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Healthy Eating

How to Stop Stress Eating and Conquer Stress, From an RD



We all know it: a stressful day leads to calming down with salty chips, half a liter of ice cream or a large order of fatty french fries. It can be comforting for a moment to eat these high-carb, fatty foods that increase serotonin levels, wash over the brain’s stress hormone cortisol, and give you a temporary sense of calm. According to the American Psychology Association, 39 percent of adults say they overeat or unhealthy foods in the past month due to stress. Almost half of these stress-eaters report having these types of emotional binge eating weekly or more frequently.

“Many adults report exhibiting unhealthy eating habits due to stress and saying that these behaviors can lead to undesirable consequences, such as feeling sluggish, lazy and feeling bad about their bodies,” the report said APA. And, according to the CDC, poor diet leads to chronic conditions like overweight and obesity, heart disease and strokes, type 2 diabetes, cancer and deficits in brain function.

Stress-eating causes you to convert calories into fat

And while people resort to high-calorie and high-fat foods when they are stressed, their bodies also store more fat than when they are relaxed, according to the American Psychological Association. A recent study shows that women feel more emotionally depressed than men after consuming junk food.

How can you stop stress-eating? Realize that you do first, according to new research, then plan a “lifestyle intervention” to reduce stress and guide you to healthier diets.

What New Research Says About Stress Eating: Awareness Is Everything

The 2020 study published in Nutrients aimed to prevent weight gain with a 16-week program that encouraged stress management, healthy eating, and physical activity. 338 participants between the ages of 18 and 39 who were overweight or obese were divided into two groups.

One group received individual coaching and shared inspiring testimonials from people who had learned to eat healthily, change their habits and lose weight. The others received printed materials but did not receive any coaching or a personalized experience. Those who have been coached have been more successful in changing their habits, and this starts with an awareness and understanding that food should be used as healthy fuel rather than unhealthy comfort.

“We used testimonials in videos and showed interactions with families to raise awareness of stressors,” said Mei-Wei Chang, associate professor of nursing at Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “After watching the videos, many participants in the intervention said, ‘This is the first time I’ve realized that I’m so stressed” – because they lived a stressful life, “she continued. “Many of the women are aware that they have headaches, neck pain and insomnia – but they do not know that these are signs of stress.”

Participants in the intervention group were more likely to reduce their fat intake than those in the control group. They also lowered their stress levels. For every 1 point of stress reduction that the researchers measured, they recorded a corresponding 7% reduction in the frequency with which women ate high-fat foods. Participants were shown how to lead healthier, less stressful lives and how to handle food better.

“We make them aware of the stressors in their lives, and unfortunately many of these problems are beyond their control,” commented Chang in the same interview. “So we teach them how to control their negative emotions. “Remember this is temporary and you will get through it.” And we give them the confidence to look to the future. “

Stress can also cause people to skip meals

While some people may turn to eating when they are stressed, others may skip meals altogether. The American Psychological Association stated:

  • 30 percent of adults said they skipped meals because of stress
  • Forty-one percent of adults skipped meals weekly or more often because of stress
  • 67 percent of adults skipped meals due to loss of appetite

Not eating can lead to stress. If we don’t eat for a long time, our blood sugar drops while it waits for fuel. This also causes the body to produce more cortisol (your stress hormone) to help regulate the drop in blood sugar while creating more stress in the body. A 2018 study of teens found that skipping breakfast increased their risk of stress and depression compared to those who ate breakfast regularly. Instead of just switching off and not eating, choose healthy foods to snack on or eat a large salad full of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

How to Reduce Stress

Stress cannot always be avoided, but we can try different strategies to deal with it. One key is seeing stress as a “challenge” that you can manage, rather than a threat, research shows.

  • Do sports regularly: Any kind of exercise that you enjoy, be it walking or dancing, aerobics or weight training, yoga or jogging, cycling or swimming, will help your body fight stress. When you’re active, your brain secretes feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which can improve mood and help you deal with stress. According to the article, people who do 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day experience several hours of rest afterwards. This is because there is “good stress” called eustress and “bad stress” called distress, and when you exercise you activate the good stress associated with improved performance and productivity. The difference between good stress and bad stress is perception. If you can meet the challenge, it’s eustress, but if you feel threatened, it’s distress. Training your brain to see your stressors as challenges rather than threats is an important coping mechanism for reducing bad stress.
  • Try relaxation techniques: Some common examples are deep breathing, guided meditation, and practicing deliberate muscle relaxation. These types of daily techniques can be performed anywhere. First, download an app on your phone for instructions.
  • See a counselor or therapist: It can be easy to suppress your emotions or to sideline them and fail to recognize the stress you are under. Talking about it with a professional can help you deal with it and find helpful strategies to change your own behavior that can relieve some of the stress. Understanding the triggers of your stressful eating and learning other ways to manage your stress can lead to healthier lifestyles.
  • Set realistic expectations: The stressors that affect us are often beyond our control, but it is important to focus on what we can control. This can mean saying “no” to certain requirements that cost time and energy and lead to an increase in stress. Instead, focus on being the healthiest through exercise and healthy cooking, and then work on the things you can control, such as your response to the stressors in your life.

