Dr. Elissa Epel: Control Stress for Healthy Eating, Metabolism & Aging | Huberman Lab Podcast
In a riveting episode of the Huberman Lab podcast, Dr. Elissa Epel, renowned for her work on stress, discusses the profound impact of stress on various aspects of health, including mood, eating behavior, mental health, physical health, and aging.
She delves into the effectiveness of different stress intervention tools, the importance of certainty and control, and the influence of stress on obesity and compulsive eating.
The episode provides invaluable insights into stress management and its role in promoting healthier lifestyles.
Obesity, Reward Response, and Stress
Individuals with obesity can exhibit a different reward response to stress, with insulin resistance playing a significant role.
The more insulin resistant they are, the more their reward center lights up during stress.
This can lead to compulsive eating and further weight gain.
We can remind ourselves to be the lion. It’s not that we’re always the lion or the gazelle; we get to shape that. Why have you ever dealt with any situation like this? Remind yourself of past successes. Remind yourself of someone you can call or feel supported by. – Dr. Elissa Epel
Mindful Eating for Compulsive Eating
Mindful eating and developing self-regulation skills can help manage compulsive eating and insulin resistance, leading to long-term weight loss.
Interventions for binge eating may include top-down strategies like mindful awareness and separating emotions from hunger, and environmental changes to remove food triggers.
The Power of Mindfulness
Mindfulness-based stress reduction training during pregnancy has shown significant positive effects on both the mother and the baby.
Such interventions include meditation, mindful check-ins, mindful breathing, and movement, helping individuals become aware of their thoughts and emotions, reduce stress, and refocus their attention.
Surfing Life’s Waves
Adopting a receptive body stance and letting time unfold naturally can help navigate uncertainty.
Two types of stress management approaches, the ‘forward Center of Mass’ and the receptive mode, offer different benefits.
The former provides agency while the latter allows for ease and discernment.
Creating a Coherent Narrative
Creating a coherent narrative is critical to making sense of stressful experiences and finding meaning and resolution.
It is not what happens, but how it is interpreted and responded to that matters.
Positive Stress and Stress Resilience
Studying positive stress and short-term bursts of stress can provide insights into how stress can be beneficial for the body and mind.
Body-based stress intervention tools, such as breathwork and exercise, can promote stress resilience and improve mental health.
Creating a coherent narrative is critical to our ability to make sense, find meaning, find resolution, have a social identity around our lived experience. – Dr. Elissa Epel
The Role of Sugary Drinks
Liquid sugar, as in soda and energy drinks, can have a detrimental effect on insulin and glucose regulation.
These drinks may be part of a stress response and a hedonic cycle.
Shifting societal norms and lobbying efforts are needed to address the perniciousness of sugary drinks.
Rebellion as a Tool for Healthier Behaviors
Activating a sense of rebellion can be a powerful tool in promoting healthier behaviors, especially among younger generations.
Dissonance, or showing people how the food industry manipulates and designs addictive foods, can help reduce eating disorders and reward drive.