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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Breaking the Stress Cycle to Lose Weight

March is a great time to take stock of our health and wellness and look back to see if any of those 2014 New Year’s resolutions have stuck. If you’re like most Americans, chances are your resolution had something to do with lowering stress, whittling away at extra pounds and achieving better health.

It may come as no surprise that stress and extra body fat are closely related. Stress can contribute to weight gain in a number of ways. For some, it means not having the time to prepare wholesome meals and snacks. It’s a lot easier when the clock is ticking, deadlines are looming and pressure is rising to grab whatever is the most convenient food option around—usually overly processed, high-sodium and high fat foods. Others use food for pleasure, aiming for instant gratification without any effort. Relying on comfort foods and stress eating is a vicious cycle that is hard to break, but necessary if you want to make serious changes to your health.

If you’re committed to making that change, prepare a few days’ worth of salads, cut-up veggies and fruit and fill your kitchen with nuts, beans and all kinds of greens. Be brutal with the junk food in your pantry—sweep it straight into the garbage—so there’s no chance you’ll turn to it in a pinch.

It’s also interesting to note that according to some scientists, the cortisol produced by a body under stress can be a contributing factor to weight gain. Cortisol plays a primary role in providing energy to the body and maintaining normal blood pressure. In essence, cortisol stimulates the metabolism to provide energy. This releases insulin and increases appetite. During times of physical or psychological stress, excess cortisol is released.

Some studies have even found that being under stress changes where the fat accumulates on the body. Fat is more likely to gather in the abdominal area rather than the hips when stress is high, where it is considered more dangerous to the heart.

Managing stress and losing weight are not simple tasks—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But you can do it by taking small steps in the right direction. Sign up now for a yoga class, make it a habit to turn on pleasant music when you come home and practice deep abdominal breathing at red lights and before falling asleep. Find the things that work for you to reach a happier, calmer state of mind, and you’ll find you have more energy and mental clarity to face the challenges of life successfully.

Spinach Sunflower Pumpkin Salad

Ingredients:

4 cups raw spinach ½ cup raw sunflower seeds ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil 2 tsp Himalayan salt

Directions:

Soak the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in 3 cups filtered alkaline water overnight and drain. Combine the lemon juice, salt and pumpkin seed oil and toss with the spinach and seeds.

Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an educational center and therapy spa in Atlanta offering healthy lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 1-800-844-9876 and visit LivingFoodsInstitute.com See ad, inside front cover.

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