Our Spring theme is Stress!

What’s Stress Got to Do with It?

There is much truth behind the phrase “stress eating.” Stress, the hormones it unleashes, and the effects of high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” push people toward overeating. Researchers have linked weight gain to stress, and according to an American Psychological Association survey, about one-fourth of Americans rate their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale.

In the short term, stress can shut down appetite. A structure in the brain called the hypothalamus produces corticotrophin-releasing hormone, which suppresses appetite. The brain also sends messages to the adrenal glands atop the kidneys to pump out the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). Epinephrine helps trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, a revved-up physiological state that temporarily puts eating on hold.

But if stress persists, it’s a different story. The adrenal glands release another hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general, including the motivation to eat. Once a stressful episode is over, cortisol levels should fall, but if the stress doesn’t go away — or if a person’s stress response gets stuck in the “on” position — cortisol may stay elevated.


Long Days and Late Nights

Some tips to help you while you are crunching numbers at the office…

• Coffee is dehydrating. Have one coffee in the morning and then drink water or tea throughout the day.
• Stay away from the candy bar machine. Enough said.
• Take small breaks. Every hour, take a walk around and get your blood circulating.
• Don’t overindulge at lunch. A heavy lunch will make you feel tired and unable to focus after you return to work.
• Snack on nuts. They are packed with fibre, antioxidants and vitamins essential for brain health. Walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds are great.
• Easy on the carbs. Again, if you like your sandwiches, ease up. Bread will leave you feeling full, but it will also leave you feeling bloated and tired.
• Keep fresh cut veggies handy for onsite snacking.


How To Make Healthy Choices:

10 Tips For Everyday Eating

1.Eat what you need. Eating healthy is different for every individual, so at your yearly check-up, find out what your body needs. Are you low in iron? Are you lacking vitamin C? Do you have a gluten sensitivity? Use this knowledge to investigate what your body needs as fuel and ask a health and wellness practitioner for advice.

2.Don’t binge. Eating smaller portions helps keep your blood sugar from spiking and crashing. Space out your meals; have five smaller meals a day instead of three large meals. Start your day more protein heavy because it will keep you feeling full longer and prevent your insulin from spiking.

3.When in doubt, use the 50/50 rule. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose orange and dark-green vegetables like broccoli and sweet potatoes as a healthy side to your meat or fish dish.

4.Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps keep you hydrated and eliminate waste from your body. Dehydration can lead to constipation, headaches, fatigue and dizziness. Try to consume a glass of water every hour.

5.Eat more fibre. Fibre helps keep you full longer, which will prevent snacking on sugary or salty foods. Whole grain pasta, bread, brown rice, quinoa and faro are all good options.

6.Read food labels. A good rule of thumb to remember: the first three ingredients listed on a label usually constitute about 75% of the product, with the number one ingredient being the highest in content. If the first ingredient lists the following as number one, stay away from it:
• Sugar
• Glucose/fructose
• Corn syrup
• Shortening
• Palm oil
• Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate
• Butylated Hydroxaynisole (BHA)
• Sodium nitrites and sodium nitrates
• Blue, green, red and yellow dye

7.Limit high solid fats and added sugars. Ribs, bacon, hot dogs are not a meal. Cakes, cookies and candy are occasional snacks, not food groups.

8.Enough with the sugar and salt. Substitute white sugar in your coffee/tea for honey and stevia. Reduce your salt intake by increasing the amount of herbs and spices you add to dishes. Rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and parsley add flavour and nutrition, without the excess sodium.

9.Be a cook. Stop pressing redial on your telephone when thinking about that pizza. The more you learn how to cook for yourself, the better you will feel about eating. Time management is key – if you prep foods like cut raw vegetables ahead of time, they will be easy grab and go items for your lunch.

10.Put down the pre-packaged foods. Remember this shopping tip: Shop the periphery of the grocery store. The outside aisles are almost always fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. The inner aisles are entirely made up of packaged foods. The more you shop on the “outskirts” of the store, the better job you’re doing of helping your body.