Since the cold weather has been here for a while and most of us have a little cabin fever we sometimes resort to eating comfort food which may not be the healthiest choice. The cold winter months can be a time when we have fewer opportunities to get outside and exercise and it is easy to stray from our normally healthy diet.
On a frequent basis information is posted on a bulletin board at our health club in an effort to educate our members on healthy choices. The following information was written by Brendan Willyard, our fitness manager and personal trainer:
One of the biggest factors contributing to weight gain is emotional eating. Basically this means eating when you are bored, lonely, sad, stressed, or any time other then when you are hungry. This can result in extra calories and weight gain, or it can develop into disorders such as anorexia, depression and many others. Occasionally people use eating as a stress reliever. This can cause weight gain that often leads to more stress and more eating. There are two important steps to break this cycle.
The first step is to start a food journal to see exactly how much you are eating and what your emotional state is when eating. It’s hard to know what to fix until you know what is causing you to overeat and how much you are actually eating.
Next, you know how much you are eating, remove all junk food from the house and replace it with healthy choices such as fruits and vegetables, and low calorie snack foods that won’t contribute to weight gain. Exercise will help regulate your hunger and improve your mood and self image which may help decrease the need for emotional eating.
Throughout this whole process you must change the way you look at food. It can no longer be a source of comfort, but a way of keeping you alive. To be successful you have to learn what hunger is and only eat when you feel hungry, and when you do eat it must be healthy foods that fulfill your physical needs and not emotional ones.
The weather is warming up so plan to get outside and soak up some much needed sunshine and go for a walk. You will be glad you did.
Judy Schmoeger, a longtime resident of Lee’s Summit, is owner and general manager of Anytime Fitness.