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Stress, Overeating, and Weight:
Understanding the Connection
December 15, 2015
Dawn Noe, RDN, CDE
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Example from Michele May, M.D
“Recipe” for Overeating
“Recipe” for Instinctive
Eating
Example from Michele May, M.D.
“Recipe” for Instinctive Eating
Example from Michele May, M.D
Stress and Overeating
Stress, stress related hormones, and the effects of
high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” can push people
toward overeating.
Researchers have linked weight gain to stress, and
according to an American Psychological Association
survey, about one-fourth of Americans rate their stress
level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale.
Focus on Stress – Don’t Ignore it!
- To change our stress and how we respond to it, we must
be aware of the stress and our reactions
- Take a minute to consider how (or if) you manage stress…
• Power through
• Stick your head in the sand
• Procrastinate (move on to something less stressful and
avoid the actual current problem?)
• Overwork, smoke, OVEREAT, drink alcohol to excess,
isolate yourself, or take out frustration on others?
- The above behaviors tend to make the stress worse.
- Do you pause and take a few deep breaths? If not, we’ll
practice this today.
What is Your Stress Response?
Does Stress Causes Changes in Your Routine?
• Food Choices: Eat stress foods for comfort
• Schedule: Change your meal schedule (skip meals,
mindless snacking, eat on the run?)
• Sleep: Have trouble sleeping.
- Lack of sleep can increase hunger and appetite.
• Physical Activity: Exercise less
SLEEP
Broussard et al. 2015. Elevated Ghrelin Predicts Food Intake During Experimental Sleep Restriction.
SLEEP
7-8 hours a night
Broussard et al. 2015. Elevated Ghrelin Predicts Food Intake During Experimental Sleep Restriction.
• Physical Stress
- Fatigue and sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity,
illness, pain, and others.
• Emotional Stress and Depression
- Boredom, loneliness, anger, frustration, happiness, depression, etc.
- Emotions provide information and it is important to practice noticing what
you’re feeling without judging it.
• Stressful Thinking
- How you think about stress and how you react to it can actually increase
the stress.
- Stress can be a result from your perception and interpretation of life’s
events.
Explore Your Stresses
Stressful Thinking
Example:
Speaking in public is a great example of how each of us
thinks and responds to stress differently. For one person,
public speaking could cause a pounding heart, dry throat,
and an increase in stress. To another person, it is an
exciting opportunity to share information with others.
Stress Response:
Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less, and
drink more alcohol, all of which can contribute to
excess weight.
Stressful Thinking
• Thoughts that can increase stress include:
- “I feel like everything is out of control!”
- “I have to get this perfect.”
- “I can do it all, have it all, and be it all!”
• A more realistic thought response to stress:
“I’m feeling overwhelmed and tense. I can’t do everything on my to do list, but no one
could. I’m doing my best.”
Reacting to stress in a realistic manner is like imagining yourself at the center of the
tornado. You are centered while everything whirls around you.
Accept the Stress So You CAN Manage It!
• The demands in life for our time and energy can lead to:
- Unrealistic expectations
- A sense of urgency
- More stress
- Stressful thinking
• When you accept the stresses you can’t control you can choose how
you react to the stresses you CAN control
• Everyone has stresses, strengths and limitations
- At times, we’ll need to use self-compassion about what we do well.
- We may need to ask for help and that’s okay.
- Saying no to someone else is saying yes to yourself.
- As with all behavior changes, setting boundaries and expectations (with
ourselves and with others) takes practice and gets easier over time.
Stress in the Short Term:
• Hypothalamus
- Produces a hormone called
corticotropin-releasing hormone,
which suppresses appetite
• Brain
- Signals the adrenal glands to
increase the hormone epinephrine
also called “adrenaline”
- When you are in this “fight-or-flight”
stage - eating is put on hold until
the stress goes away
If stress persists: adrenal gland releases a hormone called cortisol which actually
increases the appetite
Once stressful episode is over cortisol will drop unless stress persists it can leave the
cortisol levels stuck on “on” and stay elevated
Stress in the Long Term:
http://fitness.makeupandbeauty.com/stress-hormone-cortisol-and-weight-gain/
o Physical or emotional distress has
been shown in animal studies to
increases the intake of food high in
fat, sugar, or both
o High fat and sugar-filled foods
may reduce the stress affect in parts
of the brain that produce and
process stress and related emotions
o Treating the stress with food may
“turns off” the stress response.
