Stress is bad m'kay.

I read this article about stress and weight gain the other day...

The link between stress and weight gain is much stronger than originally thought. New research suggests an actual physiological reason that people under stress tend to gain weight. A recent study by Georgetown University Medical Center showed that mice under stress gain extra weight even if their calorie intake doesn’t go up. The study’s senior author, Dr. Zofia Zukowska, says: “By three months, they became twice as obese as mice without stress, even when they ate the same amount of food. Stress seems to release a chemical reaction that triggers fat cells to grow and multiply in number.”

To make matters worse, the extra pounds caused by stress tend to be stored around the belly. Though they aren’t yet sure of the precise reasons for this, Dr. Zukowska says, “Researchers suspect that stress and diet stimulate an enzyme present in particularly high amounts in the abdominal fat.” This is the most dangerous place for fat to end up in people, since it increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

Scary huh?!? As if we didn't already know this... fat mice have proven it. <:3 )~~

I don't make New Year's resolutions but I do make a list of things I hope happen in the coming year and one of mine this year is to be more chill. I get wound up and worry about stuff I rarely can fix or control. I'm a snowball thinker... that is I start with this little snowball size thought and roll it over and over in my mind until I have an avalanche o' crap. This ends in 2008.

Here's some tips for those of you that want to join me...

Top Ten Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress

1. Create realistic expectations -- don't try to make this the perfect holiday. Leave that to Martha flippin Stewart.

2. Learn to say "no" to extra obligations that might stress you out. The world won't come to an end if you don't go to that holiday party or event.

3. Take short relaxation breaks to let go of tension. I hide in the bathroom. No one questions post weight loss surgery people about being in the bathroom.

4. Get involved in a volunteer activity where you help others.

5. Tap into your natural creativity and create a hand-made gift.

6. Eat and drink sensibly, and get plenty of exercise and sleep.

7. Practice being a peacemaker if family squabbles erupt.

8. Balance your spending of time and money to improve the quality of your life. Remember: the greatest gift you can ever give someone is your time.

9. Create a new holiday tradition that builds connections among your family and friends. Since my father passed away we go to the beach every Christmas.

10. Reflect on the deeper meaning and spirit of the holidays for you personally, for your family, and for humanity and the world.

52 Proven Stress Relievers

10 Solutions to Stress

If you do eat under stress at least eat some of these...

Stress reducing foods:

Asparagus - This green veggie is high in folic acid, which can help stabilize your mood.

Beef - Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins, which are also known to help stabilize your mood.

Spinach - The magnesium can help relieve migraines and reduce fatigue, alleviating stress and leaving you more relaxed.

Oatmeal - The carbs in oatmeal release serotonin the chemical messenger in the brain that makes you feel good and happy. And the fiber in it can help fill you up also a good feeling.

Cottage Cheese and Fruit - Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium. Foods with high protein content that aren’t loaded with sugar won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and will keep you satiated for a longer time.

Almonds - Looking for something you can really dig your teeth into when you’re stressed? Try crunching on almonds to get some aggression out. A good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as magnesium and zinc, almonds are high in fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Almonds have been shown to fight the free radicals associated with stress, and in particular, those free radicals that cause heart disease.

Blueberries - Very rich in antioxidants, blueberries offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting vitamin C. Try them with cottage cheese or as a snack on their own.

Tuna - A great lunch option, tuna is high in stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12. Tuna is also a good low-fat protein source.

If all else fails...