Losing Weight (Part 3): The Role of Stress and Sex in Weight Gain
Stress can affect the eating habits of people in different ways, and thus have a direct impact on one’s weight. Some people may use food as a way to cope with stress, moderating its anticipated effects by snacking a lot. Others, overly focused on a problem or its solution, disregard their sensation of satisfaction (satiation) during a meal and end up consuming far more than they usually eat. In yet others, stress may create a severe loss of appetite, leading to weight loss.
Rather than using food to handle stress, when a difficult event can be anticipated, you may be able to modify its effect on you and your eating by changing something. For instance, perhaps you can change locations to avoid the stressful event or person. Perhaps you can alter your method of communication, for example, from face to face to electronic, paper or through an intermediary. Or, perhaps you may be able to have people around you for support and help when dealing with a stressful event.
Stress between Partners is the Worst!
However, the one area in which none of these may be desirable or helpful is when stress occurs between partners in a relationship.
Actions and communications from and between long-term partners can cause conflicts that are stored in the memory and resurrected each time a similar conflict occurs. Whether the previous conflict was settled amicably, left unresolved or, worse, ended in severe disagreement, it can have a significant influence on the next one of similar nature. Your brain will remind you of the state of emotion you felt during the prior stressful event, even if there is no obvious relevance to the present one. The worst thing you can do is to remind your partner of past events in an effort to bolster your position or to show how wrong your partner was.
In order to have a satisfactory exchange that will not lead to unneeded poor eating behaviors, I would like to suggest a plan of action. But, first let me define the basis for my proposal.
Human behavior is a learned, cues-based process that starts in childhood and is embedded in the brain. The nerve cells located in the brain region called the hypothalamus greatly influence the formation of behavior in both genders. One’s environment and training shape the sensory input and its processing in the brain, the analysis by the nerve groups dedicated for that purpose, and finally, one’s emotions. For example, if you grow up in a physically or emotionally stressful household, you could develop into a belligerent or a fearful and insecure person.
Interestingly, the number of nerve cell receptors for sex hormones on neurons located in the hypothalamus region shows surprisingly wide differences between individuals. As we age, our sex hormone levels peak and then decline between ages 30 and 70. This explains in part why the brain of each individual will process information differently, and also why this difference will be even more pronounced between the brains of males and females and as we age. Such differences in processing can affect the actions and communications related to love, affection, aggression, and even eating between partners.
5 Rules to Reduce Stress between Partners and Not Gain Weight
As a result, here are my suggestions to avoid weight gain when it comes to stress between partners:
Rule no 1: Never argue with your partner when you are hungry. When your brain is generating the hunger sensation, it causes the release of adrenaline to push you into moving to look for food. Meanwhile, more adrenaline is released during the stress response to speed up the action necessary to escape from danger. Although nature intended the stress response as a way to escape physical danger, as evidenced in all animals, humans experience it during emotional and intellectual stress also.
The double dose of adrenaline you receive when arguing with your partner and being hungry could lead to actions or communications you would not have done or said during ordinary circumstances. Whenever possible, postpone arguments until after a meal or, if not possible, let a hard candy containing sugar melt in your mouth a few minutes before you start the session.
As all diabetics know, contact with even a small number of sugar molecules moderates the sensations of hypoglycemia within minutes of having sugar on the tongue. The reason for this is that most symptoms of hypoglycemia are also due to the release of adrenaline in the body. When the sugar registers in the sweet sensing taste receptors on the tongue, it lets the brain know sugar is going to be absorbed soon. The brain can now reduce the release of adrenaline. (As a side note, keep in mind that it is the registration of sugar by taste buds that is responsible for the immediate lessening of hypoglycemia-related symptoms, not the actual absorption of sugar.)
Rule no.2. Be sure you understand the real argument. Since mental processing is different in different brains, what you assume you heard from your partner may not at all be what he or she intended to say. The resulting misinterpretation can lead to actions and miscommunications that make things worse. So be sure to ask for clarification of any points raised before putting forth your side of the story.
Rule no.3. Stick to the point; don’t raise old issues. Your brain, based on the strength of your memory and speed of retrieval, may have opened up past arguments for comparison with the present one — and you’ll get off the point. Making references to previous arguments can only prolong the stress. Steer clear of ancillary issues even if they strengthen your central argument.
Rule no.4. Winning is not the objective. Arguing with your mate is not like a contest where you must focus on winning. Although you might prefer to see your point of view prevail, if it causes sadness in your partner for whatever reason, you may end up feeling bad later. A better objective is simply to aim to clarify your points of view. Always be prepared to accommodate and entertain the possibility that your partner may have other ideas and feelings, sometimes totally different from yours, based of his or her life experiences. Regardless of how strong you feel that your position is the right choice, if your partner is not able to agree, you may have to give the last word to your partner.
Rule no.5. Keep the lines of communication open. Being able to talk to each other lovingly is critical to long-term survival of any partnership. Towards this end, whenever possible, complement your partner for an action or communication, however insignificant it may be.
I hope that by applying these rules you will enjoy a long-term, happy, loving relationship without it affecting your eating behavior or your weight adversely.
If you are overweight or concerned about getting diabetes, Eat, Chew, Live provides exactly the new science & inspiration you need.
Based on more than twenty years of research, Eat, Chew, Live offers a revolutionary new explanation of high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes. While traditional medicine says it is due to “insulin resistance,” Dr. Poothullil disagrees. Eat, Chew, Live will show you:
- How the consumption of grains causes your body to develop high blood sugar
- How you can lower your blood sugar to avoid or reverse Type 2 diabetes without using drugs.
- How you can change your eating habits to avoid grains while still enjoying every meal
There are no special diets to follow or products to buy. Get your copy today and inform yourself.