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KayMcDonnell(Listowel Therapy Centre)

Stress Eating from Massage Kerry


Stress eating takes its toll on your health in many ways, the most obvious being in your girth.
Since many stress eaters reach for refined carbohydrates (which turn to sugar in your body), this can cause repeated influxes of glucose into your bloodstream and eventually make you a candidate for insulin resistance and eventually Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, the sugar from refined carbs feeds the harmful bacteria in your intestinal tract.  This can lead to digestive problems like IBS symptoms, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and leaky gut.   
Now, stress eaters KNOW that they should stop this cycle, but that's easier said than done for most. Some may desperately try to resist the beckoning of the refrigerator, pantry or vending machine, but then break down in that moment of weakness and give in.
You CAN break free of stress eating.
Be aware.
The first step in breaking free from any negative pattern is to simply be aware that it exists. When we learn to cultivate awareness around what we do and how we do it, we are connecting with our inner guide, higher power, and spirit. When we bring conscious awareness to all the little things, everything will fall into place.
Be positive.
Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. Ask yourself, "How do I WANT to feel?" If you want to feel good then think good thoughts. When you put positive thoughts into the universe and follow through with positive actions you will see positive results. Begin each day with a loving positive thought about yourself and your life! “I accept myself and create peace in my mind and heart.”
Tune in.
Tune in with your body, listen to what it tells you! Once you learn how to tune in with what your body wants, not your mind, you will be better able to understand how to cultivate nourishment for yourself and slowly break free from emotional eating.
Nourish yourself.
Make a list of all the things that nourish you and start to do them. This can be the food you eat, the relationships you have, or the work that you do. The more you add nourishment into your life from sources other then food, the more likely you are not to turn to food for comfort.
It’s all in your hormones
Uur bodies would gear up to deal with the stress by releasing two hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). These hormones would raise the heart rate, dilate the blood vessels and mobilize fat and carbohydrates stored in the body for quick energy for the "fight or flight" reaction.
That's what helped give ancestors the fuel they needed to fight off the attacker or run at the speed of light.
Once the stress was over, adrenaline would subside pretty quickly, but cortisol would hang around for a while to help refuel the body and bring it back to balance.
One of the ways cortisol does this is by giving you a voracious appetite that drives you to replace the carbs and fats you used up in the process of fighting or fleeing.
Now, our modern day stresses are much different--we're not running from tigers anymore. Our stresses are more emotional and psychological. But your body's hormonal reaction to those stresses is the SAME.
So sugar comes to the rescue
The effects of chronic stress
When you're under longstanding chronic stress, your cortisol levels are raised and remain high. This creates a buildup of abdominal fat (our primitive emergency energy supply)—so that’s when you see the emergence of a spare tire or muffin top.
It also leads to depressed immune function, low thyroid function, problems with controlling blood sugar, impaired memory and concentration, adrenal fatigue ("burnout") and eventually, chronic illness.
With continual stress (and high cortisol levels) you are susceptible to conditions i believe like diabetes ,plus high blood pressure, stroke, blood clots and colon cancer.
Break the stress eating cycle
Wait 10 minutes before giving in to a craving
If you can distract yourself by answering an email, doing a load of laundry, making a phone call, feeding the cat or running an errand, you may forget about your craving!
NEVER go hungry or skip meals
Hunger can trigger intense cravings for sugar, so be sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. If you are busy and miss a meal, snack on protein foods like leftover beef, chicken or fish or a handful of nuts.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh produce is full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that eliminate the free radicals caused by stress.
Drink green tea
Not only is green tea alkaline (which is good for a healthy pH), but it contains the amino acid theanine, which relaxes your brain and helps control cortisol levels.
Turn off the TV and computer
TV and computer ads expose you to endless numbers of food commercials that are specifically designed to trigger cravings so the fast and processed food companies can expand their bottom lines while your bottom side grows.
Get enough Zzzz’s
Fatigue and sleep deprivation lead to carb cravings because glucose is our primary source of energy, and carbs are converted rapidly to glucose. 
The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, so if you’re getting less than that, it’s time to turn in earlier. 
Move your body—more than to the refrigerator and back
Exercise counteracts stress and cravings by releasing endorphins, the hormones that produce calm, feel-good feelings.
It's not necessary to join a gym or buy expensive equipment.  Even brisk walking is fine, and nearly everyone can do that.
Drink enough water
Every system of your body depends on water to remove wastes, bring nutrients and oxygen to the cells, aid in digestion and maintain normal metabolism. In addition, many people mistake thirst for hunger, so what may seem like a craving to you could be your body telling you to drink more water.
You should aim to drink at least 8 glasses water a day.  And note that water means water and not sports drinks, soda, coffee, alcohol or juice. 
Eat foods with anti-stress vitamins and minerals
These include foods with Vitamins A, B6, C and E as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Here are some good sources of each:
  • Vitamin A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, greens, bell peppers
  • Vitamin B6: Bananas, salmon, potatoes, chicken, turkey and spinach
  • Vitamin C: Strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oranges, cauliflower
  • Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, blueberries, greens
  • Potassium: Yams, spinach, avocado, lentils, winter squash, bananas
  • Magnesium: Black beans, navy beans, salmon, spinach, sesame seeds, halibut
  • Calcium: Greens, sesame seeds, dairy
  • Zinc: Lean beef or lamb, turkey, green peas, shrimp, sesame seeds
10) And the ALL IMPORTANT number 10:
**Make sure your digestion is top-notch**
All the healthy food in the world will do you and your stress levels no good if your digestion is incomplete and inefficient.
Poor digestion not only worsens stress-related problems like acid reflux, gas, bloating and constipation, but it also reduces your ability to absorb stress-reducing nutrients from your foods.
So the stress hunger bell will continue to ring for you!
Not only does stress cause cravings, but it also throws your intestinal flora balance completely out of whack and compromises your immune system. This makes you susceptible to every bug, cold, virus or infection around.
It's essential to make sure your body has the levels of beneficial bacteria that it needs to counteract the effects of stress and keep you healthy.

Do you find yourself eating when you're not really hungry? Do you use food as a source of comfort when you're feeling sad, anxious, or bored? Although emotional eating has become an all-too-common problem, many of us don't realize the extent to which our feelings can impact our eating habits. The occasional binge may seem harmless, but emotional eating can escalate into something more serious and difficult to control.

Emotional hunger can be powerful. As a result, it’s easy to mistake it for physical hunger. But there are clues you can look for that can help you tell physical and emotional hunger apart.
  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent.Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).
  • Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesn't need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on 
  • specific textures, tastes, and smells.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it's likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.

PS:  Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking and before you make any changes to your diet.
Contact me; Kay Mcdonnell 068 23574 E; kay@kaymcdonnell.com

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