If you’ve read our article on De-Stressing then you know that there are two types of stress: Good Stress which helps keep us alert and motivated and doesn’t last for long periods of time. And there is Bad Stress (or Chronic Stress) which is unpleasant and can have debilitating symptoms such as migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart problems, insomnia, and weight gain.
Triggers and symptoms vary widely from one person to another and we all have our ways of coping with it too. Some turn to meditation, some to exercise and others to food. Turning to food can then lead to weight gain.
As if you weren’t stressed enough, you now have to cope with the fact that you’ve gained weight!
When you are stressed, the stress hormones are released and they increase your appetite for high fat, high calorie foods. So you satisfy these cravings and eat those foods and then the same hormones encourage fat to be stored. They also increase the amount of glucose in your blood and this can lay the foundation for insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension.
Frustration from weight gain can lead to more stress which is then dealt with by eating more foods that make you feel better, which gives you a quick boost and then lets you drop back down. And so the vicious cycle continues.
Here are a few tips to curb the weight gain:
- Find ways to incorporate exercise and activity into your life. Research has shown that a fit and healthy person can cope with daily stresses far better!
- If you really feel like eating something, make it a healthy choice: a piece of fruit and a pot of low-fat yoghurt; a handful of raw nuts and dried fruit or a couple of slices of low-fat cheese on some whole wheat crackers or carrot & celery sticks with a low-fat dip like hummus.
- Prepare and cook your own food. We do lead busy lives and tend to rely on the fast food option and these are often high in fat, salt and sugar. Cooking at home will not only save your waistline but your money too!
- Rather than rely on food find other ways to relax and unwind such as a new hobby, reading, listening to music, gardening or playing with the children.