Being healthy isn’t about how much you weigh. Being healthy is about eating foods that are good for us, as well as being active and happy. It isn’t all about your BMI (Body Mass Index), a number that so many people, including health professionals are known to obsess about.
Stress and emotional eating
Our ability to deal with stress can really have a big effect on our eating habits. Studies show that stress is linked to emotional eating. For some, both emotional eating and under-eating are signs of too much stress in our lives which can cause damage if it’s ongoing, so we need to find a way to keep it under control. Physical exercise is an incredible help in combating stress. Exercise can raise endorphin levels, produce more serotonin and gives us a general sense of well being, even though you might not feel like exercising at the start.
Any exercise will do
Exercise doesn’t mean that you need to start training to run a marathon, or invest in expensive equipment. It can also be low impact on your joints, so swimming is particularly good for this. Yoga is exceptionally relaxing and helps the mind move focus away from the stresses and strains of life. Pilates is surprisingly gentle, but very good for posture and balance and will help strengthen the body.
Walking, the simplest of all exercise merely involves putting your shoes on and going outside. You may not be walking the mythical 10,000 steps everyday, but let’s be realistic, very few people have the time, even if the intention is there. However, a 30 minute stroll has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease, while toning up your legs and bum. Walking outside will boost your vitamin D intake and give you energy. Most importantly, studies have shown that people who walk regularly are less likely to suffer from dementia when they are older. This is certainly an aspect of health that can’t be measured by BMI.
Mindfulness for busy lives
Mindfulness is focusing the mind on the present moment. It is an excellent way to mentally block out external stress. Using a mindfulness app is a good way to spend five or ten minutes when you have a break from work. Focusing on your breathing and learning to calm your emotions can really help you to deal with stress. If you learn to deal with stress and you can conquer emotional eating.
It is so easy to connect the idea of your health with your weight, and this just shouldn’t be the case. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. Focus on making little changes and the bigger picture will come soon enough. This could be taking 10 minutes a day to focus on mindfulness, or putting on your trainers and having a walk at lunchtime. Using these simple achievable ways to help you deal with stress will soon have you on the path to a happier and healthier you.
This contribution post was written exclusively for this blog by freelance writer, Jane Sandwood.