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Is Stress Causing You To Have Food Cravings?





Stress can be caused by a variety of things. We all know that 2020 was a very stressful year for everyone and on top of all our own stress this virus comes along.


Many of us lost friends and family members to this virus, this is very stressful to our bodies to have to cope and go through the loss process of losing a loved one.































WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY IN TIMES OF STRESS


Humans have always been stressed since the beginning of time but the stress back then was more of a survival stress, meaning that we only got stressed when we were running for our lives from an animal or we were stressed about fighting for or thinking of how to get food for our family. This type of stress didn?t happen every day or every minute of the day.


Nowadays, we are constantly stressed. Our bodies seem to never stop being stressed for one reason or another.


When stressed our brain sends a signal to our adrenal glands to produce Cortisol and it send a signal to our adrenaline.


The Cortisol then goes on to prepare the body for that stressful event (whatever that event might be) and it does this by producing a loud of glucose, this is helpful to the body because you are either going to be running away from something or fighting something, so your large muscles are going to need energy.


We don?t want insulin to suddenly spike up and store all that glucose as fat so cortisol actually inhibits insulin production so that glucose isn?t getting stored.


Cortisol also narrows up the arteries and adrenaline increases the heart rate so you get a raise in your blood pressure and you're going to get that glucose delivered out to your tissues a lot quicker and then all that stress will go away and all goes back to normal.


In modern times, the way we NOW experience stress is different, we don?t stress out about the same things we did thousands of years ago. It?s less of the life threatening events and more of:


Work Stress Peer Pressure Stress

Financial Stress

Relationship Stress

Negative Online Stress

Traffic Stress

And the list goes on!


Even though we are not being chased by a tiger nowadays, our body still reacts the same way it did if we were being chased by a tiger.


WHY DOES THIS CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN:


Nowadays, our stress is persistent. Back in the days we did not stress everyday, we only stressed once in a while.


The stress we face now is different because we feel stress almost everyday and sometimes even several times a day.


When we are stressed, our hormones are supposed to surge up, exert their effect on the body and then come back down to normal. This is how our hormone levels are supposed to work.


BUT they way we live now, we are stressed a lot and for a longer period of time, this makes it difficult on your body because you are going to be having persistently raised levels of Cortisol. This has a lot of bad effects on your body but for now we are going to talk about the effect it has on our stomach, particularly the abdominal fat.



Persistently raised Cortisol levels cause fat to be redistributed, basically what it does is it causes fat from all parts of your body to distribute fat to your abdomen. This is called Visceral Fat, this is not the fat that is on top of the layer of your stomach. (see chart below)




This is the fat that is inside your abdomen, this visceral fat is what is associated with heart disease and other medical problems.


Stress increases HUNGER.


When I am stressed my cortisol (the stress hormone) goes up, which in turn makes me hungry and makes me crave sugar and/or comfort foods.


What I have found is that the more I know about why I get these cravings the better I am at controlling them.


When we have this hunger, we tend to go for the food that is more processed like foods that have high in FAT, highly processed foods or very high calorie foods.


Stress causes hunger, hunger causes us to want the high fat, highly processed sugary foods and higher calories foods, which in turn causes us to gain weight, especially around the abdomen. Many people address the diet but don?t learn to manage their stress.


Next we are going to be talking about some things you can do to reduce stress in your life.


THE SOLUTION


EXERCISE is a powerful way to lower your cortisol and curb your cravings, this doesn?t mean you have to go to the gym or buy a gym membership.. NO, NO! Just going for a walk outdoors or in your home is just fine, I would suggest doing it for about 20 minutes.


You may not know that just taking 30 minutes a day to workout (any physical activity) for about 5 days a week is a great way to release stress.


When you exercise your brain recognizes this as STRESS so your body then releases a chemical called ENDORPHINS to help you fight the stress.


Intern these ENDORPHINS interact with OPIOID RECEPTORS in your brain, these Opioid Receptors kinda act like the prescription drug Morphine, UNLIKE the drug Morphine the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction.


These receptors trigger your HAPPY MOOD FEELINGS, this is why after a workout you have tons of energy and feel being more active.


