HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE
Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?
What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:
- eating better (such as reducing processed foods)
- exercising/moving more
- stopping smoking
- working on that depression
We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.
Emotional Eating - Break the cycle
Do you find yourself eating even if you're not truly hungry? Or do you turn to food for comfort when you're feeling blue, stressed out or bored? Although emotional eating has become a widespread issue, many of us don't realize that, while the occasional binge may seem harmless, emotional eating that escalates into something hard to control may have severe health repercussions. But don't despair, below are three tips that will help you vanquish emotional eating.
Tip 1: Set yourself up for success
Sometimes life gets in the way and you forget to take care of yourself. That's usually when your body will ‘rebel' and you'll turn to food to soothe yourself. To minimize emotional eating, try to:
- Eat on time - This should help keep your blood glucose levels steady and prevent sugar crashes. In other words, by scheduling your meals, it will be easier for you to keep food cravings at bay.
- Exercise regularly - Exercise helps the body release the feel good hormone serotonin which can lift your spirits. Plus being physically active will help you blow off some steam. Now, when I say ‘exercise', I'm not saying you need to hit the gym - a walk in the park will do. And ask the girls to tag along!
- Keep a food and emotion journal - Write down everything you eat and drink as well as your level of hunger (1 = ravenous and irritable, 5 = stuffed and uncomfortable) and state of mind (happy, stressed out, angry, depressed) every time you eat. This should not only make it easier for you to stay accountable of what you eat but you'll also be able to detect situations in which you're more prone to emotional overeating.
- Get enough sleep - Several studies have shown that a lack of sleep can amplify your hunger by messing with your leptin levels (this hormone is in charge of appetite regulation). Plus, if you're well-rested, it will be easier for you to resist comfort food.
- Get enough YOU time - Enjoy an activity you love (a manicure perhaps or admiring the sunset?) regularly. The idea here is to spend quality time with yourself away from daily stressors.
Tip 2: Feed your mind, not your inner saboteur urging you to eat
You've had a rough week at work and it's finally Friday night. You already had dinner but suddenly all you can think of is to snuggle up on the couch with a big bowl of buttery popcorn. Before you do that:
- Ask yourself why you feel like eating. Is it because you feel depressed, angry or lonely? If you do, move away from the kitchen; turn off your TV, laptop, iPad etc and either call a friend, read a book or get your journal and write down what you are feeling emotionally. Then go to bed.
- Try to mentally review what you ate on that day and two days before - if you've made healthy food choices, then go on and enjoy your popcorn. (Try to get a smaller bowl though and eat slowly.) If your diet choices weren't healthy, have some water, a fruit or a few nuts to get your mind off the popcorn and do something else. You'll find that just pausing for a few minutes will allow the urge to pass.
Tip 3: Keep healthy food and snacks around
If you don't keep any crisps, cookies or ice-cream tubs at home or at the office, you won't be able to eat them! It's that simple. Now if you really want to munch on something, keep veggie sticks and some hummus dip handy.
Submitted by: Shari