Understanding why we Overeat and Binge
Recently, I read a great book by Dr. Justin Menkes called “Better Under Stress” that explores the most effective traits of some of the top corporate CEO’s, which can be a very stressful and consuming job to have. One of the main traits is an ability to maintain clarity of thought in a fast changing, highly complex environment. It’s also known as complex thinking.

The reason complex thinking (under stress) is so difficult for executives might be why stress causes poor eating habits. Dr. Menkes explains that heightened anxiety levels dramatically impair people’s ability to think. The human brain is hardwired to respond to stress physically: the hormonal changes that occur when we experience duress automatically translate stress into heightened muscular function. This same dynamic simultaneously shuts down our complex processing because complex thought slices valuable seconds off the physical response. In other words, a long time ago when we
were running from Saber Tooth Tigers, our adrenaline needed to override our complex thought for the trade off of better muscular functioning to run away or hide from the tiger.

Now getting back to why we overeat when stressed, my theory is because when those stress hormones kick in there is a left over response to eat more because the body has supposedly just experienced a very physical event (running from that Saber Tooth Tiger), and needs the energy that should have been expended to be replenished immediately through food (calorie) consumption. However in today’s world, our stress doesn’t usually require us to be physically active. We deal with stress from things like traffic, job expectations, relationships, homework, etc. while for the most part remaining inactive.

Much like the book “Better under Stress” suggests that great leaders and achievers need to be able to tame the cognitive overload that occurs in response to high levels of duress, all of us need to learn to tame the instinct to overeat and/or binge eat when under stress because we won’t be needing any extra energy stores. Great executives and CEO’s have mastered the corporate world in which they work in, and we all should strive to be masters of our individual health. And that means being aware of our reactions to stressors, such as in how we eat, and making successful adjustments along the way in life as CEO of our Body- Mind.

This article made its debut on www.noho.org
(Jack Witt is a Health and Fitness Coach providing In Home Personal Training, Personal Training at Private Fitness Centers in the North Hollywood, Burbank, Studio City, Sherman Oaks areas, as well as Worksite Health Programs, Corporate Wellness, Life Coaching Products, and Group Exercise Classes)


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Jack Witt