#329 Food and Mood

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A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet eaten in anxiety.


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In the Mood for Food

By Kathy Smith, creator of Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2™

Sometimes, eating is not about hunger. Mood eating is one of the most overwhelming issues for any weight-conscious person to deal with. Recently, while my daughters were away at camp and I was alone in the house, I found myself—out of sheer boredom—devouring chips with salsa, handfuls of fresh blueberries, and Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream . . . And I even topped it off with some Fig Newtons! All in one sitting! I realized shortly afterward—unfortunately, when my stomachache kicked in—that I had obviously eaten for reasons other than hunger. I didn't need the food for energy. I was simply lonely and missed my daughters.

Fig Newtons, Chips and Salsa, Blueberries, Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

It's difficult to avoid giving in to cravings or embarking on some serious mood-related eating when we're not thinking about what we're doing or why. We often turn to comfort foods for reasons other than fuel. And distinguishing the physical need for foods from the emotional need, especially in the heat of the moment, can be one of the hardest things to do. We know how good we'll feel once we satisfy that craving. It's like our secret drug for temporary happiness, or in my case, filling the void of not having my daughters around. Boredom and loneliness, as well as anger, sadness, anxiety, frustration, and fatigue, are extremely powerful emotions. Similarly, our bodies' own internal chemistries can emit extremely strong signals both before we eat and then as a reaction to what we eat. The key is to strike a balance between knowing what you're eating and understanding how you're feeling. How can you find this balance? Read on.

  1. JournalJournaling. In my Project:YOU! Type 2 fitness program, I credit much of my group's success to its dedication to keeping a food journal. Everyone recorded how he or she felt before and after each meal. You can take this to any level you wish and record as much information about how you feel both before and after a meal, and come to a clear understanding of the connection between food and mood. Try to see if, through journaling, you can reach a point where you're no longer eating in response to negative feelings.

  2. Get your Z's. Inadequate sleep translates to less serotonin getting released in your brain, and to compensate, you'll easily gravitate to high-calorie, low-nutrient foods with sugar without even knowing it.

  3. KitchenKnow your triggers. If eating a bag of chips or a bowl of sugary cereal at 3:30 PM every day has become a ritual (including going for that creamy, ice-blended designer coffee), you're not alone. Mood eating in a particular and regular pattern—that is, eating the same thing at the same time of day, in the same place, and with the same emotions running through your head—is very common. It can be the stress of the day that triggers your need to sit and pop M&Ms slowly, or it can be the sheer afternoon boredom that gives you the false reason to snack unnecessarily. Think about your daily eating rituals that are less related to hunger and more related to stress or boredom. See if you can become more conscious of what triggers this kind of eating and avoid it. Remove the ritualistic foods from your kitchen. Do something else, such as going for a walk, during the time when you're likely to respond to these triggers.

  4. Start controlling your cravings and triggers in the grocery store. Think about your temptations while shopping for food, and never shop when you're feeling hungry or blue. You're more likely to pick up the wrong foods and wind up with a danger zone in your kitchen. If you simply don't buy the wrong foods, they won't be lurking around at your next craving or ritualistic eating session. Avoid having an abundance of starchy, high-fat, high-calorie comfort foods in the house.

  5. WaterDrink a glass of water. Sometimes your body mistakes the feeling of dehydration for hunger.

  6. Don't completely deprive yourself. Find healthier substitutes for what you're craving. Or allow yourself a small portion of the dessert that you are coveting so much. No food is totally bad. It's all in how much of it you eat.

  7. ExerciseMove it to lose it. And here's my biggest piece of advice: When you're moody and looking for a distraction or pick-me-up in the kitchen, consider an exercise routine instead. A better, longer-lasting, and healthier way to feel better is by moving your body and getting that circulation going. Exercise stimulates the feel-better chemicals called endorphins and improves your mood naturally. And don't forget to record that activity once you're done, so you don't forget how great the exercise made you feel.

Related Articles
"6 Ways to Avoid Nighttime Snacking"
"10 Ways to Think Yourself Thinner"
"Food for Thought (Literally)"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, October 23rd, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Kathy SmithIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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The Truth About Diabetes and Carbs

By Denis Faye

There's a lot of confusion out there about how people with diabetes should deal with carbohydrates. The flawed popular logic is that carbs need to be avoided. In fact, this couldn't be further from the truth. The American Diabetes Association suggests that 50 to 60 percent of a diabetic's diet should be made up of carbs! Furthermore, those uninformed, unfortunate souls who feel that going all Atkins is the answer are in a world of hurt. Given that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease, replacing fruits and veggies with bacon and eggs only increases their cholesterol and their risk of having a heart attack. As is also the case with a healthy body, it's best to keep your fat intake at no more than 30 percent of your calories.

Good: Veggies and Fruit; Bad: Eggs and Bacon

What is diabetes and why might you get it?

Before we go any deeper into how to eat, let's take a quick look at what diabetes is. When you eat carbs, they're broken down into glucose, which enters your bloodstream. There, insulin helps bring this glucose into your cells, which use it as energy. When you have diabetes, the insulin doesn't do its job, so while there's plenty of fuel there, it doesn't actually enter your cells, so they starve. This can be life-threatening in a variety of ways, resulting in dehydration, nerve damage, and diabetic ketoacidosis, which causes the buildup of acids in the blood.

