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Friday, Jul 10 2015

How to Stop Stress Eating

(CNN)Sometimes it happens after you get an angry email from your boss. Or, maybe because you recently connected with a new love interest...and now he or she's gone MIA. Whatever the dilemma, cue your hand in the bag of Cheetos or a visit to the kitchen for, well...whatever's there.

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You know what it is: stress eating. "It's perfectly human to want to avoid pain and seek relief," says Minh-Hai Alex, a registered dietitian and founder of Mindful Nutrition in Seattle. "Stress eating usually happens when we want to disconnect from the moment. It's like changing the channel in our brain to try to change how we feel," she explains. Here's why food is such a salve for stress — and how to stop the cycle.

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This is why you turn to food when you're stressed

It's no surprise if you suddenly feel famished when deadlines or crises strike. "Stress activates your adrenal glands to release cortisol, increasing your appetite," says Melissa McCreery, PhD, ACC, psychologist and the emotional eating expert behind the site Too Much On Her Plate. Stress also impedes hunger hormones, like ghrelin, that regulate your appetite, research shows. If the anxiety is cutting into your sleep, a lack of zzz's ramps up your appetite even more.

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Unfortunately, that anxiety-induced hunger can have long-term consequences for your waistline. In fact, one new study found that women who reported they were stressed burned fewer calories and fat, and had a higher insulin response after eating a higher fat meal. Published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the researchers concluded that these stress-induced changes led women to burn about 100 fewer calories per day — a difference that could cause you to pack on 11 pounds in a year.

When you're under stress, you often feel out of control and overwhelmed — and that can leak into your eating habits, McCreery says. So it's no surprise that you go after junk food like a hungry lion, rather than keeping up your normally healthy habits. "You're worried about the past or the future — not what you're eating in the present," she adds.

Stress depletes the cognitive resources you need to remain focused and resilient, and to practice creative problem solving, says McCreery. That's why getting elbow-deep in a pint of mint chip always feels easier than actually coming up with a plan for how to tackle that super tough work project.

When junk food is calling your name

While it's too bad you don't crave celery sticks and carrots during crazed moments, that would go against biology. Fries, snack mixes, cookies and ice cream are go-tos because these high-carb, high-fat eats increase the brain's feel-good dopamine response, Alex explains. Then, next time you get into a bind, you'll hear the siren song of chocolate chips because your noggin has come to expect the rewarding hit of dopamine — and knows where to find it. (Ahem, cookies.)

Not only that, but it's easy for stress snacking to become an ingrained habit. A 2015 study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism discovered that one reason we eat high sugar foods is because sugar dampens stress-induced cortisol responses. Translation: You feel better on a sugar high. Over time, your brain may start to rely on these foods to simmer down.

Problem is, anyone who's done it (and who hasn't?) knows what it feels like after you eat for emotional reasons — the guilt and frustration hit you like a hangover. Research from Penn State backs up what we've all suspected — that eating bad-for-you foods can make a grumpy mood even worse.

How to stop stress eating

Ready to break free from stress eating and bring back happiness to your eats? Try some of these simple tricks next time anxiety strikes.

1. Focus on the real issue.

We all know food is just a crutch when we're stressed. "Stress eating is not the primary problem, but a symptom of unmet needs," says Alex. Ask yourself 'How do I feel?' or 'What do I need?' to figure out what's really getting under your skin.

2. Think long-term.

Take a minute to focus on the future (whether that means recalling your weight loss goals, or how awesome you want to look on vacation next month) before you give in to stress eating. It can help get you out of the moment so you make healthier food choices instead of succumbing to the lure of a tasty treat, suggests a 2014 study.

3. Get mindful.

In a study in the Journal of Obesity, women who underwent mindfulness training — learning stress reduction techniques, how to recognize hunger, and pay attention to taste — were less apt to stress eat and lost more belly fat compared to a control group. Next time you're feeling taxed, try this exercise. You'll learn to identify your feelings, accept the unpleasant ones and focus on your breathing so you can fight the automatic urge to reach for a snack.

4. Be kind to yourself.

"Self-compassion can decrease stress eating," says Alex. "When you're a kind, understanding friend to yourself, it's easier to resist the urge to try to disconnect through stress eating," she adds. If you do stress eat, promise that you won't beat yourself up and understand that it happens to everyone sometimes. That can help stop you from eating out of failure and help you make better choices later.

5. If all else fails...

Go ahead and indulge. "Food is a lovely, comforting thing," says McCreery. So if you're going to do it anyway, she recommends really enjoying it. "Sit down, let yourself relax, and taste the ice cream." Of course, do so in moderation. Plan on savoring a small brownie rather than the whole batch.


Monday, Jul 6 2015


So since the wedding I have been a little bad :-)

My wife and I have been struggling to get our eating back on track. Spending the month of may doing wedding prep and entertaining guests from out of town led to a lot of eating out and poor choices, and we have yet to be able to recover from it. I finally decided today to get back on the scale and start my damage control. not "terrible" at least I'm not back to 200 right? It's time to find the will power to eat right and get things moving, I have my honeymoon in less than 2 weeks!

