Is Stress Making You Eat More?

Why Do You Eat?

We all deal with stress.  And we each have our own way of dealing with it.  A very common way to deal with stress, especially chronic stress, is eating.  When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol, a stress hormone.   In addition, another hormone that is released is ghrelin  a hunger hormone.

Ghrelin stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, this tells the body that it wants to eat.  Cortisol is what triggers our food cravings such as salty, sweet, and fried.  In other words, when you are feeling stressed, you have an intense desire for foods that give you pleasure and a burst of energy.

However, how do you know when you are eating because you are hungry and when you are driven by stress?

Stress Eating
Stress Eating

What is Stress Eating and Physical Hunger?

There are a few differences between eating when you are stressed out and eating because your body physically needs food.  However, when you are stressed it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference.  Here are some of the main differences between and stress eating and when you physically need to eat.

  • When you are hungry because of stress, it comes on suddenly and feels overwhelming. Physical hunger comes on more gradual and doesn’t demand to be instantly satisfied. When you are physically hungry, all food sounds good.  You just want to eat.  However, when your hunger is due to stress you will crave specific foods, such as pizza or chocolate.
  • When you are eating due to stress, you are typically eating mindlessly without really thinking about how much you are eating. (Like when you eat the whole bag of chips).  However, when you eat for physical needs, you tend to be more aware of how much you are eating and when you are full. Read More

Fitness Tracker-Which Should You Buy?

Fitness Tracker-Which Should You Buy?

Combine a highly evolved pedometer with a mini-computer and a virtual coach and what do you have?  A fitness tracker.  These high-tech gadgets contain sensors that pick up data about your body (heart rate), activity (steps taken and calories burned), sleep, and more.

With dozens on the market, how should you choose?

Mix or Match Based on Your Goals

Each device has its own combo of special features.  Be on the lookout for features like these:

Fitness Tracker
Fitness Tracker

Step Counter.   Most devices show you the number of steps you take and how many miles that equals.  If walking or running is your main exercise, this is the feature you’ll use most.  Shop for devices that ask for the length of your footstep.  They’ll provide the most accurate information.

Calories Burned.  The harder you exercise and the more you move throughout the day the more calories you burn.  Be sure to look for devices that ask for your weight and gender to get the most accurate results.

Sleep Tracker.  A few devices track sleep.  Most give you an indicator of how much sleep you get vs. how much you toss and turn.  Getting enough sleep can help you lose weight.  Too little sleep may lower your metabolism and increase your appetite. Read More

Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Take Your Workout to the NEXT Level!

Do you go for short walks in your neighborhood, bike ride or work at the gym?  Are you stalled in your progress?

Exercise Ball
Man on Exercise Ball

First, think about what you could do differently.

TYPE:  What exercises are your doing?  Consider some cross training and add a new activity such as biking, swimming, yoga, weight training.  Test out new activities that you may not have previously considered.  Enroll in a short program that you might be interested in.  Try Zumba, Adventure Clubs etc.

TIME:  If you jog for 20 minutes, try to keep it going for 20 minutes.  If you cycle go another mile.  Go farther and longer.

INTENSITY:  How hard do you work?  Do you reach your target heart rate?  Take your maximum heart rate which is roughly 220 minus your age.  Make your target heart rate zone at 50% to 85% of that.  Pick up the pace or add weight resistance.  Try walking at a regular speed and then step it up a notch for 5 minutes and alternate the speeds. Read More