Did You Know That Bad Mood Fatten?
When was the last time you got stressed or grumpy and decided to cash in on a whole lettuce foot? Um, probably never, right?
Recent studies have proven what we already imagined: bad moods get fat, as does stress, because it makes us want to eat high-calorie foods such as sugar and fat (read chocolate and fast food), which have fast digestion and provide power almost instantaneously.
And it also becomes a vicious circle, because you eat because you are in a bad mood, and because you have eaten too much, and then your mood gets worse - and you continue eating to discount the frustration. The result you already know: overweight that you often do not even know why it started.
Let's understand why exactly the bad mood grows fat and, more importantly, figure out how to avoid the already known emotional weight gain.
Everything started in the caves.
Thousands of years ago, when our ancestors still lived in caves and shared the day between hunting and escaping from predators, stress was a key state for our survival. In response to meeting a potential predator, our body was preparing for flight through a rapid change in metabolism. In order to have energy to escape the lion, we received a message from the brain to eat more carbohydrate, which quickly reached the muscle cells in the form of glucose.
That is: even if millennia have passed, still today we react in the same way in situations that alter our balance and leave us in a bad mood or stressed. When we argue with someone and our mood gets that way, our organism interprets it as a meeting with a lion, and there we are left with that absurd will to eat sweet.
What Science Says
Researchers have long known that what we eat affects our mood, but from time to time they have also begun to focus on the opposite mechanism. Two major studies published in recent years have illuminated the subject and have helped us to better understand the mechanism of stress response and to understand why the mood swings up.
The first of these was carried out by Israel's Weizmann Institute and brought to the surface the existence of a protein that may be linked to stress and obesity. The second, by Cornell University, showed how humor affects our eating choices.
- Endorphin and Serotonin - How They Act in Your Body
- Bitter Chocolate Decreases Stress and Inflammation and Improves Memory and Mood
- 5 Foods to Eat When You're Stressed
- 10 Ways Exercise Does Good for Your Brain
- Study 1
In a study of laboratory animals, the researchers found that during stress, anger, and mood swings, the brain produces a protein known as Urocortin-3, or Ucn3. After being synthesized by some brain cells, a part of UC3 goes to the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that controls the production of hormones, and the feelings of hunger and satiety. Another part of the protein goes to the center that controls our behavior and is responsible for raising our level of anxiety.
Rats that had their genes modified to produce more Ucn3 became more anxious and also exhibited significant changes in metabolism. With excess protein, their bodies started to burn more sugar and less fat, and there was also a decrease in insulin sensitivity, which predisposed animals to type 2 diabetes.
To summarize: when we are in a bad mood or stressed, we produce Ucn-3, which can make us anxious, hungry and with less feeling of satiety. By eating more and not getting the brain signal to stop, we walk straight to the overweight.
- Study 2
By studying the relationship between mood swings and the time perspective, researchers at Cornell University in the United States found that when we are in a bad mood or uncomfortable with a situation, our brains know that something is not going well and then focus only on the present. This leads us to focus more on the sensory aspects of food (taste and appearance) and not on more abstract features such as the nutritional value and importance of it to our health.
Similarly, research with volunteers of both sexes and across age groups has shown that when we are in the mood we are able to have a greater perspective on health, which allows us to focus on more abstract aspects of food such as its value nutritional benefits and long-term health benefits.
That is, our mood can determine whether we will be guided by the immediate pleasure that food provides or by our concern for our good form and long-term health. According to the researchers, the tip to prevent this from occurring is to think of something beyond the current moment that you are going through, and see yourself in the future.If you think only about health does not work, think, for example, that the brigadeiro you stop eating today will be tomorrow's smaller size pants.
So it's not my fault?
Virtually the entire functioning of our organism is due to the way the first humans lived and interacted with the environment around them. An example is our sleep mechanism: we are adapted to sleep at night because walking in the dark would make us easy prey for predators with nocturnal habits. But even so we do not resign ourselves and nowadays we go to bed as soon as it gets dark.
Likewise, the fact that you're more likely to eat candy when you're in a bad mood does not mean you have an excuse to attack chocolate just because "it's in your genetics." From the moment we come to understand better how bad mood grows, we can be more aware of our choices and try to make changes that allow us to escape from this inheritance.
