Stressed out and hungry? 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?
5. Deep Breathing Exercises: Take a moment to stop everything and breathe!
6. Meditate: Sit and center yourself. Take a spiritual break.
7. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol: All three can cause Cortisol levels to rise.
8. Express Yourself. Feast on your own creativity.
If you can’t keep those Cortisol levels down, and the refrigerator is calling you, choose wisely. Fruit over the three C’s (cake, cookies, candy)!
Spread the word … NOT the icing!
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