CarburetorThink of the body as a car and glucose as the gasoline. The insulin is like the carburetor; it regulates the gas—but for a diabetic, it doesn't, so the engine floods easily.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's own immune system destroys insulin-producing cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas. These people need to take insulin treatments. People with type 2 diabetes, however, actually do produce insulin—just not enough. No one knows what exactly causes the disease, but it's safe to say that obesity and a lousy diet can go a long way toward contributing to the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The symptoms of diabetes vary but they can include increased thirst or hunger, abdominal pain, fatigue, increased urination, vomiting, and blurred vision.

How to change your diet

Here's where the flawed logic comes in. If sugars/carbs cause the problem, then it would seem that cutting them out would solve the problem, as one would do with a food allergy. Unfortunately, our bodies need carbs, just like a car needs gasoline. They are our primary fuel, so the trick is to get a slow, constant flow of carbs into the system.

EatingAs it turns out, eating to get that constant flow is just plain healthy, whether you have diabetes or not, so a lot of the tips you've picked up from Beachbody® are the same ones that work for avoiding diabetes. First off, instead of packing all of your daily food into one or two meals, it's important to eat several small meals throughout the day.

Keeping your meals balanced will also help. Protein and fat both slow the flow of carbs into your system. But be careful with the fat you choose! Because of the previously mentioned heart issues, lean toward consuming unsaturated fats, like you'll find in olive oil, avocados, raw nuts, and fish, not the saturated ones you find in meat, eggs, and dairy.

Whole Grains and VegetablesFiber is also key, so fruit is okay, as long as it's full of fiber. Bananas are low in fiber, so you might want to opt for more fiber-rich fruits. Berries tend to be fiber-rich, so they're generally all right in moderation. Other great sources of fiber include veggies and whole grains.

Finally, stay off that hooch. One or two drinks might be fine for most diabetics, but heavy drinking can cause complications with many diabetes medicines. It can also raise fat levels in the blood and cause blood sugar dips.

You see, it's easier than you'd think. But still, if you think or know you have diabetes, go see a doctor, and follow the advice of a dietician. It's a serious medical condition and needs to be treated as such. But don't stress. With the proper diet and a steady regimen of exercise, people with diabetes can live full, healthy lives easily.

Related Articles
"Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?"
"8 Fantastic Fibrous Foods"
"Super Carbs: The New Wonder Foods for Weight Loss"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this Thursday, October 23rd, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Denis FayeIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Beachbody® Walks for Diabetes

American Diabetes Association's Step Out: Walk to Fight DiabetesThis Sunday, October 26, Kathy Smith and Carl Daikeler will be leading Team Beachbody™ on the American Diabetes Association's (ADA's) annual Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes. If you will be in the Los Angeles area, we'd love for you to come walk with us. Please see details below.

There are 2 different options to sign up to walk or donate:

OPTION 1: The easiest way is to sign up under Team Beachbody - Los Angeles.
- Go to www.ADAWalkLA.com and follow the directions.

OPTION 2: If you want to sign up under your home city, it will only take a few extra steps.
- Go to www.Diabetes.org/TeamBeachbody and follow the directions on the bottom of the page.

Here are the details for the LOS ANGELES walk:

WHEN: October 26, 2008, 7:30 AM registration, 9:00 AM event
WHO: You, your friends, your family, your coworkers, etc.
WHAT: The ADA Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes
WHY: Walk the Talk and help the ADA raise much-needed funds to raise awareness and fight the trend of obesity. This is a fundraising event, so we're asking each team member to raise a minimum of $150 by asking family and friends for donations.
WHERE: Downtown Los Angeles, or a list of cities is available on the Web site

Join our team and lend your powerful voice (and feet) to this campaign!

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Test Your Comfort Food IQ!

By Joe Wilkes
  1. Potato ChipIn what country were potato chips invented? In the good old U.S.A. They were invented in 1853 by chef George Crum, who became annoyed by a customer who complained that his fried potatoes were sliced too thickly. The chips quickly became a hit and were put on the menu of Crum's restaurant, the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, NY, as "Saratoga chips." Another great step in potato chip technology was when food entrepreneur Laura Scudder invented an airtight wax-paper bag in 1934, ensuring that the potato chips would stay fresh until the bag was opened.

  2. What was the first recipe to be printed on a package of American food? Macaroni and cheese. According to food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, a Pennsylvania pasta maker printed a recipe for the gooey treat on a package of macaroni back in 1802. Rumor has it that the macaroni-and-cheese dish may have been invented by Thomas Jefferson, but that has never been comfirmed.

  3. Chocolate Chip CookiesWhat is the official cookie of Massachusetts? The chocolate chip cookie, or the Toll House cookie, was invented by Ruth Wakefield, the owner of the Toll House Inn in 1933. The legend is that some pieces of Baker's chocolate fell into a mixer full of sugar cookie batter. During World War II, soldiers from Massachusetts began asking for Toll House cookies in care packages, sparking a national craze for the cookie. Today, an estimated seven billion chocolate chip cookies are consumed annually.

  4. What comfort food was believed by the Jewish sage Maimonides to aid sufferers of hemorrhoids or leprosy? The king of the comfort foods, chicken soup! It has been prescribed as a home remedy for the common cold since ancient Egypt, and while scientists have debunked some of its putative curative powers, it has been shown that the chicken soup may indeed have an anti-inflammatory effect, which may bring relief to those suffering from a variety of illnesses. In Wisconsin, a type of chicken soup with vegetables and cream is even nicknamed "Belgian penicillin."

  5. BagelsWhat popular comfort food is made in New York or Montreal style? The bagel. New York bagels have salt and malt in their recipes, are boiled in water, and are then baked in a regular oven. Montreal bagels contain malt and eggs, are boiled in honey-flavored water, and are then baked in a wood oven.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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