What to do?
Now that you know that bad moods get fat because, among other things, it makes you want to eat more calorie foods, here's what to do to avoid gaining weight because of your emotions:
- Be aware of the situation
When you are in a bad mood, be aware that you will be vulnerable to certain food choices and try to avoid situations that lead you to eating unhealthy foods. In practice, this means that if you are in a bad mood or already know what the situations are that leave you in that state, it is best to stop visiting places with these foods or even have them at home or at work.
If you already know that when you fight with the boss you will want to cash in on the food, why leave chocolate, snacks and the like in the office? Or else, why leave the stuffed biscuit in the kitchen cupboard if it becomes your "in those days" escape valve? Remember: what the eyes do not see, the waist does not feel.
Take a deep breath, count to 10, slowly drink a glass of water and wait until the urge to eat passes.
- Improve your mood
We all have those days when we wake up in a bad mood and so we stay until the next morning when we wake up ready to save the world and we feel like nothing happened. When they are sporadic and do not interfere with the individual's daily life, such fluctuations can be considered normal.
However, when a person spends a large part of their day stressed, in a bad mood and without presenting an apparent motive, it is important to investigate if there is something else behind these emotions. Although bad mood is not a disease, it can affect not only your weight but also your personal and professional life.
Here are some tips to get rid of the bad mood of your day-to-day and end your emotional weight gain:
1. Seek professional help
There are several factors that may be behind the chronic moodiness - some, even, pathological. Seeking the help of a professional can help you work your emotions better, treating not only bad mood but also your relationship with food.
2. Take care of your liver
You may have heard of the term "bilious" to describe a person who is chronically grumpy, stressed or complaining. According to Chinese Medicine, the liver is the organ that governs all our emotions, including mood swings.
An example is anger, which when accumulated can lead to an imbalance of the liver. And the organ, when unbalanced, can produce even more symptoms of anger, creating a vicious circle. Of course, getting angry or face-closed from time to time does not mean that you have a troublesome liver, but if you are one of those people who are more likely to see the negative side of things, who keeps complaining about everything or who Good morning, ask yourself what's good, so you may need to take care of your liver.
Taking detoxifying green juice in the morning, avoiding greasy and industrialized foods, favoring vegetables, fruits and vegetables, avoiding alcohol and excess sugar and giving lots of laughter are some of the best ways for you to detoxify your liver.
Several studies have shown that people who engage in physical activity tend to have a more positive view of life and to be more humorous. Walking, running, practicing yoga or meditation are some of the best activities to reduce stress and improve mood.
4. Have a good relationship
A loving relationship that is harmonious will improve your mood and leave you with a more optimistic view of the world. People who are satisfied with their lives tend to be more willing and happy, so they end up suffering less from bouts of bad humor.
5. Value the sex
This is perhaps one of the simplest - and underestimated - ways of improving mood. A pleasurable sex life can work miracles through good humor and health. And remember that quality is far more important than quantity.
6. Go out with friends
Disconnecting yourself a little from virtual life and finding friends to chat and laughing can be a great way to improve mood.
7. Have a balanced work life
Having a job that you enjoy that does not leave you permanently stressed (and that allows you to have a life outside of it) is key to good humor. It's no use having the dream job if not time to eat right, practice physical activity, go out with friends and give attention to family: besides being extremely stressed and grumpy, you still run the serious risk of getting sick.
8. Mind Your Thoughts
Avoiding thoughts and situations that leave you pessimistic and in a bad mood (like the habit of following only bad news and speaking badly about others) and having positive thoughts can have an impact on your mood. Acupuncture, tai chi chuan, shiatsu, breathing exercises and meditation are some of the practices you can include in your everyday life to become more aware of one's thoughts and avoid pessimism.
9. Laugh further
Smiling is still the best remedy against bad mood, and if you think it's impossible to smile when you're angry, try relaxing and thinking about fun things - it could be a joke, or funny situations that have happened to you.
10. Avoid negative situations
Do you know that person who speaks ill of everyone, or that television news that speaks only of misfortune? Well, both have in common the fact that it will only make your mood worse, leaving you even more negative and unwilling to look into the future. Avoid people and situations that you know will not do you good, and give priority to those who help lift your spirits.