o THIS MAY INCREASE OUR STRESS -
INDUCED FOOD CRAVINGS!
o High cortisol levels, in combination
with high insulin levels, may be
responsible vs ghrelin, a “hunger
hormone,” may have a role
Research Findings
• Harvard researchers have found that:
- Stress is associated with weight gain, but only in people who were overweight at
the beginning of the study period
- One theory is that overweight people have elevated insulin levels, and stress-
related weight gain is more likely to occur in the presence of high insulin levels
• In 2007, British researchers found that:
- People with high cortisol levels were more likely to snack in response to daily
hassles compared to low-cortisol responders
- How much cortisol people produce in response to stress may be a factor
• Some research suggests a gender difference in stress-coping behaviors
- Women more likely to turn to food
- Men more likely to turn to alcohol or smoking
Food Behaviors and Stress
• Do you know which foods you tend to eat due to stress?
• Do you know how much you eat? (Is it a portioned amount or until the
bag or container is empty)
• Tips for changing stress-related eating behaviors:
- Try replacing comfort foods (think: potato chips or ice cream) with these
nutritious snacks:
• Nuts
• small amount of fruit
• Crunchy veggies and dip
• Soup broth
• If you crave carbs, try complex carbs like air-popped popcorn or whole
grain English muffin
- Portion out the food instead of eating from containers – OR purchase pre-
portioned foods (ex. 100 calorie snack packs of nuts)
- Keep tempting comfort foods out of the house
- Even better, try using non-food related stress reducing activities instead
Stress Management and Weight Loss
• National Weight Control Registry
- Tracks over 5000 participants
• Lost 30 pounds and kept it off for at least 1 year
• Most exercised by WALKING for 1 hour per day =
8,000-18,000 steps depending on the intensity (light
walk to running)
• Most of these people use a stress management
technique
Non-Food Ways to Manage Stress
• Meditation
- Reduces Stress
- May help people become more mindful of food choices.
- There’s an app for that!
• Cleveland Clinic Stress Meditations (iPhone)
• Relax Melodies, Headspace, Take a Break! (both Android and iPhone)
• Exercise
- Low-intensity exercise seems to reduce cortisol levels
- Some physical activities, such as yoga and tai chi, have elements of both exercise and meditation.
- Increases your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
- Can improve your mood and increase self-confidence
- Improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress.
iPhone iPhone and Android devices
Meditation Apps
Non-Food Ways to Manage Stress
• Social Support
- Friends and family seem to have a buffering effect on the stress
that people experience.
• Forgive Others
- Holding grudges leads to psychological stress and higher heart rates
• Therapy or Counseling
- Helpful for reshaping our thoughts about daily stresses
- Managing depression/emotions
- Experts in behavior change
Thoughts
Create
Feelings
Behaviors
Reinforce
Thoughts
Feelings
Create
Behaviors
Stress Busters
Great Ways to Manage Stress
Positive Self Talk
• I will do the best I can.
• I don’t have 45 minutes for the gym, but I can go for 20 minutes. I’ll
burn more calories than if I didn’t go at all and I’ll feel better too.
• I haven’t lost as much weight as I had wanted, but I have lost some
and have been able to decrease how much medication I need.
Emergency Stress Stoppers
• Take 5 Deep Breaths
• Walk
• Say "I'm sorry" if you make a mistake.
• Break down big problems into smaller parts. Make one phone call or
email, etc.
Holiday Stress Busters
• Play it Steady – stick to your current exercise,
medication, and food schedule
• Designate elves – you can’t do it all!
• Go solo – consider staying in a hotel while
visiting family if you think you’ll need a break
• Treat yourself – to a massage, a nap, or music,
time with friends
• Keep the peace – meditation and relaxation
• Journal to help you stay on track – Exercise
and keep track of your food
Diabetic Living Winter 2015
Great Ways to Manage Stress
Stress Busters
Take 15 Minutes Every Day for Something You Enjoy
• Read a book or magazine
• Start an art project (paint/draw, create a scrap book, sew, knit, or
crochet)
• Spend time with friends or children
• Journal
• Do something for someone else – it’ll make you feel good!
