There is no denying the role exercise plays in good health. One of the benefits of exercise includes avoiding the negative health effects associated with excess weight and higher percentages of body fat. Equally important is the role proper nutrition and eating habits play toward the same,overall good health. Research has shown that to lose weight AND maintain the desired weight loss, eat right and exercise. New research is even telling us about the differences in the way many of us metabolize food.
But our choices of food and how much we eat can be related to many factors. Research done in France and published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders (2001; 29, 195-204) concluded the foods you crave may say a lot about the state of your mind and body.
Researchers analyzed the eating habits and cravings of more than a thousand men and women and came to the following conclusions:
*Women crave food more often than men do, with cravings peaking during times of sadness or anxiety.
*Men are more likely to eat when they’re feeling happy.
*Chocolate cravings may signal that you are tired.
*An urge for salty foods or dairy products may be your body’s way of telling you it wants a real meal.
*Those who had the most frequent cravings were more likely to be on a diet or actively trying to lose weight.
Researchers theorize that women may experience more cravings because of the increased social pressure to be thin, which also leads them to diet more frequently than men. The researchers were also sure to point out that relationship between mood and food are complex and are based both on psychological and biological factors.
Do you enjoy watching TV, listening to music or reading while you eat? Or do you like to have the company of friends or family around for good conversation when you break bread? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study involving 41 “healthy weight” women, ages 26 to 55. The women ate lunch once a week under four different conditions in a laboratory setting.
They were alone without distraction, alone while listening to recorded instruction on how to focus on the taste of their food, and alone while listening to a tape of a detective story. And they ate lunch with three other women who were also participating in the study.
Despite reporting equal levels of hunger under all four conditions, they ate considerably more calories while listening to the detective story.
Researchers recommend that people who wish to maintain or lose weight avoid eating while watching TV, talking on the phone or listening to music, all activities capable of distracting you from your dietary plan.
It can be helpful when we know where some of the speed bumps are on the road to healthy eating habits. Consider your moods and your environment when you are eating. Recognize your motivations for what you are eating during any times you might get off track.