2012-08-01 / Health

Don’t let stress and emotional eating combine to weigh you down

By Dr. Ira Shapiro

You’re probably tired of hearing the same old bad news. But, here it is again. More than two-thirds of all adults in the United States are overweight and nearly 100 million American adults and children are obese by today’s standards.

In addition, the simple fact is you probably spend more time thinking about getting into shape and lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and hypertension among other ailments than actually doing something about it. Unfortunately for many of us, the best intentions are often sabotaged by the harshness of reality.

How many times have you joined a gym or weight loss program only to continually stop and start due to an overabundance of commitments and general lack of time? As a society, we need to get over the excuses.The truth is spare time does not come to many of us freely in today’s hectic world, but rather it is something we need to set aside on a daily basis.

In addition, if you’re waiting for the schedule to slow down before beginning that next diet or work out effort, you’ll likely be stuck in the same spot, or even worse, for years to come. Some of us like to eat simply because we just like food. Others manufacture reasons each day to consume high-calorie, sweet treats that we know deep down should be avoided.

According to recent findings at information sites like WebMD, up to 75 percent of overeating is driven by emotion. Stress in particular is the largest culprit. When sad, disappointed, irritable, anxious or feeling the painful affects of some sort of ailment, millions of people tend to self-medicate with ice cream, chips, cookies, chocolate or just about any other form of fattening goody.The problem is that the relief is both shortterm and counterproductive. It does nothing to relieve the actual cause of stress, while only adding hopelessness and despair to the guilt that accompanies the lack of self-discipline.

Whatever the motivation and/or obstacles, wellness must become part of our daily lives.The designs for healthy living will not take hold unless they are pursued and practiced. It’s all related. Individuals with healthier diets have more energy. Less fatigue leads to more interaction and activity.Active people are more likely to eat less. Better diets lead to enhanced well being.This is the positive cycle that can begin with some small changes in attitude. Plus, these modifications are not beyond most people, no matter their age and physical condition. As with the breaking of any bad habit, emotional eating takes inspiration, time, practice and the proper guidance. In addition to relieving the painful affects of injuries and other maladies, today’s chiropractic care is dedicated to helping individuals achieve a better state of wellness that includes the enhanced ability to handle stress, relax and overcome physical weaknesses.

Here are some general tips for heading toward a better life not filled with the urgent, consuming need to eat heavy, fat-filled foods when the going gets tough: • Think positively. Identify solutions. Don’t let life’s negatives totally overwhelm your well-being.

• Find a soothing replacement for food — a cup of tea, massages, music, meditation, a long walk, exercise. Experiment to find the healthy alternative that works best for you.

• When in doubt always seek the advice of a certified professional, who can help you formulate a thorough, safe and realistic wellness routine that represents your goals, age, gender and level of fitness. Dr. Ira Shapiro has been director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center in Old Bridge since 1984. He is a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic medical staff and the winner of numerous professional awards and distinctions. In 2006, he was named the Sports Doctor of the Year by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) Council on Sports Injuries & Physical Fitness and received a Special Service Award from the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC). For more information, call 732-723-0023 or visit www.plazachiro.com.

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