Holiday Fear Factor: De-stress and Eat Less
Or how to have splendid holidays without splurging
Is anxiety creeping into your holiday spirit? Do visions of sugarplums cause
you nightmares? Many weight-challenged people dread this time of year because
of all the food and alcohol temptations that seem to be everywhere. In
addition, the incredible demands associated with the holiday season make it a
very stressful time of the year.
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Start Eating?
Break free from the habit of turning to food for comfort and stress control
with a better understand of the things that trigger stress in your life. If you
face your temptations before they arrive, you will be better prepared to handle
the situation. For example, the office party -- you need a strategy to be able
to enjoy the festivities and camaraderie without diet sabotage. Unless you are
equipped with a plan to control your intake, you will leave the party feeling
guilty and stressed out. When you have a plan, you feel less vulnerable.
Impact of Stress on the Body
Stress takes a nutritional toll on your body ranging from depleting vitamins
to depressing your immune system. Under conditions of high stress, several
nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and the B vitamins, are easily depleted in
your system, making you more vulnerable to illness and fatigue.
Comfort foods such as mom's apple pie, ice cream, candy, cookies, and chips
are the types of foods reached for in stressful situations. Not only will these
high-calorie foods pack on the pounds, but stress can also disrupt normal
bodily functions, particularly the gastrointestinal tract and appetite.
Stress not only affects your choice of foods but also how fast you eat and
the frequency of meals and snacks. That's because stress can refuel the body's
appetite by releasing the hormone cortisol. There is no doubt that stress can
cause a vicious circle of eating that can wreak havoc on your weight-loss
For starters, make sure you get adequate rest each night and limit the
amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume. The American Dietetic Association
also recommends that you eat regular meals; it is crucial to make time for a
healthy breakfast to prepare for the day. In addition, skipping meals only
heightens stress; find the time to eat healthful snacks if you are low on
A well-nourished body is your best defense against stress. You are what you
eat, and this is especially true during stressful times. Focusing on eating the
foods in your eating plan can help you deal with daily issues while keeping
stress in check.
Part of mastering control over the food that you eat is learning how to cope
in stressful situations. Stressors such as anger, sadness and depression often
lead people to seek comfort from food. Our mission at the WebMD Weight Loss
Clinic is to teach you how to handle stress so that you learn how to de-stress
without reaching for food. Adopting behavioral skills that empower you and give
you strength to resist temptations is a huge step toward gaining control over
food. There will be times that you give in to the temptations, but hopefully,
they will occur less often and as a result of a choice, not an out-of-control