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Stress Management Health Center

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Serving Up Stress Relief: Comfort Food In High Demand

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Remember, too, to get some exercise, Rosenbloom advises. "I find the best way to relieve stress is to take care of myself, to exercise. I'm not a marathon runner, not a tri-athlete. There's nothing like a walk on a beautiful day -- going out with your dog for a brisk walk or taking your kids to the park when the fall weather is beautiful. Studies show that exercise is a great stress releaser."

Keep in mind that the holidays are coming up, she says. One study published last year showed that people don't tend to gain much weight over the holidays -- maybe just one or two pounds -- but they also don't take off the weight in January.

"Even if you gain one or two pounds, that carries over every year," she tells WebMD. The cumulative effects after 20 years: a whopping 10 or 20 pounds.

Don't think you have to join a gym or be in marathon training to reap the benefits of exercise, Rosenbloom says. "That's so far from the truth." Walking works just fine, she says.

Just don't deny yourself a little indulgence, adds Hack. "The truth is, some indulgence right now isn't horrible. Taking care of yourself a little bit -- taking a hot bath, eating an ice cream cone, whatever is really pleasurable -- can help in times of extreme stress. The point is knowing that it can become a vicious cycle. If you've had food problems in the past, you don't want to start the cycle again."

Here's an idea: "Try warming some milk at bedtime," he suggests. Whether you realize it or not, "it reminds you of mother's milk. It also settles you down, because [the] lactose [in milk] induces sleep."

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