The busier our lives get, the more likely we are subjected to stress. Although we like to think we have things under control, stress is managed in any number of ways with overindulgence of social media time, television binge watching and eating junk food as a few of the most popular.

When you combine all three, the results can not only be very unhealthy, you are likely to pack on unwanted pounds.

Healthy Pleasure is Just a Bite Away

Food can be such a pleasurable experience. We really love to eat. You might not have thought of food as a stressor before, but here is some food for thought:

The last two decades have produced a large amount of research that linked stress to obesity and diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and many other conditions and diseases.

Increased fat-storing, abdominal obesity, low metabolism, high blood sugar, and hormone problems are all linked to stress.

To understand how to be slim and trim or how to heal and be well, it is important to first understand the body and the stress process that wears the body down.

It’s probably hard for you to remember the last time you had forty-eight hours of peace with time for meditation or just relaxing and feeling happy and content; but it’s probably easy to remember the last time you experienced something stressful like rushing to get ready for work and get your kids off to school, a deadline at work, or an argument with someone.

Think of your own stressors. When do you feel most stressed? What is occurring? Are you in a particular situation? Are you with anyone in particular?

What can you do to minimize your stress… if anything? Do you reach for comfort food when you feel stressed? Food that you eat while plopped in front of your computer or television set?

Knowing the answers to these questions brings a level of awareness into your thought process. Simply being aware moves you in the direction of finding a healthy solution.

Notice Your Reactions

Stress is a natural reaction in humans and animals.

The key word is reaction. Each person reacts differently to that which they perceive as stress. Some people are very sensitive to changes in the energy around them. What is a grievous stressor to one person might not bother another person at all.

Psychologist Richard Lazarus refers to stress as any event in which environmental demands, internal demands, or both tax or exceed an individual’s adaptive resources.

If your life seems calm and normal you might think your psychological stress is low, but dieting, over exercising, insomnia, infections, poor dental hygiene, environmental toxins, and even the political situation can be causing you subconscious stress.

Your body can handle acute or short-term stress quite well and recover from it, but you are not built to handle the chronic, unrelenting stress so rampant in our society today.

Dr. Peter Levine said that our stress response is designed to last about forty-five seconds, not twenty-four hours or day after day. Constant stress causes the body to be “turned on” all the time, and not in a good way.

The sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates bodily functions, goes haywire and the adrenal system gets stuck in the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. These systems stay turned on like a car alarm constantly blaring in the background.

The adrenal glands are small, triangular endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys waiting patiently to be called to duty. Their major role is to release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress.

Stress activates or depresses several functions in the body. Digestion is halted. The hypothalamus gland signals the adrenal system, and the sympathetic nervous system shoots impulses through the body. The heart beats faster, muscles tense, eyes dilate, and the mouth gets dry. This reaction has been named the fight or flight response.

The body can’t tell the difference between being chased by a tiger or getting stuck in traffic; it just senses stress and kicks into gear.

Beyond fight and flight there is a third reaction to stress: freeze. Your body can stop you right in your tracks like a deer in the headlights. An overwhelming trauma can instantly stun you with a wave of hopelessness when it appears you have no chance for conquest or escape. Your blood pressure quickly drops when you freeze, and you can fall or faint. The parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which calms you down to rest and digest, clamps down and takes over from the freeze response.

Any way your body deals with stress, whether it be fight, flight, or freeze, halts your digestive system. Stress can make you sick and fat, and the food you eat might be doing no good for you at all.

Check In With your Intuition

I’ve been teaching my clients how to eat intuitively in order to avoid the foods that are not healthy for them. Amazingly, what might be healthy for one person, say a banana or apple, may not be for someone else.

Intuitive eating is not a “one size fits all” eating protocol. It’s truly a way of eating that is designed by your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind knows what you need and knows what you must avoid to achieve optimal health.

In my book, The Food Codes, I explain in detail how you can determine what the best food choices are for you. It’s a matter of simply tuning into your own Food Code to access this information.

Author's Bio: 

Lana Nelson is a Certified Emotion and Body Code consultant, Lana has developed one of the easiest techniques on the planet to help anyone discover what foods really are “good for you!”

Access her FREE eBook - The Food Codes™ Top 10 Energy Foods.