Have you thought about the effects of stress?
These days we are all becoming a lot more aware of the way that hormone levels might affect the way that we feel. The hormone associated with stress is called cortisol.
We have cortisol for a good reason. It signals to our body that we need to eat more following a stressful situation. When we turn on a “fight or flight” response we use up more energy. Our body is telling us to replenish the calories we have used up during the stressful time.
While we might have needed extra energy if we were fleeing the cave followed by a woolley mammoth, we might not need any extra energy if we are worrying over a work deadline. We do not need extra energy to be sitting at the computer or lying in bed awake. Worrying about our teenaged son not being home yet or our aging parent who is not coping does not use up any extra energy.
Unfortunately cortisol still kicks in and we find ourselves eating MORE. We find ourselves craving energy dense food which is surplus to our energy requirements – starchy, comforting carby food. Before long we start to put on weight, particularly around the middle.
If you find yourself craving “comfort foods” to deal with the effects of stress, the answer is to try to find other ways to deal with the stress. You need to tell your body you are NOT STRESSED (even though you might be some of the time). You need to tell your body to get back in touch with your parasympathetic nervous system which can calm you down, which will in turn reduce cravings.
Yin yoga once a week is a very good start. Deep breathing, moving slowly, stretching and mediating are all part of the yin yoga session. You will develop tools during the session like breathing patterns, thought patterns and self awareness, which will flow on to other parts of your life.
If you are a stressed out woman you need to try yin yoga. You will be amazed at how one hour of “stillness” can flow out into your life giving you a different perspective and a more calm, centred approach to your day.