For me after a good workout I always have such a good night sleep. Remember that exercise is a great way to help you cope with stress.


Taking time out of your busy day to exercise can be difficult but remember that physical activity doesn't mean you have to go to the gym, you can get your exercise at home by just walking in place, walking outside or just jumping on a trampoline.


Find a simple but good way for you to implement exercise into your everyday life and this will help you to deal with your everyday stress.



THE SOLUTION


MEDITATION is also a great way to lower your cortisol levels and curb those cravings.


I?ve read that just 5 to 10 minutes a day can help reduce anxiety and stress.


Meditation has been done for centuries but American doctors in the 1970 created a method of meditation called Mindfulness Meditation.


This type of meditation helps you to live in the moment. When doing this type of meditation it helps you to stop thinking about the current problems that you are having or it can also help you to stop thinking about your past traumas.


This technique is simple, you take a few minutes from your day to concentrate on your breath, I?ve noticed that this helps me to calm down if I am stressed and it has even helped me when in pain.


I know that many people are skeptics about meditation but what this really is...is just you being MINDFUL IN THE MOMENT.


Trust me, I too used to feel this way but one day I just decided to do it and boy!!!! Was I surprised by how great it made me feel.


When we look at what causes stress, it?s basically when our mind perceives that the demand is greater than our personal and social resources to meet those demands. The KEY word here is ?PERCEIVED? because in reality ?the demand? is always less than what we perceived.


Example: Let?s say we are baking with our children but our minds are thinking about all the stuff we have to do at work tomorrow and this is stressing us out. What Mindfulness Meditation does is it BRINGS YOU BACK TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW. Now at this moment you are in the kitchen having fun with your children baking cookies. It helps you to enjoy the moments at hand and releases what has not happened yet.




I would love to recommend to you ?Calm? this is a FREE YouTube channel that you can go to to listen to Mindfulness Meditation videos.


In those videos they will let you know what to do and give you instructions to help you be ?IN THE MOMENT?.


I find that these videos are so relaxing and really help me to release any stress. One of my favorite videos is Daily Calm | 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation | Be Present on YouTube.


THE SOLUTION


EAT MORE FRUITS, VEGGIES AND GREENS which helps lower inflammation, cortisol levels and those stubborn cravings.


HOW WE USED TO EAT


Man has been evolving for over 9 million years, we have only been eating grains, beans and agreal culture foods for about 12 thousand years, so for most of man's life we have been hunters and gathers.

We ate mostly fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies and greens. According to Dr. Mark Hyman we used to eat over 800 of the spices of plants. Our diet back then was more nutrient dense, very high in fiber, higher in vitamins and minerals.


HOW WE EAT NOW


The reason we ALL crave sugar is because our bodies run on SUGAR but NOT white processed SUGAR, NO!


Our bodies were meant to run on FRUIT SUGARS and this is why our bodies want sugar. The bad thing is that our bodies only know about the white processed sugars that we continually put in our bodies.


Most foods are made with sugar in them because the food industry knows that sugar is addictive and it?s also very cheap.


It?s really not our fault that we are addicted to the WRONG SUGAR, foods are made to keep us coming back. They are specifically made for us to keep buying them over and over again.


Studies have shown that sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine.


When we eat sugar (white processed sugar not fruit sugars) it triggers a part in the brain that actually makes you addicted. This is because it triggers a Dopamine response which gives you a bit of pleasure in the moment.


If you are overweight, you down regulate the receptors in your brain, so the more overweight you are the less your PLEASURE sensors work.


Which means you need more sugar to stimulate the PLEASURE sensors. This is why you crave more and more sugar and you eat more and more.


When you try to go off Sugar, you will go through withdraws because SUGAR IS A DRUG. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, you will go through withdrawals when coming off sugar.


The good news is that when we switch to eating the CORRECT type of sugar which is Fruits, we can change our taste buds in just 10 days.


It is so worth it to get off this drug and eating more fruits, veggies and greens helps you to stop craving the white processed sugars.


When I used to have massive sugar cravings I would drink a smoothie with fruit and greens and the cravings would go away. Try this for yourself.


I hope all this information has been helpful to you, i'm here if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section or leave me a DM on Instagram @Rawnda Flowers.