Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday - Deep Cleansing Breaths

You know the feeling. Your heart starts racing, your palms get sweaty, and your brain has a "what? I don't even!" moment. You're stressed out. And it's okay.

I'm in the middle of a more-stressful-than-usual time but the end is in sight. I'm feeling "whelmed" at work, not overwhelmed, but getting there. There are times when this translates to moments where I just want to eat a cupcake...or three.

Mmmmmmm, or twenty! Thanks Mom :)

Why do you crave sugary or fatty foods when you're stressed? Because eating them releases seratonin which boosts your mood, read more here.

So what's the issue with a little seratonin boost now and again? When you're giving into a craving, you tend to overeat the treat. That brings with it feelings of fullness (I ate too much), bloating and water retention, and most of all... guilt.

Guilt is a sticky subject. I would love it if you and I could eat all the cookies we wanted without feeling guilty, but the truth is that we would. Getting through life while enjoying treats is a balance that I'm still trying to figure out.

Something that does help me, especially when I'm bogged down and ready to eat an entire pizza while at work is to sit at my desk, stare out the window or at the orchid on my desk, and breathe. I breathe deliberately and deeply.


Four counts in and eight counts out. It helps to slow my heart rate and reduce the mental panic I'm currently wishing I could drown with chocolate frosting. Because while pizza or cupcakes would be immensely satisfying in the next 5 or so minutes, the guilt that I would feel afterwards would be even worse.

Once I've calmed down and realize that my intense craving is nothing more than your brain saying "HEY YOU, if we eat some carbs and fat right now, I'll get a shot of some happy chemicals! Remember last year on your birthday? Those cupcakes would totally do the trick. SO, CUPCAKES?!?!?!?" You can read more about craving from this awesome WebMD article here.

The trick, I think, is to realize that your brain doesn't know what is best for it in this case. If you're at work and you need to concentrate on the huge project you've just been handed, triggering feelings of stress and the want (the NEED) for a huge bowl of frozen yogurt... would you perform better if you had the froyo and then felt guilty and sluggish from devouring a giant bowl of oreo-laden chocolately confection? OR would you do better if you ate a cup of lowfat greek yogurt with some fresh fruit on top?

Greek yogurt and a banana is a great snack to have at work and SO EASY!

I'd be willing to bet the yogurt and berries would do you better.

SO, when you're hit with a craving; calm down with some deep cleansing breaths, drink some water (most of the time you're thirsty when you're hit with a sudden and intense food craving), and then find yourself a healthy snack to eat.

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