When you’re working with a client who is struggling to lose weight, one of the most important messages you must communicate is how emotions affect their eating habits. Stress and anxiety often lead to mindless eating, which can quickly derail weight loss efforts. Mindless eating often focuses on comfort foods high in added fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Stress affects hormonal balance. One of the important hormones in this picture is ghrelin. Known as the hunger hormone, ghrelin has the important task of stimulating appetite. Stress increases the levels of ghrelin, making people think they’re hungry even when they aren’t. Chronic stress also affects cortisol, another hormone involved in the “fight or flight” response, and insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. Elevated cortisol and insulin levels can also increase appetite.
In addition to increasing appetite, the changes in the hormones tend to drive people toward comfort foods, particularly carbohydrates. Many high-carb foods – think bread, pasta, chips and other processed food snacks – are also loaded with extra fat, sugar and salt. The carbohydrates, fat and sugar in the snacks have a feedback effect on the brain that helps decrease stress and anxiety. Research indicates that women seem to be more susceptible to stress eating than men.
One of the first steps in helping someone who is a stress eater is to help them become aware of their body/mind connection. Keeping a food diary that also tracks emotions and the desire to eat can pinpoint “trigger” events and times of day when they are most susceptible to the pull of fatty, sugary, high-carb foods. Cleaning out the cupboards and substituting healthy snacks can help, as can eating enough protein to keep the blood sugar stable. Meditation and regular exercise can also decrease chronic stress levels.
For the client who needs a little extra help dealing with stress and anxiety that are related to eating, consider Relora®. A supplement that contains a proprietary blend of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense bark extracts, Relora® decreased stress and transitory anxiety, and improved mood scores in study participants. These findings were confirmed in three peer-reviewed double-blind studies. Magnolia officinalis in particular seems to bind to receptors in the brain that regulate mood and anxiety levels.
For the person who is struggling to lose weight, your support, knowledge and expertise can make a difference. Relora® can also help those affected by stress eating. If you have questions or need more information, please contact us atwww.interhealthusa.com or call 1-800-783-4636.
Office: 5451 Industrial Way
Benicia, CA 94510