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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control


Combating stress-related weight gain

Christeena Haynes, MS, RD, LD, former Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Dallas County, University of Missouri Extension


Man sitting on couch with large bowl of potato chipsApril is stress awareness month. For a lot of people, stress can lead to emotional overeating and thus unwanted weight gain. Here are some tips to help you get back on track and reach your healthy weight.


  • Make health your main goal. Weight loss should be thought of as an added benefit after making healthy lifestyle changes, like eating well and exercising.
  • Eat nutritiously. Increase fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or nonfat dairy.
  • Be physically active.
  • Set realistic and achievable goals. Losing about one pound a week is a safe and healthy amount.
  • Do not use the term “dieting.” Dieting is often just a quick fix that results in failure. Instead, focus on making changes that you can maintain for a lifetime.
  • Determine specific actions you will take to reach your goal and customize them to fit your lifestyle. For example, you may decide you can walk for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week during your lunch break.
  • Avoid absolutes such as “always,” “never” and “must” when setting goals and creating action plans. Allow for some flexibility in your plan.
  • Do not be too hard on yourself if you get off track. The important thing is that you do not let it get you down and that you continue making healthy choices.
  • Plan for special occasions that may be more indulgent. Make adjustments in diet and exercise when needed.
  • Last but not least, stay positive!



Duyff, R.L. (2006). Complete food and nutrition guide (3rd ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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Last update: Monday, April 04, 2016