Monday, November 10, 2008

Economy Down, Weight Up

What does overeating have to do with the economic crisis? Answer: a lot!As we watch our country suffer economic decline we react by becoming more and more stressed. Our bodies flood with the hormone cortisol and our appetites rage. Powerful emotions surface and we may experience many difficult feelings. We are likely to worry and have trouble sleeping and then two more hormones come into play. We excrete excess ghrelin (which increases hunger) and our production of leptin (the hormone that signals satiation) decreases. So the extra stress we are experiencing is likely to increase our appetite and consequently our numbers on the scale.

As human beings we cannot help but react to what is going on . We are all being touched by this crisis in some fashion and we are likely to seek food for comfort. This is a natural reaction, so please don’t beat yourself up if you have indulged in a few extra snacks lately. We learn at a tender age that sugars and carbohydrates will take away our pain. These substances mask themselves as our friends. They urge us to take care of our uncomfortable feelings by stuffing our bellies with creamy pastas, pastries and chocolate. The hard part is that they deliver what they promise. These foods help us in the short term to stuff our feelings deep inside where we don’t have to deal with them. When the effects of these “anesthetics” wear off, however, our physical bodies scream for MORE and our emotional selves join the chorus and demand “treats” to continue keeping feelings at bay -- this is how we perpetuate emotional eating patterns..

If you have been soothing yourself with food, please don’t beat yourself up. That NEVER helps! None of us can walk our paths perfectly at all times. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Move beyond the urge to punish yourself. Recall that there are no mistakes, only lessons and be as gentle as possible with yourself.

Do all you can to take the very best care of yourself -- eat the healthiest foods possible, drink plenty of water, build some exercise into your routine, rest, relax and have some fun. A powerful aid for my clients is the Bach Flower Emotional Eating Support Kit. This contains three powerful flower remedies that my clients have used successfully to manage their eating behavior -- Cherry Plum helps you remain in control, Crabapple improves body image and self-appreciation and Chestnut Bud helps you to stop repeating the same mistakes and sabotaging yourself again and again as your stress level continues to rise while you watch your waistline expand.

Have a great day! Dr. Denise

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