We are on day 3 of the DietBet I am hosting. I am so exited that over 30 people joined, making the pot $875! I know that I have been very aware of what I have been putting in my mouth. I usually eat healthy, but totally admit to shoving a piece of bread with peanut butter into my mouth as I race around trying to get the kids where they need to be and calling that lunch. I really need to work on sitting down to a real meal for lunch that includes other food groups. I somehow fell out of this habit so plan on working on this.
Today we’re talking about stress. Yes, it’s totally related to weight and health!
I’ll start with a story from my morning yesterday.
I drop off my son at school, run a couple errands with the other two kids and by 10:30am we are on our third stop…the commissary. Sooo many places I’d rather be than grocery shopping with a 4 year old and 14 month old. We load up the cart pretty quickly, get to the check out line where they ask for my military id (a requirement when shopping at the commissary). I search everywhere and can’t find it. I know I just had it to get on post so it must be in the car. Meanwhile baby R is super fussy, he won’t stop whining, my daughter is trying to unload all the groceries on the cart because she doesn’t get that WE CAN’T CHECK OUT without an ID. I look down and baby R has managed to lose a shoe and sock and it’s 30 degrees out and I REALLY DON’T WANT TO GO LOOK FOR THAT ID. Why can’t the lady just let it go this once I think to myself? She tells me to take my time. Great, thanks. Baby R is about to jump out of the cart and I consider just leaving and going home….but no, I need half the stuff for dinner so I decide to go look for my ID in my car. Of course I didn’t park close. Have I mentioned I am tired and hungry and I have to pee? Pretty much the worse combo.
Baby R is still trying to squirm his way out of my arms and he’s not quite ready to walk around parking lots by himself so I literally use all my force to keep him from falling. When I get to the car he is very unhappy so I put him in the back seat with my daughter. I waste the next 10 minutes looking for my darn ID and finally find it crammed between the front seats. Thanks God. Carry kids back inside only to find the line has tripled. Ugh, the worst. I finally get through check-out and baby R is squawking like some bird…I have never heard him do this. He is totally over this shopping trip. Hungry, tired? Yes and yes. My daughter is being sweet and tries to entertain him which involves jumping up and down and screaming “RAWR” as if roaring like a lion will help the situation. We get through the line. Feeling the stress, I can’t handle the noise of the kids anymore so as soon as I get one foot out of the store I rip open the crackers I bought and shove a couple in both kid’s hands so I can walk to the car in SILENCE. A stressful morning for me. Yes. Serious stress? No, but still stress to my body.
What are the types of stress?
How does stress affect body weight?
Stress, both mental and emotional, can affect your physical weight. It can interfere with your choices that have a huge impact on your weight such as what you chose to eat (a lot of people crave high calorie, high fat foods when stressed) and whether or not to exercise. Stress also causes hormonal and metabolic changes that can influence where and how fat is stored in the body. I am sure you have heard of the stress hormone cortisol, which is a hormone elevated when stressed. Chronically high levels of cortisol can contribute to gaining fat. The fat builds up inside the body, around blood vessels and the abdomen which can put you at risk for heart disease. In addition to this, prolonged acute stress can cause high blood pressure, chronic muscle tension and headaches.
How do you manage stress?
Different techniques work for different people! Here are some ideas:
- mental imagery
- deep breathing
- reading a magazine
- taking a warm bath
- getting a massage
- talking to a friend
- writing in a journal
- listening to or looking at the ocean waves
- go on a relaxing vacation
- watch the sunset
So whether your stress is minor such as my grocery shopping experience or serious such as losing a job, managing it is key to a healthy lifestyle. How are YOU going to handle it?
P.S. The Hawaii pics are fitting for this post because it was probably the time that I had the least amount of stress in my life. Low key lifestyle, laid back people, gorgeous beaches and sparkling water to look at everyday. I hope these pictures convey the message of relaxation to you!
Questions: How do you cope with stress? Does it negatively affect your eating? What do you crave when stressed? What can you do to improve the way you handle stress?