Wednesday, September 7, 2011

IS Stress Making You FAT?

Some people handle stress by undertaking great challenges and reacting for the stars. Many of us, however, react to pressure by reaching for a bag of chocolate chip cookies. The relationship between stress and eating behavior is complicated. Does stress simply reduce our willpower to make good food choices, or does it actually increase our appetites? And in addition to widening our waistlines, can stress increase our risk for serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes?
     This article examines how stress can contribute to weight gain and other undesirable conditions. Also provided are practical strategies you and your clients can employ when the urge to reach for the junk food is overpowering!
     Not only does stress increase our appetites, but typically it also makes us crave foods that are caloric laden and contain few nutrients. Unfortunately, no definitive research has determined why stress-eaters make bad food choices or why they tend to gravitate toward certain types of food over others. As for myself, some stress-eaters desire high-energy foods containing sugar are chocolate, potato chips, popcorn, and crackers. You should NOT completely avoid these foods, but just to limit yourself and try to seek other alternatives or substitute with other nutritious food that will give the same response and a lot more healthier.
 Seven Stress-Reducing Strategies
(Try these techniques contributed to overeating and implement this in your stress management weekly)
  1. Don't Worry, Be Happy -Instead of seeking comfort in food, engage in a pleasurable activity that pampers you.  Do something fun that doesn't involve calories!
    • Take a Nap
    • Get a massage
    • Visit a friend
    • Read a book
    • Watch an old movie
    • Go dancing with a spouse or friend
      2. Take Charge of the Situation - When faced with a stressful event, ask yourself what you can change to minimize the pressure. Elect to take charge of the situation instead of being victimized by it. In the process, your body will reduce the amount of cortisol it produces, which can minimize the harmful effects of prolonged hormonal release.
      3. Eat a Variety of Real Foods Throughout the Day  - Because stress affects blood sugar, it is important to eat healthy meals throughout the day to maintain blood sugar levels. Stress-eaters tend to reach for sugary carbohydrates, so be sure to include the recommended amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat in each meal. A well-balanced breakfast that provides all three of these macro nutrients helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, reducing the tendency to reach for a candy bar or soft drink. Keep in mind that food allergies may come in affect when the adrenal gland is exhuasted die to prolonged stress. So, you may have to seek the advice from a licensed nutrition professional if you are experiencing any reactions.

     4.Get Physical - Moderate exercise can help reduce the body's production of cortisol during stressful times. Physical activity also has a calming effect on stressed individuals. Numerous studies have shown that moderate exercise helps modulate mood, reduce stress, improves self-efficacy and self-esteem, and reprograms the brain for optimism instead of pessimism. Maintain a consistent exercise program that combines aerobic and anaerobic training. Don't overdo it! Taking your frustration out during an intensive workout with further increase cortisol production.

    5. Avoid Dieting - Don't try to deprive yourself of any food group! Instead, choose a well-balanced, natural foods diet, which will provide the structural components for protein synthesis and supply adequate energy.

    6. Get Plenty of Rest - Sleep deprivation affects blood sugar levels, reduces the production of human growth hormone, increases the secretion of cortisol and reduces the production of leptin (a hormone that signals satiety). Rest is restorative to the body, especially the nervous system. By the way who wouldn't want to go to sleep when times are rough!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Music Therapy

Music is therapy
(In This Case Stress Therapy)
Why should I listen to music? If I'm stressed out it's because I have so much to do and sitting around listening to music just seems like a waste of time.

Though it may seem like an additional source of noise to distract you, the truth is that productivity increases as stress decreases. Taking 15 to 20 minutes to relieve stress will increase your production insurmountably!

Music provides a mental escape for us by acting as a distraction, absorbing our attention, and allowing us to stop focusing on problems that have our nerves tensed.

Through the music we listen to we are distracted from the hustle and bustle of tasks on hand and provided a way to explore the emotions we are feeling. Depending on what you choose to turn into music can be used for meditation, motivation, or a therapeutic voice to talk you through a situation.

Your favorite jams can quickly become that extra boost of motivation you need to wake you up and refocus your attention on the work you have ahead of you. Nature sounds can take you out of the situation you are in allowing you to meditate and release your stress into the World. Smooth sounds of classical and orchestral music can slow your heart rate, reduce your pulse, and bring you down from a stressful peak to a serene calm state of mind.

As emotions vary from person to person, so do musical preferences. Preview a variety of songs to determine if it's a good candidate to be included in your "Feel Good Music" library. Once you have your selections, keep them stored in whichever technology you prefer to listen to music on, and be sure to tune in whenever you feel that stress has overcome and consumed you.

Play a few different pieces out and find your "Feel Good Music"!
Recommendations to try:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Realizing you are stressed

What is Stress?
  • Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way.
  • The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert.
  • But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
Causes of Stress:
The causes of stress are individualized.  Not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated.  One stimulus that may cause someone to be stressed may not cause someone else stress.  The strength of the effect depends on how high of a demand that the stressor puts on you.  Following is a list of common causes of stress.

Common external causes of stress

  • Major life changes
  • Work
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too busy
  • Children and family

Common internal causes of stress

  • Inability to accept uncertainty
  • Pessimism
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Perfectionism
  • Lack of assertiveness

Responding to Stress:
The stress response can be induced by internal and external stimuli. Stress can build up without you realizing the effects that it takes on your body.  With constant stress the symptoms can begin to feel familiar or normal.  Even when one begins to become over stressed, it may be hard to notice how it is affecting you.  Following is a list of signs and symptoms that may help one realize that you are stressed.  The more of these that relate to you may mean that you are about to have a stress overload.

Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
Cognitive Symptoms Emotional Symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness
Physical Symptoms Behavioral Symptoms
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)