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Your Healthy Family: Pandemic stress eating and the dangers and science behind it

Posted at 5:17 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 15:36:39-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — How many stories about how to eat right, and not gain weight during our stay at home orders have you seen or heard? I have heard many of them, and if you're like me -- just hearing them isn't really helping me avoid the pitfalls.

Dr. Kristen Kells, D.C., B.S.c. owns Dr. Kells' Weight Loss in Colorado Springs. She has traveled her own weight loss path, losing 80 pounds nearly 20 years ago, and has been working ever since to research the science and help others find a healthy way of living.

Dr. Kells says, “If putting a food plan in front of somebody or reading a story or an email worked, we would all be in perfect condition and have a six-pack.”

Like so many of us, Dr. Kells is also dealing with the stresses and challenges of living life under quarantine and social distancing because of the global pandemic. She is doing it on a personal level as a wife and mother, and a small business owner.

When Colorado Governor Jared Polis ordered all non-essential business to close, Dr. Kells explains, “We just scrambled, around the clock. Literally overnight, we transitioned everybody to their home so that we can still be fully functional and serve our clients. I am so blessed to have a full team working right now and that we can keep everybody employed and helping our clients. They're answering texts, phone calls, holding virtual meetings to follow up with clients. We've been able to do everything virtually and I’m a little surprised we have so many people doing so well!”

Emotional eating driven by stress and anxiety is something her team constantly helps clients learn how to cope with, but the isolation and stress brought on in our society by coronavirus has brought that issue to a new level for many.

Dr. Kells says, “I've never seen anything like this before, nor has anybody alive. There's so much going on, and eating is one of those things that is a big challenge. Just being healthy is a big challenge.”

As she learned for herself over the years, Dr. Kells says there is a science behind why some people are so susceptible to eating their emotions. “Most people don't realize that in our gut we have more serotonin receptors that antidepressants target. It’s that piece of our brain that tells us our happy thoughts. When we crave food there is a reason for it. Our gut has its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system, and it has serotonin receptors that are denser and more populated than in our brain. So there is a reason that we stress eat. When we crave food there is a reason for it.”

Dr. Kells also points out that this is an important time to think about losing weight and getting healthy. Looking forward to a healthier body may be key to avoiding the worst symptoms COVID-19 can bring on. “We know that the mortality factors for COVID-19 and other illnesses are things like obesity, heart disease, lung problems and diabetes. So the things we can control [in terms of fighting the disease] are our health issues.”

While we wait for treatments, and a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, Dr. Kells says you don't have to wait to make positive changes in your life during this very abnormal time when we might be tempted to go the other way. “When people start our program we say to them, ‘This is not about us dictating something to you, this is about us working in partnership with you, to empower you.’ A lot of people can do quick fast weight loss and get skinny, but it's about being healthy for a lifetime. I think if we allow this situation to change us in positive ways, use it as a time for healing, self-care, self-improvement, focusing on our health, our family and our relationships and on nature, we will be a better, kinder world. That's my hope; that's what gets us all through this. What does it look like on the other end? We can use this time to help ourselves and others.”

Finally, if you think now is not the time to spend money on a healthier lifestyle, Dr. Kells says, “People are financially dealing with a lot of insecurities right now, and we as a small business are working really hard with people that do want to get healthy, but have some insecurities around that. We're getting creative just like a lot of small businesses are, so there are many possibilities like spreading out payments, and other ways we can help people.”

If you are interested in learning more about Kells’ Weight Loss Center, you can visit them on Facebook, or go directly to their webpage (HERE) or give them a call in Colorado Springs at 719-259-0773.

Kellls’ Weight Loss is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family