Can’t stop yourself from reaching for those cookies? Well … It’s NOT that there’s something wrong with you; it’s NOT that you have no will power – maybe you’re just stressed.
When we feel threatened or stressed, our neuroendocrine system kicks into high gear and releases a series of hormones. One of these is Cortisol, which gives us the biochemical strength we need to fight or flee our stressors. Back in evolutionary times, this served us well. We needed to replenish our bodies after a bout with a man-eating lion. It was a survival issue.
In modern times, most of our stress comes to us in a less physical form from balancing our checkbooks, filling out college applications to making car payments. Yet, we are still hard-wired to release the same hunger-causing hormones as our loin-cloth wearing ancestors. The stress is still there, but the physical exertion isn’t.
We can’t help feeling hungry, but we can work at ways to feel less stressed, which will keep the food cravings in check.
Here are some ways to short circuit stress and weight gain.
1. Exercise: Still the best stress-buster in town.
2. Never Skip a Meal: Keep the blood sugar levels even.
3. Restful sleep: When we don’t get enough rest, Cortisol levels rise!
4. Relax: What activities make you feel relaxed and calm? Keep a list handy, in case you’re so stressed you can’t remember!
5. Breathe: Take a moment to stop everything and breathe!
6. Spiritual Break: Sit and center yourself. Take a spiritual break.
7. Drink Water: Hydrate thyself! And while you’re at it, avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol: All three can cause Cortisol levels to rise.
8. Express Yourself: Feeling stressed? Say so. I feel stressed and then … let it go!
Spread the word … NOT the icing!
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