• Listen to music
• Take a nature walk — listen to the birds, identify trees and
flowers.
• Make a list of everything you still want to do in life.
Great Ways to Manage Stress
Stress Busters
Learn How To Relax and Practice Often
Let’s Do Some Deep Breathing Today!
1. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in
your lap or lie down. Close your eyes.
2. Picture yourself in a peaceful place. Perhaps you're lying on the beach,
walking in the mountains or floating in the clouds. Hold this scene in your
mind.
3. Inhale and exhale. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply.
4. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.
Great Ways to Manage Stress
Questions?
Sources
• Adams CE, et al. “Lifestyle Factors and Ghrelin: Critical Review and
Implications for Weight Loss Maintenance,” Obesity Review (May
2011): Vol. 12, No. 5, electronic publication.
• Manzoni GM, et al. “Can Relaxation Training Reduce Emotional Eating
in Women with Obesity?” Journal of the American Dietetic
Association (Aug. 2009): Vol. 109, No. 8, pp. 1427–32.
• Mathes WF, et al. “The Biology of Binge Eating,” Appetite (June 2009):
Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 545–53.
• Spencer SJ, et al. “The Glucocorticoid Contribution to Obesity,”
Stress (Feb. 6, 2011): Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 233–46.
• Vicennati V, et al. “Stress-Related Development of Obesity and
Cortisol in Women,” Obesity (Sept. 2009): Vol. 17, No. 9, pp. 1678–83.
• http://amihungry.com/stress-management-101/
• http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-stress-causes-
people-to-overeat
Stress, Overeating, and Weight: Understanding The Connection

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Stress, Overeating, and Weight: Understanding The Connection

  • 1. Stress, Overeating, and Weight: Understanding the Connection December 15, 2015 Dawn Noe, RDN, CDE
  • 2. IF THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL EMERGENCY PERSONNEL (911) TO GET PROMPT MEDICAL ATTENTION. Please note that we cannot provide treatment recommendations or diagnose your condition. Live Chats are not intended to replace the medical advice, treatment or diagnosis of your physician or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Live Chats must be considered at all times as an educational, convenience service only and shall not be relied upon nor designed to replace or substitute a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. Cleveland Clinic is not responsible for the content of this Live Chat and does not guarantee the availability or ability to use Live Chats. Cleveland Clinic does not endorse, guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of Live Chats. By voluntarily participating in this Live Chat group setting, you are agreeing to permit Cleveland Clinic Live Chats to share any health information you disclose during the Live Chats with others who are also participating in the Live Chat group settingre also participating in the Live Chat group setting.”
  • 3. Example from Michele May, M.D “Recipe” for Overeating
  • 4. “Recipe” for Instinctive Eating Example from Michele May, M.D. “Recipe” for Instinctive Eating Example from Michele May, M.D
  • 5. Stress and Overeating Stress, stress related hormones, and the effects of high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” can push people toward overeating. Researchers have linked weight gain to stress, and according to an American Psychological Association survey, about one-fourth of Americans rate their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale.
  • 6. Focus on Stress – Don’t Ignore it! - To change our stress and how we respond to it, we must be aware of the stress and our reactions - Take a minute to consider how (or if) you manage stress… • Power through • Stick your head in the sand • Procrastinate (move on to something less stressful and avoid the actual current problem?) • Overwork, smoke, OVEREAT, drink alcohol to excess, isolate yourself, or take out frustration on others? - The above behaviors tend to make the stress worse. - Do you pause and take a few deep breaths? If not, we’ll practice this today.
  • 7. What is Your Stress Response? Does Stress Causes Changes in Your Routine? • Food Choices: Eat stress foods for comfort • Schedule: Change your meal schedule (skip meals, mindless snacking, eat on the run?) • Sleep: Have trouble sleeping. - Lack of sleep can increase hunger and appetite. • Physical Activity: Exercise less
  • 8. SLEEP Broussard et al. 2015. Elevated Ghrelin Predicts Food Intake During Experimental Sleep Restriction.
