Impact of Meal Planning on Stress Level

Topics: Management, Anxiety, Stress Pages: 4 (901 words) Published: September 29, 2014
Stress can become a major problem when it is a constant in daily life (American Heart Association, 2011). When stress becomes chronic it can steal the pleasure and productivity from your life. Chronic stress can lead to many major health problems because it disrupts almost every system of the human body (Smith, Segal, Segal, 2013). One of the many side effects of stress is weight gain and that in itself can have meant unhealthy side effects (Nelson, Kocos, Lytle & Perry, 2009). I find that I am experiencing stress in my daily life in levels above the “low zone” outlined by the American Heart Association. This leads me to feelings of unproductiveness and a lack of motivation. My grades and personal relationships have suffered from my inability to control stress as well as my health and weight. Figuring out what to eat and making healthy choices is one of my every day worries that weighs me down, adding to my stress in a subtle way yet inescapable way. “Dr. Robert Sapolsky, stress expert and neurology professor at Stanford, says we all need to commit to regular stress management and learn how to “pump the brakes” on stress without loading it onto other people.” (AHA, 2011, ¶3). Therefore in this adjustment project I will be focusing on meal planning and portion control as a way of managing my stress. Method

My adjustment project occurred over a four week period. The first week of my project was used to acquire baseline data about my stress levels as compared to whether or not meals were planned ahead of time. The second and third weeks were used to collect data about my stress levels when just dinner was planned in advance and the fourth week was having both lunch and dinner planned out in advance. Over the course of these four weeks I was hoping to find whether or not planning meals so they would not be a daily worry would affect my stress levels.

Initially I because recording my stress levels on a scale provided by the AHA every night to acquire a...


References: American Heart Association. (2011, February 9). What Is Stress Management? American Heart Association Learn and Live. December 8, 2013, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/ GettingHealthy/StressManagement/FightStressWithHealthyHabits/What-Is-Stress-Management_UCM_3210 76_Article.jsp
Keiley, L. (2006). The Secret to Stress Relief. Mother Earth News. (216), 68-71.
Nelson, M. C., Kocos, R., Lytle, L. A., & Perry, C. L. (2009). Understanding the Perceived Determinants of Weight-related Behaviors in Late Adolescence: A Qualitative Analysis among College Youth. Journal Of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 41(4), 287-292.
Smith, M. Segal, R. Segal, J. (2013, November). Stress Symptoms, Signs and Causes: The Effects of Stress Overload and What You Can Do About It. Helpguide.org: A Trusted Non-Profit Resource. December 8, 2013, http://www.helpguide.org/mental/ stress_signs.htm
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