Ways to Wellness with Theresa Grisanti
I am what you would call a skinny, fat person. I am 5’6” and weigh 130 pounds. I go hiking to get exercise but I spend most of my day on the computer. All my stress goes straight to my stomach. What can I do to stop the stress-related eating and get rid of my bulge.
Skinny Fat Girl
Dear Skinny Fat Girl,
I hear two things happening for you here. One is your rather sedentary lifestyle leading to untoned core muscles. The other is a tendency to stress eat.
Let’s start with your “bulge.” Because you work on the computer all day, your body doesn’t get the opportunity to use our essential core muscles the way they were designed, as you lift and move all day. The good news is there are exercises you can do to strengthen your core while you sit at your desk.
Our muscles get lazy when they are not used. Here is an exercise that will strengthen your abdominal muscles and build muscle memory to more effectively pull in your belly.
Try this: Take a deep breath. As you exhale pull in your belly muscles as far as back toward your spine as you can and expel every bit of air. Hold this contracted position as long as possible. This trains your core muscles to hold your body up. Just the act of using these muscles makes you stronger.
The stress eating is another issue altogether. I say this often: your body is innately intelligent and will create balance at any costs. Stress eating is the body’s way of balancing itself out.
The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are meant to protect us from mortal danger. They are very effective at keeping us alive. However, we live in a time when there are many stresses the keep these hormones in our bloodstream longer than is healthy.
When stress hormones are released, they signal the body to store food as fat for later. The digestive process takes a lot of energy that the body needs for protection. The only problem is later never comes if we are frequently and perpetually stressed.
If you want to cut back on your stress eating, it is important to incorporate periods of relaxation into your daily life. Adapt an attitude of letting go of unimportant stressors, do yoga or meditation daily, find a regular time every day to breathe and purposefully relax your body. The exercise above will work double duty for you as you breath consciously.
The act of breathing and relaxing activates the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for relaxation in the body. This allows the body to remove stress hormones from the bloodstream and rejuvenate itself.
When you are actively doing these things before you reach for a cookie, your body learns better ways to support you and release unwanted weight.
Theresa Grisanti has studied nutrition and psychology with experts in this field for over 20 years. Using her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s degree in Nutrition, she coaches people to understand how their body works and ways to eat that promote health and vitality. You can find more information about Theresa on her website: http://theresagrisanti.com