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Eating and Stress—
Listening to Your Body

Stress can be a big reason people do not eat right. Paying attention to your body’s hunger cues can be the best way to reduce overeating caused by stress. Many people today have eating, nutrition and weight problems.

For most people in our country, eating is no longer a way to just meet nutritional needs; it has become entertainment and a way to deal with stress. Many people eat because they are unhappy with some part of their life. Overeating causes a new problem—weight gain. Although some people may react to stress by undereating.

If stressed, listen to your body. Decide if the hunger pains are from need of food, or from stress. Real hunger pains include:

Stress eaters should look for other ways to relieve tension. Let off steam by having fun, and sharing your feelings with others.

Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress, build muscle tone, and reduce weight. It helps a person relax and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Be careful not to swap one vice for another. Instead of eating, someone stressed may be tempted to choose smoking or drinking. Understand what causes your stress and handle it in a positive way.

If weight gain becomes a problem, crash diets are not the solution. Remember to eat complete, healthy meals. Most people do best on small, frequent meals throughout the day. In our country, we have a tradition of eating three times a day whether we are hungry or not. This may not be a good thing. Eating regular meals is important, but allow yourself some flexibility in mealtime hours.

Eating should be enjoyable, but when the only reason for eating is for emotional support, it is time to listen to your body.

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