  • 9. SLEEP 7-8 hours a night Broussard et al. 2015. Elevated Ghrelin Predicts Food Intake During Experimental Sleep Restriction.
  • 10. • Physical Stress - Fatigue and sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, illness, pain, and others. • Emotional Stress and Depression - Boredom, loneliness, anger, frustration, happiness, depression, etc. - Emotions provide information and it is important to practice noticing what you’re feeling without judging it. • Stressful Thinking - How you think about stress and how you react to it can actually increase the stress. - Stress can be a result from your perception and interpretation of life’s events. Explore Your Stresses
  • 11. Stressful Thinking Example: Speaking in public is a great example of how each of us thinks and responds to stress differently. For one person, public speaking could cause a pounding heart, dry throat, and an increase in stress. To another person, it is an exciting opportunity to share information with others.
  • 12. Stress Response: Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less, and drink more alcohol, all of which can contribute to excess weight.
  • 13. Stressful Thinking • Thoughts that can increase stress include: - “I feel like everything is out of control!” - “I have to get this perfect.” - “I can do it all, have it all, and be it all!” • A more realistic thought response to stress: “I’m feeling overwhelmed and tense. I can’t do everything on my to do list, but no one could. I’m doing my best.” Reacting to stress in a realistic manner is like imagining yourself at the center of the tornado. You are centered while everything whirls around you.
  • 14. Accept the Stress So You CAN Manage It! • The demands in life for our time and energy can lead to: - Unrealistic expectations - A sense of urgency - More stress - Stressful thinking • When you accept the stresses you can’t control you can choose how you react to the stresses you CAN control • Everyone has stresses, strengths and limitations - At times, we’ll need to use self-compassion about what we do well. - We may need to ask for help and that’s okay. - Saying no to someone else is saying yes to yourself. - As with all behavior changes, setting boundaries and expectations (with ourselves and with others) takes practice and gets easier over time.
  • 15. Stress in the Short Term: • Hypothalamus - Produces a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone, which suppresses appetite • Brain - Signals the adrenal glands to increase the hormone epinephrine also called “adrenaline” - When you are in this “fight-or-flight” stage - eating is put on hold until the stress goes away If stress persists: adrenal gland releases a hormone called cortisol which actually increases the appetite Once stressful episode is over cortisol will drop unless stress persists it can leave the cortisol levels stuck on “on” and stay elevated
  • 16. Stress in the Long Term: http://fitness.makeupandbeauty.com/stress-hormone-cortisol-and-weight-gain/ o Physical or emotional distress has been shown in animal studies to increases the intake of food high in fat, sugar, or both o High fat and sugar-filled foods may reduce the stress affect in parts of the brain that produce and process stress and related emotions o Treating the stress with food may “turns off” the stress response. o THIS MAY INCREASE OUR STRESS - INDUCED FOOD CRAVINGS! o High cortisol levels, in combination with high insulin levels, may be responsible vs ghrelin, a “hunger hormone,” may have a role
  • 17. Research Findings • Harvard researchers have found that: - Stress is associated with weight gain, but only in people who were overweight at the beginning of the study period - One theory is that overweight people have elevated insulin levels, and stress- related weight gain is more likely to occur in the presence of high insulin levels • In 2007, British researchers found that: - People with high cortisol levels were more likely to snack in response to daily hassles compared to low-cortisol responders - How much cortisol people produce in response to stress may be a factor • Some research suggests a gender difference in stress-coping behaviors - Women more likely to turn to food - Men more likely to turn to alcohol or smoking
  • 18. Food Behaviors and Stress • Do you know which foods you tend to eat due to stress? • Do you know how much you eat? (Is it a portioned amount or until the bag or container is empty) • Tips for changing stress-related eating behaviors: - Try replacing comfort foods (think: potato chips or ice cream) with these nutritious snacks: • Nuts • small amount of fruit • Crunchy veggies and dip • Soup broth • If you crave carbs, try complex carbs like air-popped popcorn or whole grain English muffin - Portion out the food instead of eating from containers – OR purchase pre- portioned foods (ex. 100 calorie snack packs of nuts) - Keep tempting comfort foods out of the house - Even better, try using non-food related stress reducing activities instead
  • 19. Stress Management and Weight Loss • National Weight Control Registry - Tracks over 5000 participants • Lost 30 pounds and kept it off for at least 1 year • Most exercised by WALKING for 1 hour per day = 8,000-18,000 steps depending on the intensity (light walk to running) • Most of these people use a stress management technique
  • 20. Non-Food Ways to Manage Stress • Meditation - Reduces Stress - May help people become more mindful of food choices. - There’s an app for that! • Cleveland Clinic Stress Meditations (iPhone) • Relax Melodies, Headspace, Take a Break! (both Android and iPhone) • Exercise - Low-intensity exercise seems to reduce cortisol levels - Some physical activities, such as yoga and tai chi, have elements of both exercise and meditation. - Increases your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. - Can improve your mood and increase self-confidence - Improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress.
