Tuesday, February 15, 2011

beat stress

Stress eating is an emotional response that over time becomes automatic, says Anne Wolf, RD, a registered dietitian and researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. "Every time we engage in a behavior, the more we do it, the more it becomes a pattern, then it becomes a habit," says Wolf. "To tackle that habit you're going to have to learn a new habit.”

So the next time stress threatens to send you to the kitchen or nearest vending machine, fight the urge. "First feel the sensation of stress. Stop, sit down, do some deep breathing, feel it, then just see what happens," says Wolf.

It's important to stop and think about that: Are you actually hungry, or just craving food in response to stress? "What typically will happen is that the feeling will dissipate and then you realize you can let go and you don't feel that hunger any more," says Wolf. This is the pattern you have to follow and repeat until it becomes the new habit.

Stress Eating: Finding Food Alternatives

Managing your stress in healthier ways can also help keep you from responding to it by eating. Try these ideas:

Exercise. Regular exercise can help prevent stress, and exercising when you are stressed can help manage the emotion and burn calories, not pack them in. Instead of running to the kitchen, lace up your shoes and head for a run, or walk, outside.
Give yourself a break. Whatever you're doing that's causing you stress, just step away from it for a while. If you're thinking about a situation that's creating anxiety, distract yourself with a more pleasant topic.
Think positive. Come up with a plan to resolve the situation that's bothering you. Nothing beats stress more than solving the problem that's causing it.
Relax. Meditate, visualize a peaceful place, or listen to some music to calm yourself down.
Do something fun. Take an impromptu shopping trip, play a game of golf or tennis, call a friend, or watch a movie that you enjoy.
It may take some time, but you can retrain yourself to eat when you're hungry, not stressed. Learning to tell the difference between the two is your first step. Then, find another outlet instead of using food to satisfy your emotional hunger.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Boost Your Energy

Are You Getting Enough Sleep and Exercise?

Most people need about eight hours of shut-eye each night, and not getting enough sleep can certainly cause fatigue. In addition, a lack of sleep has also been linked to longevity-shortening diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sleep aids can interfere with sleep by causing "rebound insomnia." That means that, after taking them for a while, you have trouble falling asleep without them. Over-the-counter sleep aids can leave you feeling tired even after you wake up. You should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco if you are having trouble sleeping.

Regular exercise fights fatigue and promotes longevity. Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy from exercising 30 minutes a day for at least four days a week:

Increased energy
Reduced stress
Reduced risk of premature death
Improved mental health
Reduced risk of heart disease
3 Easy Energy Boosters

Choosing healthy habits over unhealthy ones can help you decrease fatigue and better enjoy your life. Try some of these energy boosters:

Manage stress. Stress is a normal reaction to events that happen in everyone's life, but stress that goes on too long and is not managed properly is bad for your health. Some of the more common signs of stress include fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and a loss or gain in weight. Some healthy habits that help many people manage stress include meditation, yoga, exercise, and social activities.
Get rid of high-sugar foods that overload your digestive system. You can do this by eliminating sugary foods like cookies, candies, and soft drinks. You can also substitute carbohydrates that cause a sugar rush with those that are absorbed more slowly. That means fewer potatoes, white rice, and white bread, and more whole grains, fruits, nuts, and green vegetables.
Schedule regular doctor visits. See your doctor for preventive health check-ups and don't ignore symptoms of fatigue that could be caused by a treatable or preventable disease.
Fatigue could be a warning of something that is making you sick or unhealthy — and ultimately affecting your longevity. In most cases, you can fight fatigue with a healthy diet, regular exercise, a good night's sleep, and stress reduction. But if these energy boosters don't help, talk to your doctor.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tending your self

Excerpt from I Timothy 4: 10 - 20

"Tend to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

Out in my neck of the woods, we've enjoyed a completely unexpected playoff run by our heretofore hapless football team, the Seattle Seahawks. I've been interested in listening to new Seahawk coach, Pete Carroll.

When asked by media about the week’s upcoming opponent, Carroll typically says something like, "It's not about them, it's about us. It's about us playing our game. We have to stay focused on our own work. We just need to play the way we’re capable of playing and the rest will take care of itself. Our focus is really ourselves."

When Paul wrote to the young pastor, Timothy, he urged something similar. "Tend to yourself," Paul advised, "and to your teaching." Paul was definitely not urging that Timothy coddle himself or be self-absorbed. He was saying, "Mind your calling and work, do those faithfully and well. That's the first order of business."

In some ways, it’s odd advice, whether for a football team or for Christians and church leaders. We want to pay attention to others, whether to an opposing team or the many needs of other people. We imagine that being Christian means being concerned only about others and their needs. And at other times we pay far too much attention to how or what other people are doing, to their advancement or income, especially when they appear to us to be doing better than we are!

More important, as Paul tells Timothy, is to focus on your own particular work, your own particular calling. "Tend to yourself," be responsible for yourself and the service to which God has called you. Pastors, tend to your work as leaders and teachers of the faith. Do your own work and leave the rest to God.


When I become scattered, preoccupied with others, call me back, dear Lord, to your calling for me, your purpose for me. Help me to "tend to myself" in the right way. Amen.