Not only that, but the brain chemicals (such as cortisol) which are released to help our bodies handle the physical stress are powerful appetite "triggers." When stress hits, what kinds of food do we all crave?? Candy, ice cream, cookies, potato chips, etc. These foods provide the carbohydrates and fat to replenish the calories used when our bodies respond to stress. But in our society, most of our stress is mental and emotional, not physcial; therefore, our bodies don't require those extra calories.
Dr. Peeke has discovered that those extra calories consumed from stress-induced eating are converted to fat deposits that gravitate to one area of the body — the waistline. Fat deposits around the abdomen are associated with illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer. That expanding waistline isn't just a vanity issue; it's a threat to your life, reports Dr. Peeke!
To avoid gaining toxic pounds (or to remove those excess pounds), Dr. Peeke recommends these ten simple strategies for meal planning and timing:
2. Eat a small mid-morning snack approximately three hours after breakfast. It will tide you over until lunch. Suggestions: a piece of fruit, a small fat-free yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, or one or two pieces of low-fat string cheese.
3. Try to eat lunch no later than 1:30 p.m. Lunch should include a healthy balance of high-quality, low-stress protein, fat and carbohydrates (see pp. 172-174 of Fight Fat After Forty for details).
5. Dinner should be started anywhere from 6 to 7:30 p.m. It should include soup or salad, vegetables and a source of protein, such as poultry, lean red meat, fish, legumes or veggie burger. Mixed fruit could be served as a dessert item.
6. Try to have dinner completed by 8 p.m. at least four to five days a week. Dr. Peeke's favorite saying is that if "you eat after eight, you gain a lot of weight!" If you must eat dinner after eight, eat lighter and eat before you go to dinner. (Remember, the CortiZone and your vulnerability to eat mindlessly extends through midnight.)
7. Women over the age of 40 do not require dense complex carbohydrates (pasta, bread, potatoes or rice) after 5 p.m. These foods are rich fuel sources and should be consumed in moderation, primarily during the day. At dinnertime these starches should be considered as occasional treats (once or twice a week, in small portions). The goal is to strip your dinner of the dense calories from complex carbohydrates. These foods, which were once considered a staple, should now be an infrequent dinner treat.
8. Dispose of all fat-free desserts and snack items in your kitchen. They are riddled with low-quality, high-stress refined, processed sugars.
9. Typical restaurant portions are man-sized. At lunchtime, remember to eat only half of any restaurant portion of starch, and try to eliminate it at dinner. At lunch, one piece of bread is appropriate. Remember: The later you eat complex carbohydrates, the more weight you gain.
10. Water should be consumed throughout the day. Often when we think we're hungry, we're actually thirsty. Eight 8-ounce glasses should be drunk during the course of the day.
For information about Dr. Peeke, visit drpeeke.com.