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Debbie Polisky, MS, MBA

Stress, Emotions and Unhealthy Eating Habits

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Dear Friends,

Do you ever feel this way?

Lately, I’m under a lot of stress at work. As you can imagine, they’ve been firing a lot of people, even those who have worked in the company for over ten years. I feel so much tension that I know I’m not eating well. I gulp down 3 cups of strong coffee daily followed by 2 croissants…I know, I know, I just can’t stop myself. What should I do?

Sweets, Ice Cream, Refined Sugars…

Refined sugars and starches make us feel better for the short-term, we feel energized but after awhile, we’re back to our tension and then crave more and more sweets. It’s a vicious cycle – like a demon – not letting us rest in peace.

Don’t you just love those French Fries?

Sometimes we prefer fatty snacks, such as chips and french fries. Stress promotes our emotional eating – that automatic response to food, that’s always available. This makes our stress hormones cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenalin increase and like soldiers, they’re alert, ready to attack!

Cortisol and Stress

In 2010, a research conducted in the University of Michigan, showed that when the hormone cortisol increased because of stress, the patients tended to choose more fatty, salty and sugary snacks versus healthy options.

Food Distribution down the drain…

Also, stress leads to an uneven distribution of meals throughout the day, so there are fewer meals but those consumed have higher calories due to unhealthy choices. Planning ahead and making sure we have trail mix, fruits, smoothies, veggies, low-fat yogurt and cheese handy will make us feel better.

 

Ready to get healthy?

Contact Debbie today for a Nutrition Consultation!

Mindfulness, What’s that?

Usually, when under stress, we tend to forget about mindfulness, an essential concept where we really sit down to eat peacefully, slowly and enjoy our meals. Joy, a cardiac client describes her eating habits as a “tornado that sweeps through my body” and “I have no control over what I just ate or how much I ate” When we eat without mindfulness, we don’t really know what we’ve eaten, quantity nor quality.

Healthy Options

If we want to take charge of our health, look for healthy substitutes that can decrease your levels of stress: maybe a walk or exercise, talking to a friend or loved one, relaxing on your own, listening to music.

Complex Carbohydrates 101

Choose healthy options such as foods high in complex carbohydrates that have fiber – oats, whole grain cereals or pasta or brown rice. Choose good fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil over fatty snacks.

Temptations at Home

Avoid tempting snacks at home – don’t even hide them because under stress, you’ll choose those yummy treats versus a healthy smoothie!

Say STOP! Ask yourself: why am I eating right now? Am I really hungry? Am I enjoying my food? Am I eating slowly and with mindfulness? Or am I eating as if the devil is inside of me, pushing me to eat the wrong foods?

So, we might not be able to avoid stress but if we learn how to plan our meals throughout the week and maintain our immune system healthy, we can better prepare for the unexpected changes in our lives.

Share your Comments:

How will you deal with your emotions and stress?

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About Debbie

Debbie Polisky, MS, MBA, CLT is a Bilingual Nutritionist, Zumba Instructor, Wellness Consultant and Adjunct Faculty who uses mind and body techniques, such as mindfulness, stress management, exercise, dance/zumba, yoga and nutrition to improve the lives of patients, students and the community. She has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare field, in two countries, Argentina and in USA and in her two native languages, English and Spanish.

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