotionally hungry. If you find that you are snacking from boredom, stress, happiness, sadness – anything that isn’t actually true hunger, try the simple strategy of doing something else. But not just anything else – take a moment to practice self care. It’s still a “treat” that you can give yourself, and you may actually burn calories in the process rather than consuming!