Get on Your Way to Being Fit, Fab and Feeling Fantastic
Are you an emotional eater? Do you reach for the wrong foods. They will help you to deal with emotional issues that confound you on a routine basis? Does your diet and weight loss plan always seem to get the kaibosh when strong feelings are triggered in you as a result of general stress, life challenges or relationship problems?
Emotional eating has a lot to do with stress and the body’s need to process and get rid of it in some way. If you’re facing troubled times, or even if your day has been especially full, busy and chaotic, the first thing you may want to do when you arrive home is eat candy, cookies, sweets or a high carb meal. However, what you ideally should be doing when stress levels rise and evoke an emotional reaction in you, is to find a way to relieve the stress that has built up in your body. You find the way to relieve the stress, you find the way to stop emotional eating.
What Happens When We’re Stressed?
Our muscles seize up. You may feel pain – aching shoulders, headache, back pain or hip discomfort. Our heart and breathing rates may increase. This is because the stress of our modern day world actually evokes a primal response in our nervous system. It’s known as “fight or flight” – it’s a natural reaction and means of self preservation in the face of danger. Your body is preparing itself to make a decision. Are you going to flee, or will you stay to fend off the perceived threat?
However, we live in the modern day world. Very few dangers actually exist compared to our past life in the wild… the actual opportunity to physically flee from or fend off stress will never materialize. So what we are left with is a build-up of stress hormones, and a lingering tension in our bodies that is in need of release.
Learning To Release The Stress
How to release stress in the body? How to avoid temptation to numb your emotions with high carb, high sugar snacking choices? How to learn to stop emotional eating by releasing the stress?
1. Do cardio
We already know the stress causes food cravings. Uncontrolled food cravings lead to emotional eating habits.
Imagine, just a half hour of cardio exercise 2 or 3 days per week is enough to rid your body of the stress. Hence, take a quick jog around the block a few times… join the gym and hit the stair master or take a spin class a few days a week. The feel-good endorphins will definitely help the body offload stress… and they also nourish the brain and nervous system.
Basic stretches prove incredibly beneficial if you’re looking to decrease stress in the body. They put an end to your emotional eating habit.
To test this in action, wait for a day when you feel like your stress levels are fairly high and you want to cram food in your face. Instead of eating, take 20 or 30 minutes for some slow, mindful stretching. When you’re finished, cool off with a drink of clean water. Then see if your hunger has calmed down enough to appreciate a healthier choice. Have a handful of nuts and a few pieces of celery.
3. Share affection
Share some affection with a family member, partner, or even your pet. Anything that helps the body to release soothing brain chemicals will be a good way to gently rid yourself of stress and relax the nervous system.
Engage in mindful breathing. Taking slow, mindful breaths tones the cardio vascular system and takes the nervous system out of that undesirable fight-or-flight state. If you feel a food craving coming on as a result of something unpleasant occurring, try to cool off with some mindful breathing. You can add in a few stretches while you’re at it. Then, go back and see if you still have a strong urge to eat that unhealthy food that will ruin your diet!
5. Take a short nap
Believe it or not, a nap may seem counterintuitive if you’re trying to control your food choices and get more exercise. But if you’re really short on sleep, or you’ve been facing an exceptional amount of stress for a prolonged period, a 15-minute power nap can do wonders for your wellbeing. A short sleep might actually give you that second wind you need to get through your workout later on tonight.
It doesn’t take much to stop emotional eating. However, you do have to do some work to achieve it. Take the steps!