I stated a new job last Wednesday, and while that is a great thing for me, its proving to be challenging for my diet. This new company is a firm believer in free food so there are snacks all over the place here. There is also fruit, so I am trying to do my best to just eat the fruit. Having to dig deep to find the will power to avoid the free food and make sure to stick to my diet as best I can.


Friday, Jun 26 2015

Been a while

Life has changed quite a bit since my last blog.

May 15th 2015
This was the happiest day of my life. I finally married the love of my life. The day had the normal glitches any wedding would have, but the important part happened went of without a hitch, we said "I do"! My wife's family was here for about 3 months surrounding the wedding, it was awesome seeing them, hanging out with them and getting to know my new family a lot better.

May 28th 2015
I chose this day to start over my fat smash diet. Just as I am getting in the routine, just bought all the groceries necessary to get going on this diet, the worst happened, and my entire department was laid off.

What transpired over the next 3 weeks was rough, trying to start a marriage while unemployed is not fun. It also reeks havoc on your diet, it's hard for me to keep track of what foods to eat when I am at home all day and not sleeping on a regular schedule. Thankfully I have only gained about 5lbs, lord knows it could have been a lot worse.

It is all over though, two days ago I accepted a job offer with a company called eVestment, and i start on July 1!

The last month has been rough but now that things are starting to settle hopefully I get back to my little venting sessions here and get back to dieting correctly and get those 5lbs back off and get back towards my goal weight.


Friday, May 8 2015

FSD: Those last few pounds

Today's Weight: 186.3

Up a little bit today after a bad weekend. It was my anniversary and my fiances birthday. Not making excuses, just what happened, even i can only do my best sometimes. Been rough to stay on track to get these last few pounds off, and will only get harder as the wedding approaches since her family arrives from Germany today, and it will be non-stop going out between now and then. Sigh.

Staying Motivated
This topic is a tough one, as I believe motivation comes from within and varies from person to person as to what motivates them. I wanted some help with this topic, so I googled "stay motivated" and this is what I got.
  1. Set goals. Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. ...
  2. Make it fun. Find sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary the routine to keep you on your toes. ...
  3. Make physical activity part of your daily routine. If it's hard to find time for exercise, don't fall back on excuses.

Interesting. Even Google has great ideas on what to do lol. All I can speak to is what has worked for me in the past. For me, reading my old blogs helps keep me motivated. Compliments from strangers is a big boost, and having a short term goal is a good one to try and stay on track. I am pretty hard on myself with respect to my diet, and I do not suggest that. Sure it has proven successful if you are only looking at my scale victories, but when I fall off the wagon, I tend to fall hard because my approach doesn't allow for any wiggle room. For me, if I allow myself for wiggle room, I will shake all over the place. You have to find that balance for yourself, find a rhythm, find a routine and diet regimen that is both easy to maintain for you psychology, and is effective.


Friday, May 1 2015

Fat Smash Diet: Last day of Foundation

Today's Weight: 185.0 ❰❰ Like a Boss!

For exercise, I go running on the Silver Comet Trail. Since I have been on this diet, I have been out there 6 days a week, and when you are out there that much you see the same people, even at the same spots on the trail, everyone seems to have their same daily routine, even me. I wave and say hi, almost as if we have a friendship. I will share a nod with someone, a non verbal "Hey, good to see you again stranger, good to see your still working out, go and get em. See you tomorrow!" I actually did once form a friendship out of stopping and talking to one of these people on the trail one day, she and I are still good friends to this day!

It reminded me of one time in particular where a stranger stood out to me. Now, I have been going on this trail for 7 years. So i was on this trail back when i was 282lbs. Well after a large chunk of the weight loss, a man stopped me as I was on my way out for a walk, a man I remember giving the nod to a few times out there on the trail. He said to me "Hey, you've been coming out here for a couple years now right? You are always with a few females? I just wanted to tell you, you look great man, keep it up!" I didn't have a response for him because I was floored by the compliments of a stranger, particularly at that time where I had lost a bunch but was struggling to stay on track.

As usual, I said all that to say this. It will be hard for those close to you to notice your weight loss unless you loose a drastic amount, it is the virtual strangers who will notice, so don't be afraid of a strangers comments!


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What Will I Read Here?

Most of my blogging has to deal with weight loss, if you can tell from the tag cloud above. I didn't want to use my blog to just be like "oh, here is what I did over the weekend," my life isn't that interesting. Instead I began this blog in hopes of expressing a lot of the thoughts I have about my own life and life in general, as well as share a lot of the humerous things I see out on the net including chat conversations. This blog might seem random and all over the place but serves as a great deal of inspiration not only formyself, but it would seem for a few others. If you have come here I hope you are either inspired, or at least entertained. Enjoy!

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