When life hands you a lemon, do you make lemonade? Unfortunately, what people tend to do when life gets stressful, is to eat more and exercise less. When life hands us lemons, we’re adding some vodka to that lemonade, or making pies and cookies with it instead. In other words, when times get stressful, it lends to unhealthy choices – typically in the form of emotional eating (and drinking). How do you cope, and handle all the lemons that life continually throws at you, and stay on track with your fitness goals?
When you experience high levels of stress, the levels of cortisol increase in your body, which often leads to cravings for sweets and salty foods. Eating cookies and chips may seem to make you feel better, in but it’s not eliminating your stress. If you don’t deal with your stress, and continue to eat the comfort foods you crave, the added weight you gain from it will just add more stress to your life (and add stress to your body as well). Try to find healthier outlets to relieve your stress other than eating. Exercise is a great stress reliever, even if you just go for a walk or take a yoga class, you’ll find it will do wonders for your stress levels. Other helpful things you can do are to talk with a friend, meditate, and practice deep breathing.
People often eat or drink when they’re nervous or bored, just for something to do. Ask yourself if you’re eating out of hunger or if it’s due to stress or boredom. If you can’t resist the urge, then keep it healthy – drink water, snack on veggies, nuts, and fruit. Keep temptations away – out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t have junk food in the house, you won’t be able to eat it. If you eat out of boredom, find things to do to occupy your mind – read, do puzzles, or practice a hobby.
Food can take the focus off of emotions we would rather not deal with or feel. Stuffing your emotions, and over indulging in food is going to create a whole new problem in itself – you’re going to get stuffed like a turkey, except that stuffing will be fat. Get to the core of what’s really causing stress in your life, and do your best to resolve and eliminate it. Food is just providing temporary comfort and is an avoidance measure, when what you really need to do is take action.
Pay attention to not only what you eat, but what emotions you’re feeling when you eat as well. If you find yourself eating ice cream every time you’re upset, try substituting it with low fat frozen yogurt. Know what else helps? Exercise – it will increase your serotonin levels which helps one to feel happier. Try to find healthier alternatives or options during times of stress – exercise your options, not your taste buds.