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Happiness and Weight Loss

The Link Between Happiness and Weight Loss

Losing weight is hard work, especially in the kitchen. Besides making your own healthy eats and timing your meals just right, celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder has another tip to help budge the number on the scale that may surprise you.

Her tip? "People always hear: don't eat when you're stressed. I say only eat when you're happy," says Kimberly, author of The Beauty Detox Power ($35). She recommends that clients take a step back from the plate when they are experiencing an unhappy or stressful moment.

As Kimberly explains, recognizing your emotions when eating isn't just about enjoying mealtime, but about digesting your food better as well. Research has shown that up to 95 percent of the hormone serotonin, which regulates happiness, is found in your gut, not just your brain. Some studies have shown a link between this gut serotonin and metabolism, while other studies have shown that stress can increase your need for more serotonin — which can manifest itself as cravings for sugary foods. Low levels of serotonin can make you eat more and crave more foods, particularly carbohydrate-rich ones, so it makes sense that eating when you're happy can put you on the right track to losing weight.

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The next time you're rummaging through the fridge or are meeting up with loved ones for lunch, take stock of how you feel. "Don't eat when you're having an intense conversation with your friends, or you're feeling very unhappy in yourself," Kimberly advises. Instead, take a break and walk around the block, or do something else until you're feeling better. If you're in a funk, drinking hot water with lemon before eating can boost your spirits, Kimberly recommends.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO
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