Excessive anxiety can lead to skipping regular meals, snacking from the vending machines at work, and comfort eating, all of which can lead to weight gain.
It’s a vicious cycle—you get stressed, you eat a whole bag of Doritos—or two—you start to put on weight because you don’t feel like exercising, you get more stressed because you are getting fat, you eat some more, etc. I know, because I am currently in this situation. I am a chronic comfort food eater. Food makes me feel safe, and it calms my troubled emotions. That is, until I realize that I’ve eaten three Snicker’s bars, four slices of pizza, a slice of cake, and two large glasses of soda. Then, I panic and start chastising myself for eating so much—which makes me feel more anxious and depressed. Then all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep for 14 hours.
Have you noticed that I didn’t mention exercising? That is because I didn’t exercise—I loathed the concept of having to run and sweat and hurt in order to lose weight. That is why I became an unhealthy, obese 40-something woman. I have begun to exercise a little more regularly, and I have been somewhat surprised to find that when I do exercise, I feel much better emotionally. I believe it is because exercise releases endorphins that make you feel better. I know that I do feel much better after a good workout and I have lost a few pounds to boot!
Help control your eating habits by following these steps:
- Do not skip Meals: When you skip meals, your body thinks there is a food shortage, and begins to store fat instead of burn it. Always eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have healthy snacks between meals to keep your body in the “burn fat” mode.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Dehydration can often times be mistaken for hunger. That is why it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking at least 64 oz. of water a day helps reduce hunger cravings, improves the quality of your skin, and helps flush the toxins from your body. Drinking a glass of water before each meal can also help reduce the amount of food you eat, and it is also an easy way to control food intake.
- Eat Breakfast: Starting your day with a healthy breakfast helps provide the fuel your body needs to jumpstart your metabolism and allow you to work at your peak level. Eating breakfast also helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable, and prevents you from becoming so hungry that you cannot concentrate at work and also prevents you from overeating at lunchtime as well.
- Avoid the vending machines: Bringing healthy snacks from home will help you ignore the call of the vending machine when you get hungry. Eating a healthy snack of a piece of fruit, yogurt, or carrots between breakfast and lunch will help you keep your blood sugar at normal levels and will reduce hunger pangs as well.
- Eat a healthy lunch and dinner: Taking time out to eat lunch and dinner will keep your metabolism going, and will keep your body from thinking it is starving.
- MOVE: Although the word “exercise” is distasteful to some, adding a little movement into your daily routine will help your body burn calories and will actually give you more energy as well. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a coworker’s office instead of emailing or calling them, or even walking around the perimeter of your workplace parking lot will get your circulation going, increase your heart rate, and help burn calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.