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Is Your Mood Adding Inches to Your Waistline?


Most of us are all too well aware that overeating, eating junk food and not exercising are sure to expand our belt buckles another notch. But weight gain is not always so cut and dry. Oftentimes you may carefully watch what you eat, load your plate full of fruits and veggies, even exercise regularly … and still not win the battle of the bulge.


Anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders may double your risk of becoming obese.

In this latter case, your weight gain may have nothing to do with the foods you eat or the exercise you do, but rather with your emotional health.

A new study published in BMJ analyzed data from four medical screenings of over 4,300 British civil servants aged 35 to 55, including screenings that assessed mental health and measurement of height and weight.

People with a common mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression, at all three previous screenings were twice as likely to be obese at the final screening compared with those who had no mental health disorder symptoms. Further, the risk of weight gain and obesity was the greatest for those who had more incidences of a common mental health disorder.

The connection between mental health and weight gain is not a new one.

Said Dr. Mark Dedomenico, M.D. in an MSN Health & Fitness blog post:

Depression, like anxiety, causes some release of cortisone from the adrenal glands. Cortisone will cause insulin resistance at the cellular level, making the delivery into the cells difficult. This in turn causes hunger and weight gain.”

Stress, Job Layoffs and Anxiety May All Impact Your Weight

Research has shown that more than 50 percent of Americans increase their food intake when feeling stressed out. In the past people would lose weight when faced with stressful situations, but the stress of the economy and fear of the unknown are causing people to put on weight.

In fact, the more anxious people get, the more they tend to turn to sugar, fat and salt to boost their mood, albeit temporarily. This explains why boredom, lots of free time at home and financial woes are three big factors that drive people to overeat.

Overeating aside, just being stressed out can cause you to gain weight in and of itself, according to the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation.

"Under stress, people conserve more fat, and we think that may be what's going on here," said psychologist and study co-author Tené Lewis of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The study involved more than 2,000 women from their 40s through menopause, and the researchers asked them about unhappy events in their life over the past year. The results? Even after taking into account other factors that could affect weight gain (exercise habits, diet, smoking, etc.) it was found that the more bad things the women reported, the more weight they gained.

In other words, the greater the stress, the greater the women's weight.

So the link between stress and weight gain is not just the tendency to overeat when stressed, but the fact that your body produces a hormone called cortisol in response to stress, and increased cortisol causes your body to store fat. So, even if you are watching your diet, stress can cause you to gain weight!

This is why getting into a positive state of mind and having proper relaxation are two of the most important keys to good health. They can help lower cortisol levels, effectively help you reduce stress and also contribute to weight loss at the same time.

The Best of Both Worlds: A Fitness Program That Nurtures Your MIND as Well as Your Body

SheaNetics, founded by fitness expert Shea Vaughn, blends ancient and contemporary movements with eastern philosophy, creating a stylized approach to fitness designed to improve the quality of today’s western living.

So if you are suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or any other negative emotion, this program will help you on both the physical and mental levels.

The SheaNetics program incorporates the philosophy that “fitness is both a state of the body and mind” and is based on the Five Living Principles that follow: Your Pathway to Well-Being

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MySheaNetics realizes your goal is to find total health and fulfillment that is life lasting. This can be achieved by creating harmony in body, mind and self. MySheaNetics gives you the practical tools to get into shape and kick it to ever higher levels.

Each nearly one hour workout is a new blend of the-best-of-the-best from Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, Gyro-Kinesis, Dance and MORE -- guiding you through unique sequences of movements that strengthen, sculpt, build core and increase flexibility!

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1. Your “Commitment”: Making a promise to do something, whether it is a workout, seeking better health or just being a better person.

2. Your “Perseverance”: Establishing a perpetual belief that “If I try, I will succeed.” You build toward your goal one solid step at a time.

3. Your “Self-Control”: Coming to the realization that you are responsible for everything you do. How you react to the events happening in your life is the only outcome of any event that you can consciously determine.

4. Your “Integrity”: Not examining the result, only the effort made. It is the level of honesty in the quality of effort you give to the execution of whatever you strive to do -- it has to be the best you can do.

5. Gaining, Getting, Giving “Love”: Openness and respect for yourself, others and what life has to offer. It is the willingness to explore and interact with people, to listen, learn and share, and to always set the best example possible.

The program is unlike any other fitness program in that it offers a source of strength and inspiration to support your health journey. Plus, exercising increases the levels of endorphins in your body, which stimulate your immune system, reduce stress and put you in a better mood.

We encourage you to check out Shea’s new 6-Disc DVD/CD workout set to “get started on your pathway to well-being!”

This groundbreaking DVD collection contains:

  • 3 core-building, mind-boosting, complete body-charging workouts!

  • As a FREE GIFT you will also receive 3 empowering, “original music” CDs specially composed to power up your journey!

  • You also receive the SheaNetics Booklet with The Five Living Principles -- a life-changing guide to finding Your Pathway to Well-Being!

Find Out More and Order SheaNetics at Your Pathway to Well-Being Now!

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MySheanetics has nearly sold out and told us that they will soon no longer offer this value of all these combined DVDs and CDs. They plan to break this set up into individual DVDs and CDs, each costing as much as one half this price or more, which could make this total package as much as three times the price or more.

So we recommend you buy NOW before this offer is no longer available!

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More Tips to Ease Anxiety and Tension

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"I'd been looking for a CD for our cardiac, pulmonary, diabetes and weight management patients to use on their own to help them practice relaxation techniques. I was delighted to find the Pure Relaxation CD -- it's a winner! The voice and music, combined with the gentle simplicity of the meditations, is extremely effective. Thank you for coming up with a perfect format that can accommodate a variety of schedules, ages, and backgrounds."

-- Sarah Mozelle, MA, CHT Lifestyle Management Coach & Health Educator, Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, CA

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Whenever you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you may be tempted to reach for food to help you cope. It’s also important to ease your stressful feelings so they don’t contribute to your weight on a hormonal level.

So it’s imperative that you set aside time each day to relax. This may sound easy, but how many of you reading this actually schedule time into your day to relax and enjoy life? It's essential to do so, because without adequate down time, it will be near impossible to soothe your stress woes away. Relaxing can take on many forms, like:

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Prayer

  • Gardening

  • Reading

  • Journaling

  • Soaking in a bath

  • Hiking, biking or swimming

The body and mind know how to relax -- we just need to give them "permission" to do so. This is easier said than done, of course, so for those of you who need a little help, we highly recommend the Pure Relaxation: Guided Meditations for Body, Mind & Spirit CD by respected meditation expert Mary Maddux.

The guided meditations and music on this CD calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body. Using these guided meditations regularly will help you to live in a more relaxed way and you'll notice that when you begin to feel stressed, you'll be able to relax more easily than before.

If you’re already eating healthy and exercising regularly, taking the time to relax and soothe your nerves may be just what you need to shed extra pounds and improve your sense of well-being … all at the same time.

Recommended Reading

Tough Economy Leads to More Weight Gain for Many Americans

Is Your Mind Making You Fat … and Keeping You That Way?


BMJ October 6, 2009 2009;339:b3765 October 8, 2009

MSN Health & Fitness Depression and Weight Gain

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