Stress-eating leads to more bad moods. Plant-based foods boost mood

Nobody wants to ban ice cream, but eating junk food with all the added sugar, salt, and preservatives too often can harm our physical health, and eating is not a cure for stress. In fact, stress eating is a vicious cycle and often creates additional emotional stress as your mood suffers from the effects of nutrient-poor choices, studies show.

The best foods for stress are not simple carbohydrates or sweets, but healthy, whole plant foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds that are high in fiber, folic acid, and other vitamins and phytochemicals that help fight inflammation and improves brain chemistry, according to research.

People who eat more fruits and vegetables experience improved mental wellbeing, according to a study published in the journal BMJ that found that your gut microbiome (the microbial organisms, including bacteria that help digest your food) “are bidirectional with the Brain interacts “. Ways of harnessing neural, inflammatory, and hormonal pathways. “This means your gut tells your brain how to behave, and what you eat affects your gut microbiome. By eating healthier foods, you’re not only contributing According to the authors, it contributes to your physical as well as your mental well-being.

Bottom line: Stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits, including choosing high-calorie and high-fat foods that can make your moods further into a tailspin. Finding healthy ways to relieve stress can help improve your diet, as well as your overall health and wellbeing. And when you need a snack to improve your mood, choose plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds that can aid your brain’s chemistry and lift your mood.

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Healthy Eating

Craving food vs. choosing food – FIT Talk With Tania



Photo: Contributed

When we use food to create hormonal balance instead of dieting, amazing things happen to our health.

When it comes to food, here in North America and in all of the First World countries we have choices – an overwhelming variety.

Aside from the rush for toilet paper over the past year, how many times have you gone to the grocery store and seen empty shelves? It never happens.

Some call it a blessing, some blame it on their poor food choices.

Regardless of where you sit on this food spectrum, we know for sure that we should be one of the healthiest nations on earth. But we are not. As a wealthy First World country, we have an abundance of food, but the vast majority of the population is nutritionally starved. One wonders how that can happen. It all depends on the choice.

Many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, digestive problems and leaky gut are all referred to as lifestyle diseases today. Why? Because the lifestyle that the individual has chosen over time is what caused the disease.

It would therefore seem logical that if our decisions could have a negative outcome, it would seem reasonable that they could elicit a positive response as well. And there is science to back it up.

A study published on the NCBI website by the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, shows how diet and lifestyle changes are key to reversing these lifestyle ailments and restoring general health.

“But Tania,” you say, “there is heart disease in my family, so sooner or later I’ll get it.”

So why not do it as late as possible?

And to address the genetic elephant in the room, our DNA only controls about 20 percent of the result of our health. Some scientists are now saying that it is even less. This means that we have about 80 percent control over the outcome of our health. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

So why do most of our population continue to make poor food choices?

There are two aspects that play a role in how and what we eat – physiological and psychological.

The way our bodies are made up, our physiology requires us to ingest food. When we deprive our body of what it needs – restricting calories, removing food groups, forgetting to eat, skipping meals, eating junk food – blood sugar crashes and appetite hormones like leptin and grehlin are out of whack. .

However, the brain – the psychological component – still needs nourishment.

When we withdraw the energy it needs from our body, Grehlin goes into full swing and causes the brain to tell the body that it needs food quickly. Leptin, which normally tells us when we are full, is switched off.

Hello cravings and overeating. And then people are most likely to resort to packaged, processed, and / or sugary foods rather than healthy, healthy foods. It is a good thing to ignore cravings for bad food, but if you don’t refuel with good food on a regular basis throughout the day (for whatever reason – time, working late, dieting), your body will get its own Muscles take it away to form glucose and send it to the brain. Oh, and for your information, in case you’re wondering, it won’t take away from your stored fat.

