Holidays are just around the corner. With so many stressors in life today, this is the time to take some time for yourself….and find out what truly relaxes you. Whether you find it relaxing to read, write, garden or do yoga, the key to a healthy mind and body is alleviating the stress that can so easily cause both physical and mental breakdown. The Mayo Clinic reports that practicing regular relaxation techniques can improve how you physically respond to stress by slowing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure, slowing your breathing rate, increasing blood flow to major muscles and reducing muscle tension. Plus, adequate relaxation will alleviate emotional responses from anger and frustration. In my work, I have seen how relaxation can thwart overeating. Stress is a major factor in overeating and it’s certainly a big cause in today’s society. So find your own quiet corner, where you can recharge your batteries and smell the flowers along the way!
- Start a daily relaxation ritual. Have a “YOU-dulgence” once a day to relieve stress. For example, your daily ritual could be visualizing you in your favorite vacation spot or enjoying a walk with your pet or listening to your favorite music with your eyes closed. The best part is no one else has to know — there’s no planning, organizing or texting involved…..it’s about me-time, and that’s it.
- Do not use food as a relaxation tool. In his new book, The end of overeating, David Kessler, MD, highlights the fact that high-sugar, high-fat foods have been found to “relieve pain or stress and calm us down” – however the danger lies in the desire to want MORE. When we eat foods that are “hyperpalatable” - aka yummy – it strikes a part of the brain that desires that taste over and over again. Basically, that is why it is so difficult to stop at one scoop of Rocky Road ice cream or take only one homemade chocolate chip cookie – and the calories and fat grams can add up fast!
By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LD (excerpted from her blog)
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.