These are a few of my favorite things (health wise of course)

My Fitspiration

By far, this is my favorite blog to visit because it is run by two women I adore: Biggest Loser Season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister, Season 11 runner-up, Hannah Curlee. Olivia and Hannah cover fitness, fashion and fun in their posts. Always inspirational and hilarious, I love this site for motivation, great health tips and their section on “obsession confessions”. The sisters are great to follow on Twitter too!

True Food Movement

I came across True Food Movement after reading about one of the site’s bloggers, Lisa Johnson, and her “30-Day Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge”. I was so fascinated by the idea and explored more about eating organic and fresh foods in a balanced diet on the site. You can also find information about eco-friendly topics. To get started a eating fresh lifestyle check out the basics first or the getting started section.

 Whole Story

The official Whole Foods blog. I know what you might be thinking (“Whole paycheck?!”). I’ve heard many a sigh when I mention this organic grocer, but hey, if you know how to find great values amidst whole foods, why not? (see more on the 30-day challenge above) With tons of recipe ideas and information on produce, the topics covered in the blog are wide-ranging! Also check out the coupon section to save some green.

Also, don’t miss these sites:

Fit Bottomed Girls – Eats, workouts, reviews, blogs – Overall, a ton of useful information

Fit chick in the city – Fitness expert blogs about healthy living in New York City

Mile Posts – Great for motivation and learning more about running

The Ethicurean – All about local, organic, ethical food choices

A nutritionist eats – Fabulous food from a nutritionist who believes all things in moderation

The Fitnessista – From a girl who loves fitness as much as she loves food

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Stress may drive you to eat more

The busy life of the average adult today will undoubtedly produce common life stressors which could contribute to increased hunger which can become an obstacle for those who are trying to maintain a healthy weight.

A study of 561 women recruited from Northern California found a partial correlation between perceived stress and the drive to eat, specifically for non-nutritious food and a decline in nutritious food intake.

The perception of being highly stressed was also related to an increased lack of control over eating, greater hunger, and more frequent binge eating.

Participants were recruited to complete an online study on “Women’s Health,” and filled out various assessments to measure socio-demographics, height and weight, perceived stress level, chronic stress exposure, binge eating tendencies, and other eating behaviors.

The study discusses the physiological connection in non-human animal tests where, “non-nutritious food has a calming effect on the HPA axis stress response.” The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is an information loop which includes the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. The main hormones which activate the HPA, include adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which can increase cortisol levels in the blood.

Long-term activation of the stress-response system and overexposure to cortisol can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes, a MayoClinic article says.

Unfortunately the drive to eat more non-nutritious food, more often, as a response to stress, as indicated in the stress and eating study above, could lead to weight gain.

Dr. Terri Lisagor, EdD, MS, RD, an assistant professor at California State University Northridge who specializes in Food Science and Nutrition, says individuals should ask themselves what they might not be getting enough of in their diet which could lead to an increased hunger response from stress.

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The study was published in the April issue of “Appetite” journal.