  • 21. iPhone iPhone and Android devices Meditation Apps
  • 22. Non-Food Ways to Manage Stress • Social Support - Friends and family seem to have a buffering effect on the stress that people experience. • Forgive Others - Holding grudges leads to psychological stress and higher heart rates • Therapy or Counseling - Helpful for reshaping our thoughts about daily stresses - Managing depression/emotions - Experts in behavior change Thoughts Create Feelings Behaviors Reinforce Thoughts Feelings Create Behaviors
  • 23. Stress Busters Great Ways to Manage Stress Positive Self Talk • I will do the best I can. • I don’t have 45 minutes for the gym, but I can go for 20 minutes. I’ll burn more calories than if I didn’t go at all and I’ll feel better too. • I haven’t lost as much weight as I had wanted, but I have lost some and have been able to decrease how much medication I need. Emergency Stress Stoppers • Take 5 Deep Breaths • Walk • Say "I'm sorry" if you make a mistake. • Break down big problems into smaller parts. Make one phone call or email, etc.
  • 24. Holiday Stress Busters • Play it Steady – stick to your current exercise, medication, and food schedule • Designate elves – you can’t do it all! • Go solo – consider staying in a hotel while visiting family if you think you’ll need a break • Treat yourself – to a massage, a nap, or music, time with friends • Keep the peace – meditation and relaxation • Journal to help you stay on track – Exercise and keep track of your food Diabetic Living Winter 2015 Great Ways to Manage Stress
  • 25. Stress Busters Take 15 Minutes Every Day for Something You Enjoy • Read a book or magazine • Start an art project (paint/draw, create a scrap book, sew, knit, or crochet) • Spend time with friends or children • Journal • Do something for someone else – it’ll make you feel good! • Listen to music • Take a nature walk — listen to the birds, identify trees and flowers. • Make a list of everything you still want to do in life. Great Ways to Manage Stress
  • 26. Stress Busters Learn How To Relax and Practice Often Let’s Do Some Deep Breathing Today! 1. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap or lie down. Close your eyes. 2. Picture yourself in a peaceful place. Perhaps you're lying on the beach, walking in the mountains or floating in the clouds. Hold this scene in your mind. 3. Inhale and exhale. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply. 4. Repeat for 5-10 minutes. Great Ways to Manage Stress
  • 28. Sources • Adams CE, et al. “Lifestyle Factors and Ghrelin: Critical Review and Implications for Weight Loss Maintenance,” Obesity Review (May 2011): Vol. 12, No. 5, electronic publication. • Manzoni GM, et al. “Can Relaxation Training Reduce Emotional Eating in Women with Obesity?” Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Aug. 2009): Vol. 109, No. 8, pp. 1427–32. • Mathes WF, et al. “The Biology of Binge Eating,” Appetite (June 2009): Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 545–53. • Spencer SJ, et al. “The Glucocorticoid Contribution to Obesity,” Stress (Feb. 6, 2011): Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 233–46. • Vicennati V, et al. “Stress-Related Development of Obesity and Cortisol in Women,” Obesity (Sept. 2009): Vol. 17, No. 9, pp. 1678–83. • http://amihungry.com/stress-management-101/ • http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-stress-causes- people-to-overeat