Psychology of eating secrets: STRESS uncovered

Psychology of eating secrets: STRESS uncovered

Most of us are aware that eating whole foods is simply a function of good nutrition and physical activity and a good night’s rest are functions of good health. But let’s say you eat well and you make it a point to work out regularly but it isn’t enough. You still feel like you just can’t seem to get in sync with your body and you’re frustrated. The good news is there is a simple answer but a not so simple solution.

We can change our metabolism and nutritional status by changing who we are as Eaters.

What we eat is only half the journey. The other half is who we are as ‘Eaters’. What we think, feel,… our level of self awareness and factors such as stress make up the second half. Advances in mind-body science have proved in recent years what ancient traditions noted thousands of years ago — the mind and body exist on a continuum that directly impact one another. In my studies, travels and breakthroughs with patients nothing has come close to having the impact of success more than simply changing the mental framework of who we are.

Stress will put the weight back on.

In moments of stress, fear or anxiety the body is triggered to produce more cortisol and insulin which are two hormones that prompt the body to store fat. Feelings of judgement or even negative self talk prompt the same response and when the body is storing fat — it’s not doing much of anything else. Stress and negative emotion can literally change our calorie burning capacity in a matter of moments — what’s more incredible, by taking a pause, breathe or even smile will counter this reaction.

Let’s define stress. Stress exists in a variety of ways and is not limited to hectic lives or busy schedules. Stress can also be induced by following diets or intense workout regiments that don’t make you happy. It can be induced by eating foods you do not enjoy or following diets that are quite possibly starving you out — all of these forms of stress can alter your body’s chemical response. So instead of getting stressed, take a moment, breathe deep and try to reset. Try to remove or limit your interaction with people or places that create feelings of stress.

Eat happy.

Remember how I mentioned when your body is experiencing stress, the body’s reaction is to store fat? The same is true even if you’re eating while experiencing stress. While ideally your body would be working to digest and absorb nutrients, it physically can’t because the stress response is activated and the digestive system has been shut down. People often report symptoms of heartburn, cramping or an upset stomach in response to eating in a stressful state.

The bottom line is — you could be eating the healthiest plate of food in the world but if you are not eating your food with a clear state of mind, you will not be receiving the nutritional value of your world class meal.

Overeating – this one is pretty simple.

Many people think they suffer from a lack of willpower when it comes to eating. “If I could just control my appetite, I would lose weight.” I’m here to tell you there is an easier way — and the issue is not your willpower. With overeaters, the issue is not typically what they are eating or when, it’s that they are not “eating” when they eat. Huh? What do I mean by this? Our body is a complex machine and there is quite a bit of correspondence going back and forth to the brain. Your brain is what sends the signal when it’s hungry but the brain, as incredible as it is — is relying on you to let it know when you’re full. If while we eat we are preoccupied with watching TV, or working at our desk or even surfing the web on our phones — you and the brain are missing the signals your body is sending to let you know it’s full causing you to overeat. You may have experienced this at one time or another if while you were eating you suddenly experienced an uncomfortable bloating feeling of feeling too full. To avoid overeating (and the terrible comatose feeling of being too full) simply be present while you eat. The brain needs to experience every step to feel nourished, just like the body. When the brain misses the experience, it drives you to want to eat more. Put an end to a vicious cycle by practicing mindful eating. Mindful eating is a crucial step to overcoming overeating, binge eating and any eating challenges. Check my HAPPY SPOON 30-DAY PROGRAM that will give you all the tools to become a mindful eater pro and by consequence overcome overeating and binge eating.

Eat slower to increase metabolism.

Slow down when you eat. I ask each of my clients if they are a fast eater, moderate eater, or slow eater — and if they respond with “fast” — then I know I have my work cut out. Eating slowly not only allows you to “eat” in the moment preventing overeating but it reduces the risk of the stress response. We are not wired for speed eating so once again in this state, the body enters into a fight or flight mode where it thinks it’s under attack and needs to store fat to survive. A bit dramatic — I know but it’s true. Practice eating your next meal slowly and by being in the moment. The body and the brain both need to be nourished.

Get enough Vitamin P – Pleasure!

Too many people feel guilt when experiencing feelings of pleasure. We’ve been taught to believe these are selfish pursuits but the fact is it’s perfectly healthy and natural. I encourage you to surround yourself with people and spaces that bring joy and feelings of pleasure. Studies show when we are able to experience pleasure in the little things in life such as food. I invite you to read my blog post, “Get the Skinny on Primary & Secondary Foods” to understand how important it is to feel pleasure and fulfillment in life to avoid unbearable cravings and overeating.

Emotional eating is not wrong.

At our center, we are all emotional beings. All of us. We have each experienced feelings of love, loss, celebration, failure so could we possibly attempt to not bring emotional stress to the table?

While the truth remains emotion is a part of us, it is not essential to the metabolic or digestive process — quite the contrary. It has the power to severely alter the mechanic structure of our body including hormones and metabolism . As individuals, we need to embrace our lives and who we are and the reality is — emotional eating is at the core of it all. And I don’t mean reaching for the tub of ice cream after a breakup. Our quest to conquer food can be linked to our hidden need to eradicate uncomfortable feelings about ourselves and lives. If you have these feeling, it is your internal caution buzzer ringing. It is asking you to be more present, to let your emotions guide you, it is your soul asking you to be more aware.

Cut the toxicity out!

There are many, and I mean many that have adopted crazy nutritional beliefs or hold misconceptions about food. “Food is the enemy”, “that food makes me fat”, “I can’t eat that” or better yet, “If I could lose 10 more pounds, I’d be perfect… or I’d be happy”. These beliefs and these determinant monologues are not only toxic to others but they have the power to again severely alter your metabolism. This sort of self talk creates internal stress which puts your body in a constant state of fight or flight — causing the opposite of what you’d hope to achieve. The sole purpose of food is to nourish the body and mind. Ask yourself what type of relationship you have with food: Is it a nourishing or punishing relationship? If you or someone you know subscribes the toxic nutritional beliefs, I encourage you to contact a professional or myself to schedule a session to discuss how you can address these issues and change your inner monologue.

I mentioned earlier how there was a simple answer but a not so simple solution. The foods we eat are only a part of a much more complex whole. If who you are and the life you are leading fulfills you and brings feelings happiness and joy, the food part will take care of itself but if you are struggling to find a balance or are unable to listen for your internal buzzer contact me to book a session, where we can work on developing a method that works for you.

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