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

Relaxing the Mind: Deep Breathing and Mindfulness Meditations

Mindfulness is a State of Being

Mindfulness is a state of only being aware of things in the present state.  Science has proven that a meditation practice can alleviate stress, decrease anxiety, reduce chronic pain, reduce insomnia, and possibly combat heart disease. But if you spend your life anticipating a bunch of stressful situations, you cannot relax your mind.  If you worry about things outside of your control, such as your past or your future can put your body in a stress response.

Meditation-Mindfulness
Meditation-Mindfulness

With that in mind, today we will go over how to make a habit of mindfulness and develop a new behavior into your life.  It’s simple:  When you start with a specific outcome, the easiest way to get there is to build a new habit to help you achieve your goal.  Here are some guidelines.

Relax the Mind

When you want to relax your mind, breathe deeply and fully.  Do not “think” about anything.  Just focus on your breathing; deep, full breaths.  You will allow nothing but your present state of being.  There are wonderful apps, (one of my favorites is CALM) MP3’s, CD’s and downloads for purchase to help you reach this relaxed state. Read More

Is Your Body Toxic Due to Stress?

Detoxification and Stress
Detoxification and Stress

Stress and Detoxification

Are you toxic because of stress?  It seems like everyone has stress today.  But did you know that it affects every cell and tissue in our bodies?  It robs you of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, breaks down your major organs and lowers your immune system.  Over time, unrelieved stress causes severe acid build-up that hinders your digestion of nutrients.  It interferes with your body’s cleansing processes and contributes to toxic buildup.

Reducing stress is critical to your health.  You can eat a perfect diet, cleanse your body inside and out, and exercise regularly, but if you are in constant state of stress, your physical problems won’t go away.

Is Your Body Toxic Due to Your Thoughts and Feelings?

Positive thought and emotions contribute to good health.  Negative thoughts and feelings are damaging.  They literally “eat at you”.  Positive, optimistic thoughts are more nurturing while boosting your digestion. Read More