Go From Emotional Eating to Mindful Eating Part II

Exercise is a great way to help you unwind from a stressful day, but it can also help you deal with any heightened emotions. Exercise is also an appetite suppressant so when you feel the need to grab a snack during an emotional time choose exercise instead. Stop and do ten jumping jacks, go for a walk around the block or just stand and lift your knee to the opposite elbow ten to twenty times.

According to researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “exercise strengthens the brain’s powers of being able to think ahead and controlling inhibitions which then makes it easier to say no to either a second helping or of making a poor snack choice.” The researchers recommend yoga for emotional eaters. Yoga and Pilates can create better body awareness and this is what is key to helping you deal with temptations and become a more mindful eater. Yoga and Pilates also helps by increasing your levels of serotonin and dopamine which are those mood boosting neurotransmitters.

Here is a little known fact; those of us who are chronically sleep deprived may be more likely to cave to anxious or emotional eating. When you get enough sleep your body reduces your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that becomes elevated whenever you are stressed or anxious. When this is elevated there is a host of health issues that become present. Lack of sleep contributes to depression, irritability, poor digestion, poor productivity and lessens the capability to control your reactions to stress or anxiety. All of these are precursors for emotional eating episodes.

A recent study found that those who were sleep deprived did tend to overeat when compared to others who received adequate amounts of sleep. In fact, those who didn’t get enough sleep ended up eating an extra 550 calories a day. This can really add up and if you are grabbing anything that is available and not paying attention to the nutritional content. You could be setting yourself up to fail.

Not only does getting enough sleep each night help your brain re-set and your body regain energy, it also may play an important role in regulating how much we eat, how many calories we burn, and helps determine when we eat. Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. The more you can exercise, the better your sleep will become.

My mind always races, so I take an adaptogen tincture each night that helps shut my brain down so that I get a restful sleep. When I don’t sleep well, I notice how much more stressed I am the next day as well as how hungry I am at strange times during the day. Knowing this has helped me with control my stress eating and work on my sleep patterns.

What form of exercise do you use to help with your emotional eating? How much sleep do you get each night? Do you notice a difference in your appetite after a night of restless sleep?


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