Stressful times may trigger emotional or stressful eating. For some, it is harder to stick to a healthy lifestyle when faced with higher levels of stress. The comfort foods we often reach for are usually high in calories, fat, and not the healthiest of choices.
To combat weight gain during stressful times it is really important to get a handle on your stress. When you feel less stressed and more in control of your life it is easier to stick to healthier eating and exercise habits. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following stress management tips to combat stress induced weight gain.
• Recognize the warning signs of stress, such as anxiety, irritability and muscle tension.
• Before eating, ask yourself why you're eating - are you truly hungry or do you feel stressed or anxious?
• If you're tempted to eat when you're not hungry, find a distraction.
• Don't skip meals, especially breakfast.
• Identify comfort foods and keep them out of your house or office.
• Keep a record of your behavior and eating habits so you can look for patterns and connections - and then overcome them.
• Learn problem-solving skills so you can anticipate challenges and cope with setbacks.
• Practice relaxation skills, such as yoga, massage or meditation.
• Engage in regular physical activity or exercise.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Get encouragement from supportive friends and family.
If you try these techniques on your own and you don't notice and improvement, you may want to seek the help of your doctor or counselor.
Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605-3549. The information contained within Health Matters is not a substitute for professional medical examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program or beginning any nutritional regimen.