It is quite difficult to make good food choices when hormones and “hangry” feelings are working against you when you demand to be fed as soon as possible. The thing is, you can get these hormones to work in your favor, to work with your body and brain to get rid of cravings, overeating, and spontaneous snacking. Believe it or not, you do it with food. The thing is, when food is used to restore hormonal balance, health happens.

Hormones are balanced when blood sugar levels are stabilized. And the way to stabilize blood sugar is to eat small, macro-balanced meals every three to four hours throughout the day.

I call this all three PFCs. Simply put, it’s a balanced mix of high-quality protein, healthy fat, and colorful carbohydrates combined within an hour of waking up and then every three to four hours throughout the day until about an hour and a half before bed.

It’s a simple concept that requires a little organization and preparation to get started, but the benefits are well worth it.

Blood sugar levels become normal, hormones are balanced, menopausal symptoms are minimized or eliminated, inflammation is reduced, joint pain is relieved, digestion is improved, cholesterol and blood pressure are normalized, the immune system is improved, it could help reverse some diseases, the Metabolism will turn on and stay on and the body will release stored fat and burn it for energy.

Just a little trivia for you – Did you know that for every pound of fat, there are 3,500 calories of stored energy waiting to be consumed? And as soon as the stored fat is broken down, will the excess weight that you possibly carry also be released?

It’s a wonderful side benefit that occurs when you stop dieting and focus on creating health.

Do you want to create health in your body? Join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes Facebook group today.

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Healthy Eating

The Surprising Snack You Should Avoid Because It Causes Bloating And Fatigue Throughout The Day



Snacking is a normal and healthy part of any diet, as long as you choose the right snacks. When deciding which foods to include in your diet to bridge the gap between meals, it is important to choose nutrient-rich ingredients that can help boost your energy levels and support an increased feeling of satiety to help you achieve the Avoid consuming excess calories throughout the day.

However, not all high macronutrient density snacks are actually ideal for weight loss, and some can make sweeping claims while they may get in the way of your weight loss success or even cause weight gain, inflammation, and discomfort. If you are struggling with a tight and bloated stomach after snacking, there comes a point where nutritionists agree that you should consider eliminating it from your diet.

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Protein is hands down one of the most important nutrients to include in any balanced diet, but the way you consume your protein is important to consider. While protein bars are a simple snack, they are generally not well suited to promoting weight loss and wellness, and are often full of preservatives, excess carbohydrates, and added sugars, but they can make inflammation in your body worse.

“Unfortunately, the quality of most bars on the market is very poor and should not be considered healthy,” warns registered dietitian Trista Best. “The vast majority are made up of refined carbohydrates, sugar and gluten, all of which can lead to gas and fatigue . “

If you’re snacking on a protein bar, chances are you’re looking for a quick protein boost and enough energy to get you through to your next meal. However, opting for a bar over a naturally occurring source of protein can come with a number of side effects, many of which are uncomfortable for the body. “As the body works to process these ingredients, it becomes inflamed, especially the intestines, and this inflammation leads to gas and fatigue, among other things,” says Best.

Although gas isn’t directly related to weight gain, it can make your body feel uncomfortable and negatively affect your mental health. If you feel that your clothes are tighter you may be inclined to ditch your healthy eating plan, but it is better to identify the foods that are causing these problems rather than assuming your weight loss plan will fail.


Since protein bars are often filled with additives and excess sugar, they can also have an inverse effect on your metabolism, making it difficult to burn fat at rest and consequently, weight gain over time. This snack may go well with your healthy diet as it provides one of the most important macronutrients you need to streamline your diet, but at the end of the day, getting your protein from more natural sources like chickpeas will serve you better Salad, lean meat, or even Greek yogurt.

These foods are more likely to keep your body energized while also being low in calories, sugar, and unhealthy preservatives, making them better at limiting inflammation, fatigue, and weight gain.

If you’ve just finished a difficult workout or are severely low in calories for the day, a low-sugar, high-protein bar may not be the worst option for getting a quick burst of energy. However, make sure that you don’t rely on this highly processed snack in your daily diet to banish gas, unnecessary fatigue, and discomfort and try to find more natural alternatives to give your body the energy it needs needed to make it between meals.

As with any food, you can enjoy protein bars in moderation and still see success with your healthy diet, but contrary to popular belief, in order to feel optimal about your body, they shouldn’t be a part of your diet. A good rule of thumb is to eat as many natural, whole foods as possible, and there are a variety of different sources that will benefit your body in the long run.

