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Don't Let Stress Dictate Your Eating Habits

By Sandy Schroeder

We all slip into emotional eating patterns now and then. A bad day balloons out of control, and suddenly a pizza sounds perfect. Or the week turns into chaos and Friday night becomes burgers, fries and brews. Blowing off steam is fairly normal, but using food as a refuge whenever stress pops up can be disastrous for your weight. One splurge leads to another and added weight makes food even more of an issue.

Harvard Health researchers have studied the issue and come up with some strategies to help you slow down as you cope with stress. Learning new ways to handle stress can make a big difference in your weight. As you calm down and think and eat differently your scale will cooperate too.

Make the Stress Go Away

Here are five steps to take.

Take a fresh look at life - When stress dictates our view, everything can look negative. When we step back, and really look at the details, we may see simple ways to avoid stressful issues. As life starts to smooth out, we may relax and handle everything better.

Find an exercise you love - Walking, dancing or running may be the key to burn off all of that stress and feel just fine. Often when I head out for a walk, I can feel the stress lifting the minute I step out the door. Physical activity reduces the stress hormone cortisol, putting you in a better spot.

Make sleep a priority - Lack of sleep can cause stress hormones to build. Make your bedtime a sleep retreat and watch the stress melt. Use air filters to screen out noise, and blackout drapes to block light. Shut down electronics at least two hours before bedtime and create a sleep ritual with a warm bath, snack and soft music.

Build breaks into your schedule - Look ahead to your busiest times and add a few breaks to help you carry the load. Ten-minute walks or stretches mid-morning and mid-afternoon can help you keep your balance all day long.

Get some help from your doctor - If you are still fighting emotional eating after trying these tips, consider seeing your doctor or talking with a specialist to find the classes or information that you need.

Whatever you do, don't give up. You deserve to enjoy healthy meals while maintaining a normal weight. The answers are out there to siphon off the stress. Keep looking.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brea, Calif.

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