We’ve saved one of the best “healthy hacks” for last –
Stress can be a pesky adversary when it comes to weight loss. Busy schedules, sleepless nights, and a never-ending to-do list can cause overeating and less time for exercise and relaxation. This can result in weight gain which can have long term effects to your health. The stress, or fight or flight reaction causes your body to release adrenaline, which raises your heart rate and can disturb your sleep patterns, and increases cortisol levels in the blood (which can make you crave fat and sugar) and tells your body to store more fat – all of which can have profound long-term effects.
Stress related eating can compound the effects of stress on the body. Awareness is really the first step in stopping stress-related eating, and knowing your triggers, difficult times of day, and comfort foods can be a great way to put the brakes on unhealthy eating. Here are a few quick tips to help you consciously control stress eating.
Practice mindful eating.
If you find yourself munching away at your desk at work, eating while you shuttle kids around in the car, or mindlessly snacking in front of the television, you may be stress eating. Eliminating the temptation, i.e. the snacks in your desk and car, or the junk food at home, is a great first step. The next step is eating only when you’re hungry and only until you are full. While this may be difficult for some, being conscious of what you are eating and using portion control can quickly become good habits.
Find healthy distractions.
A good way to stop yourself from stress eating is to engage in an activity that distracts you from eating. Check your email or favorite social media site, tackle a household task, take a quick walk around the block, play with your dog, call a friend – anything that results in redirecting your energy away from both food and your stressors is helpful.
For many this is easier said than done. The benefit of exercise is that it not only raises your metabolism, it lowers your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and helps you sleep. Exercise is beneficial for everyone at any age, and can be habit forming. Once you start an exercise regimen you’ll notice the difference quickly and won’t want to skip a day.
Controlling your eating is a great place to start, but to improve your overall long-term health, you need to find a way to minimize stress. Stress manifests in the human body in many ways, and while you can see weight gain, the stress may be impacting your health in ways are less obvious, but just as destructive. When you consciously take steps to reduce stress on a day to day basis, you’ll find the rituals you create stop stress in its tracks and become your healthy habits – instead of eating.
Click to review all of the healthy hacks and incredible recipes we’ve shared this month!