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Healthy Eating

1 in 5 Parents Too Busy to Cook During Pandemic: Fast, Healthy Options



Share on PinterestA new study found that many parents say their children were more likely to eat fast food during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, health experts say there are alternatives to eating that are quick, easy, and nutritious. mixetto / Getty Images

  • According to a new survey, one in five parents said they were feeding their children more fast food than before the pandemic.
  • Parents of overweight children reported eating out at least twice a week.
  • The reasons given were being too busy or too stressed.
  • However, experts say that having a healthy meal at home doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.
  • They suggest that working on healthy behaviors rather than dieting is the best approach for children.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many families found options for healthier diets and more physical activity.

For others, however, it meant more stress and less exercise as the home shifted to school and work.

This has also made it difficult for parents to find the time or energy to prepare always nutritious meals at home.

According to the University of Michigan Health’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital national child health survey, roughly one in five parents said their children had started eating fast food more often than before the pandemic.

The survey, which included responses from 2,019 parents of children aged 3 to 18, found that roughly one in six parents said their child eats fast food at least twice a week.

Parents who reported their children were overweight also reported their children ate fast food twice a week, compared to parents who reported their child was a healthy weight for their age and height.

When asked why they couldn’t prepare meals at home, around 40 percent of parents said they were just too busy.

About a fifth of parents said they felt too stressed.

These barriers to eating healthy have been most commonly reported by families with overweight children.

However, nutritionists say putting together a healthy meal at home doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. It doesn’t necessarily have to be cooked once.

Dr. Mary-Jon Ludy, Chair of the Department of Public Health and Associated Health at Bowling Green State University’s College of Health and Human Services and Associate Professor of Food and Nutrition, suggests using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a starting point for planning your meals.

“In summary, half of our plates should be filled with fruits and vegetables, half of our grains should be whole, proteins should be lean, dairy products should be low in fat, and variety is encouraged,” said Ludy.

Some of the simple meal suggestions Ludy offered included:

  • For breakfast, low-fat natural yogurt with fresh or frozen fruits, chopped nuts and whole grain muesli.
  • For lunch, a nut butter sandwich on wholemeal bread filled with sliced ​​apples or bananas, with baby carrots or cucumber as a side dish and a low-fat milk to drink.
  • For dinner, whole grain tortillas with black beans or shredded chicken, brown rice, avocado puree, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and grated cheese.
  • As a snack between meals, hummus with sliced ​​peppers or whole grain crackers.

“These are great options,” said Ludy, “because they require minimal prep time, healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins are balanced, have a variety of fillings / additives, and are simple enough to involve children in prep.”

Therese S. Waterhous, PhD, RDN, CEDRD-S, an in-house eating disorders expert in Corvallis, Oregon, said the best way to lose weight, especially in children, is to take a nutrition-free approach. Diets don’t work, she explained, and most people put back any weight they lose.

“Instead of dieting, it’s good to choose healthy behaviors and work on them,” she said.

She said food shouldn’t be taboo when eating, but rather focus on optimizing health so that children can grow and reach their potential.

She suggested that making young children or teenagers feel bad about their bodies was “critical”. This leads to stress and, in some cases, eating disorders.

“Weight stigma is very harmful to children and is prevalent in our society,” said Waterhous. “Instead of focusing on weight, it is best to focus on these health behaviors.”

Instead of demonizing certain foods, focus on getting enough fuel, enough protein, enough vitamins and minerals, she said.

In particular, she said, most young people are not getting enough products that provide essential nutrients and fiber. She suggests adding two to three servings of vegetables or fruit to each meal. One serving is about 1/2 cup or a medium-sized piece of fruit, she added.

However, even with the best of intentions, there can be times when a quick meal at a restaurant is the option that best fits your busy schedule.

Ludy offers the following tips to help you make the best choices when eating out:

  • Add vegetables whenever you can. For example, ask for lettuce and tomatoes on sandwiches, peppers and onions on burritos, or mushrooms and olives on pizza.
  • Choose beverages like water, 100 percent fruit juice, or simple low-fat milk instead of sodas or sweet tea.
  • Opt for side dishes like apple slices or carrot sticks instead of french fries or fries.
  • Order small or child-sized portions.
  • Try to make fast food only occasionally.
  • Model healthy eating for your children by making healthy choices for yourself.

Waterhou also suggests that you can get a sandwich or fried chicken from the grocery store as a base for your meal. Then add simple options like a fruit salad, a mixed salad, or vegetables at home to complete your meal.

To add some starch to your chicken, you could have rice, mashed potatoes, or a slice of bread, she said. You can even prepare your side dishes in advance and reheat them for dinner.

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