The Unspoken Issue: Part 2
So if binges are a way that the body copes with stress and negative emotions, how do we stop it? Well, we can find ways to release feel good chemicals (endorphins) via means other than through eating sugary and fatty foods.
Here are some practical and easy ways to release endorphins in your brain. Soon you will be on your way to feeling good and will suffer no energy crash and emotional roller coaster like from binges.
Yup, there is no way around it. Exercise is one of the fastest ways to turn a sour mood around. As little as 10-15 mins. of light activity (e.g., walking) can release endorphins and increase your happiness.
When I was trying to break the habit of over-eating binges, I would lace up my sneakers and head outside for a walk. Even if it was freezing cold outside and the middle of winter, I would bundle up and head outside. A brisk walk around the block (sometimes only 5-10 mins) would be enough to snap me out of the mindset I was in prior.
Also, consistent and regular planned exercise does wonders for the body as we all know. For the past several years, I have started my day on the right foot by exercising first thing in the morning. Research shows that you will be less likely to overeat later in the day if you remember how hard you worked out earlier in the day.
Just be sure not to overdo it with the exercise. If you are working out too much you are actually doing yourself a disservice. When your body believes that it is in danger (e.g., becoming exhausted from too much exercise and not enough energy intake) it will fight back. Over exercising will often result in binges as your body panics and trys to get a large amount of calories to fill its’ reserves.
I know, I know it’s winter. Trust me, I know. Sunlight does cause endorphins to release in our brains. Neat, eh? Even though it is cold out there, on days that it is sunny out, try to get outside even for just 5-10 mins. Go outside on your lunch break and use it as a reason to go to the bank or pick up a few groceries.
Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter time and this can cause binges. Try to get as much light during the day as possible. You may also want to see your doctor if you think you are suffering from SAD.
3) Listen to Music
Music releases endorphins too! Pretty cool, right? Whether it is fast & upbeat music or soothing and slow, play whatever tickles your fancy. Just 30 minutes of listening to music can leave you feeling calm and happy. Next time you feel a binge coming on, play 30 minutes of your favourite tunes. After 30 mins. see if you still have a desire to overeat.
4) Reach out to others
Whether it is in person, on the phone, or over the WWW, reaching out to others will boost your mood. Email me- seriously! [email protected] Even if you don’t feel like talking about your problem, sometimes just connecting with others (e.g., Wii anyone?) can release some feel good chemicals in your brain and lift you up. If your stressors are fairly pervasive I highly recommend seeing a psychologist or counsellor to talk to. Through a stressful period in my undergraduate career, I saw a counsellor and it was a wonderful weekly release of pent up feelings and emotions.
5) Laugh & Play
Do your days seem to be more work than play? Eventually something needs to give! Make sure you schedule in plenty of ‘you’ time into your day. Yes, exercise can count as ‘you’ time, but also make sure that you have some actual down time too, to read, play your favourite games, or just watch a favourite TV show. Doing things that you enjoy will release endorphins and make you feel balanced after a long work or school day. I absolutely love Thursday night- when The Office comes on- because I know that I will be provided with a half hour of laughing and downtime. I just had it in fact! ;)
6) Play with your Pets
Animals are a huge stress release! This is why you will often find dogs in children’s hospitals or Senior’s complexes. Simply petting an animal will reduce the stress hormone cortisol that is being released into our body.
Stay tuned to The Unspoken Issue: Part 3 on breaking the habit!
See you tomorrow morning with the picture behind the Oh She Glows homepage! :) You may be a bit surprised to see this!
You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.