Stress and poor eating go hand in hand. A hectic lifestyle can leave you with little free time and plenty of exhaustion. For thousands of overworked, under-relaxed Americans, grabbing a quick burger at McGreasy's and skipping yoga class doesn't seem like a choice. It feels like a survival necessity.
It's all about hormones . . .
. . . especially cortisol.
What you can do about cortisol
- Get Regular Exercise. A sweaty, hard bout of cardio creates a "positive" stress situation that puts that extra cortisol to good use.
- Meditate. Giving your brain a break reduces anxiety—and that reduces cortisol. I recommend starting with the audiobook Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield.
- Laugh. Having a good time cuts though stress like a hot knife through coconut oil. Maybe it's time to upgrade yourThree Stooges collection to Blu-ray—just make sure to watch it with some friends. Social interaction helps too.
- Epel, E., R. Lapidus, B. McEwen, et al. Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology 26: 37-49, 2001.
- Epel, E.S., B. McEwen, T. Seeman, et al. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine 62:623-632, 2000.