Mind over calories
I’ve mentioned the mind-body connection in regards to eating before–how your emotions can influence your food cravings. When you’re in a negative frame of mind, it’s all too easy to reach for the chips, dive into a mound of French fries, or chow down a pepperoni pizza.
A good mood, on the other hand, helps you remember your “higher goals” and order salmon, rather than stromboli…or take a few minutes to whip up a spinach-and-Swiss omelet, rather than gulp down a bowl of sugary cereal. I call it “Mind Over Calories.”
And in a recent issue of the journal Obesity Reviews, a group of researchers found a great way to help you put it into practice.
According to their review of a number of large-scale studies, exercise helps short-circuit your stress-induced cravings.
They found a strong association between physical activity and emotionally driven eating patterns. Turns out, this link is located in the “executive function” area of the brain. When you’re under stress, this part of the brain gets overwhelmed, and you’re less likely to put the brakes on eating, or to make healthy choices.
However, physical activity positively stimulates this section of the brain, which helps detour the impulsive drive to eat.
So exercise doesn’t just help you burn calories, it also helps you eat less. That’s the best formula for weight loss there is!
And don’t worry about what kind of exercise. Anything that gets you moving is just fine. Remember–every little bit helps, even a nightly 15-minute walk around block.