Are you living and eating on autopilot?
We all know when those stress hormones get unleashed, all that we go for are the high-fat, sugary “comfort foods”. It is almost as if we are on an AUTO PILOT
It pushes people not only towards overeating … but overeating those comfort foods. ENTER MINDLESS EATING! Researchers have linked weight gain to stress, and according to a recent survey, about one-fourth of people living in developed countries rate their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale.
STRESS IS WHEN YOUR AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM IS OUT OF BALANCE
The autonomic nervous system regulates a variety of body process that takes place without conscious effort. It is responsible for regulating involuntary body functions, such as heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, and digestion.
The autonomic nervous system operates by receiving information from the environment and from other parts of the body. The sympathetic and parasympathetic systems tend to have opposing actions in which one system will stimulate a response where the other will inhibit it.
The Sympathetic system is viewed as a quickly responding system that mobilizes the body for action in times of STRESS, whereas the Parasympathetic system is believed to act much more slowly to dampen the STRESS responses.
A Balancing Act : Sympathetic and Parasympathetic
Our brains send cues to our bodies when we’re feeling stressed. That’s part of our fight-or-flight response that helps us deal with perceived threats in our environment. But when that STRESS response continues for long,our AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM gets out of balance with a Sympathetic overdrive.
This is due to a large amount of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone that is pushed into our blood stream when we are stressed. Cortisol can make you crave sugary, salty and fatty foods, because your brain thinks it needs fuel to fight whatever threat is causing the stress. This is what causes AUTOMATIC or MINDLESS EATING.
How do we overcome Mindless Eating?
By becoming MINDFUL
Below are my top three tools that allow us to bring our AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEMS back to balance and reduce the Sympathetic overdrive.
Countless studies show that meditation reduces stress, although much of the research has focused on high blood pressure and heart disease. Meditation may also help people become more mindful of food choices. With practice, a person may be able to pay better attention to the impulse to grab a fat- and sugar-loaded comfort food and inhibit the impulse.
While cortisol levels vary depending on the intensity and duration of exercise, overall exercise can blunt some of the negative effects of stress. Some activities, such as yoga and tai chi, have elements of both exercise and meditation.
Friends, family, and other sources of social support seem to have a buffering effect on the stress that people experience. For example, research suggests that people working in stressful situations, like hospital emergency departments, have better mental health if they have adequate social support. But even people who live and work in situations where the stakes aren’t as high need help from time to time from friends and family.
How to develop a practice of mindfulness
Yoga and Meditation are proven techniques to allow us to balance our Autonomic Nervous system, so we can move from being in AUTOPILOT to a balanced state of Autonomic.
If you would like to develop a practice of mindfulness in your daily life and bring balance in your AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM please consider joining me for a LIVE YOGA and MEDITATION class that I run on Sunday morning online.
7.30 am – 9.00 am