With the passing summer solstice, we remain ripe with potential for getting impeccable about self-care and resetting our overall lifestyle habits. Usually we start by learning a bit about which fitness routines are best to target certain body areas and enough about nutrition to stay relatively healthy and fit. However, we tend to have a huge blind spot when it comes to the other important factors that have profound effects on our overall health: an individual’s mood, energy, sleep, control over your life, & accountability to others. Not to mention the broader range of chronic, debilitating digestive symptoms many of us now encounter.
One Change at a Time
Interested in what psychologically motivates behavioral change, Jessica Katz, our newest WellPath Nutrition Expert broke down, in her signature, thorough, but accessible style, why the mind-body connection is so vitally important to your overall health. Jessica always strives to impart small, realistic changes that can be incorporated into the daily habits of her clients and she doesn’t believe in giving her clients a “diet” or a specific “meal plan” because the “‘one size fits all’ motto” according to Jessica, “would be comparable to prescribing everyone the same medicine” Jessica believes that every nutrition plan must be customized based on an individual’s medical background, lifestyle, overall mood, and sleep so “meal and snack ideas are very much tailored to the individual.”
Jessica emphasizes the mind-body connection within her method. She believes everything from stress to anxiety to depression can certainly play a role in or exacerbate many GP/digestive disorders she frequently encounters amongst patients.
The Stress Effect
In Jessica’s opinion, achieving weight or nutrition goals is highly reliant on someone’s emotional state. She went on to explain that while “some people might lose weight when they are stressed, others gain. Some find it very difficult to stick to a routine when unhappy or stressed; others thrive on structure during these times. Some people must feel happy/content in other areas of their lives in order to lose weight.”
Although an individual’s success in regards to his/her weight & nutrition goals is a unique result of his/her mood, stress is one of the most common “diet de-railers.” Jessica explained that she hears this all of the time in her practice (and she can relate!!). “A gnawing source of stress, frustration, or unfulfillment (home, marriage, family, work) can interfere with the motivation to achieve nutrition goals.” When one is relaxed and happy, one tends to feel more “in control of life”- and more in control of eating too.
However, when times get tough, healthy habits fall by the wayside, and some of us are more prone to emotional/stress eating. Jessica provided the scientific explanation as to how the mind inevitably controls what is happening in the body; “when stressed, our bodies produce my cortisol, a hormone that increases cravings for refined carbs and sweets- particularly when coupled with sleep deprivation.” Jessica advises to keep yourself stimulated and entertained as much as you can because “boredom also plays a role in mindless eating.” So the next time you notice yourself chowing down on a bag full of snacks, stop and ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or if something in your life is eating at you.
To learn more about the customized nutritional solutions that WellPath provides click here.