STRESS RESILIENCE – STRESS AND EATING Facing Stress with Resilience “Stress is the How do you handle stress? Are you easily able to put things in perspective, or spice of life.” do the everyday stressors of life push you over the edge? - Hans Selye While most of us aren’t dealing with “fight or flight” events, it’s those everyday stressors, like making it to a meeting on time, or getting the kids to their activities that can increase our anxiety and decrease our quality of life. You can actually make stress work for you. The key is to learn from it and use Did you know? it as a motivation for change. That’s called resilience, the ability to adapt when things go wrong. Chronic stress can weaken our ability to There are several traits associated with resilience that can help us adapt to fight disease, but by stressors, and bounce back more easily from life’s hardships. increasing our intake of antioxidant-rich fruits Resilience Traits and vegetables, we can Acting with influence instead of helplessness in the face of boost our immune Decisiveness adversity. system. Acorn squash A commitment to life, and having the ability to interpret and carrots, for example, Sense of Purpose personal experiences at life’s most challenging moments. are great sources of the Values Important principles and beliefs. antioxidant beta- The ability to adapt and respond in different ways. Finding carotene. And citrus Flexibility new solutions to challenges at hand. fruits provide plenty of Attending to individual needs physically, mentally, vitamin C, another stress- Self-Care emotionally and spiritually. busting antioxidant. Maintaining a strong sense of humor when faced with Humor challenging circumstances. Taking responsibility for your own actions, and their Responsibility outcomes, for better or worse. Cultivating relationships and drawing on them for support Support when needed. Having a positive outlook. Focusing on the “cans” instead of Stress-Busting Smoothie Optimism the “cannots”. • 1 banana Luckily, resilience can be developed and strengthened over time. To discover • 1, 16-ounce bag frozen and strengthen your resilience traits, think about which traits you rely on during stressful situations and how you use them when approaching life’s challenges. berries • 2 cups vanilla soy milk Then, think about which traits you would like to strengthen and the types of situations where they could be employed. Review your progress by recognizing • ¼ cup wheat germ which traits you are strengthening, and where you might need more work. Blend until smooth. Fact is, we can’t get rid of stress, but we can control our reactions and behaviors associated with it. Source: National Wellness Institiute, Wellness Management. Winter 2003 – 2004, Vol 19, No. 4. Stress Resilient Nutrition Don’t forget to What are some of the foods you crave when you’re stressed out? It’s probably track your steps! not carrot and celery sticks. Most likely, you seek out foods like cookies, candy, ice cream, chips and pizza, and there’s a good reason why. When we are in a state of stress, our bodies need energy to help us respond. This energy comes from stored sugar and fat. When the stress subsides, our bodies need to replenish the energy that was used during the stress response, so we are left craving foods that are high in fat and sugar. “Stressed” is “Desserts” Spelled Backwards Since stress isn’t going away, the solution is to increase your stress-resilience, practice stress management techniques, and “de-stress” your eating so you Snacks to “De-stress” aren’t left craving candy bars and potato chips at day’s end. Follow these tips for stress-resilient nutrition: • ½ whole grain bagel topped with peanut Eat high quality, low stress carbohydrates and lean protein. Choose butter fruits, veggies and whole grains, (whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown • Yogurt mixed with wheat rice) and lean sources of protein in the way of fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat germ or granola dairy, and vegetarian options. Consume dense carbohydrates (pasta, bread, • Oatmeal mixed with soy potatoes, rice) in moderation, primarily during the day. Include in smaller milk, walnuts and dried quantities at dinner. fruit • Baby carrots dipped in Have a mid-morning snack. If you eat breakfast before 8am, eat a snack hummus or black bean including low fat protein such as string cheese, yogurt or cottage cheese, and a dip piece of fruit. • Sliced hard-boiled egg on Never skimp on lunch. This becomes the main meal of the day as we get a slice of whole wheat older, and will help prevent late-day overeating. bread Eat a mid-afternoon snack about 3 hours after lunch. This will diminish the potential stress-induced appetite around 3 – 4 pm. Again, include some protein along with fruit or some type of whole grain. Watch your timing. Eat at least 65% of your daily calories before 5 pm, not after. Try to eat dinner before 8 pm and leave at least 2 hours without eating Feed Your Spirit… before bed. The later we eat, the more mindless it becomes. In addition…Plan meals ahead of time to avoid mindless eating, avoid refined “You are where your sugars, consume foods high in fiber to give a sense of fullness, drink water thoughts have brought throughout the day, watch your alcohol intake, and plan a few treats during the you; you will be tomorrow week and take time to enjoy and savor them. where your thoughts take you.” - James Allen Coming Next Week: Fueling your body for the 10,000 Step Challenge.