Monday, November 22, 2010

Got Stress?

Thanksgiving menus, Christmas lists, shopping, parties, plays, dinners, your in-laws.... AAUGH!!

These are just a few things that could be stressing you out as the holidays draw nearer. This stress combined with all of the 'comfort' foods that will be available over the next month can easily lead to that seven pounds we talked about last week.

Take a look at this Q&A from Edward T. Creagan, M.D. and the Mayo Clinic.

Q: How do you control stress-induced weight gain?

A: When you're under stress, you may find it harder to keep up healthy-eating habits. Also, during particularly stressful times, you may eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs, which is sometimes called stress eating. And you may be especially likely to eat high-calorie foods during times of stress, even when you're not hungry.

To combat weight problems during stress and reduce the risk of obesity, you need to get a handle on your stress. When you feel less stressed and more in control of your life, you may find it easier to stick to healthy-eating and exercise habits. Try these stress management techniques to combat stress-related weight gain:

  1. Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension.
  2. Before eating, ask yourself why you're eating — are you truly hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious?
  3. If you're tempted to eat when you're not hungry, find a distraction.
  4. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast.
  5. Identify comfort foods and keep them out of your house or office.
  6. Keep a record of your behavior and eating habits so that you can look for patterns and connections — and then overcome them.
  7. Learn problem-solving skills so that you can anticipate challenges and cope with setbacks.
  8. Practice relaxation skills, such as yoga, massage or meditation.
  9. Engage in regular physical activity or exercise.
  10. Get adequate sleep.
  11. Get encouragement from supportive friends and family.
What are your stressors during the holidays and how do you overcome them?

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