Most people eat more when stressed. But, stress shouldn’t be the reason you don’t lose weight – or the reason you put on weight.
And, because it’s impossible to live a stress-free life, food shouldn’t be the go-to reliever. What you need to do is figure out how to deal with your stress.
The link between stress and weight gain
The truth is, stress isn’t the problem. We need stress to get us moving, to help us achieve more, to get us through the challenges we face in life… The real problem is DISTRESS – a result of how we manage our stress.
When you face a stressful situation, your adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol and adrenalin. Together these hormones prepare your mind and body for your best fight or flight response. And, glucose, fatty acids and triglycerides are flooded into your blood. Problem is, you don’t burn off this glucose because you sit most of your day.
And, if you don’t manage your stress, you’ll feel helpless and anxious for hours, days, weeks – even months sometimes. And chronic elevations of cortisol are toxic to every single tissue in your bodies. Cortisol refuels your appetite, so you eat more. But, if you change your attitude towards stress itself and “stressful” situations, you’ll be able to manage it better and it won’t become the reason you eat more. So how can you control your stress?
Four things to help you deal with stress
1. Use this exercise to relax
Before you leave home, mid-morning, just before lunch, mid-afternoon and before you go to bed every day, do this breathing exercise. It’ll help regulate your mood and increase oxygen in the body.
- Inhale deeply through your nose for four counts (pushing the air down into your belly while keeping your shoulders as still as possible).
- Hold your breath for seven counts.
- Exhale through your mouth for eight counts. Repeat
2. Take action
It’s important to have an “action plan” of how you’ll handle a recurring stressful situation. This could be something as simple as doing breathing exercises and drinking a glass of water when your boss upsets you. You could do this for five minutes and push the thought of your arrogant boss out of your mind. Others prefer walking outside in the fresh air or watching a comedy, run up and down stairs, etc…
Exercise can really help you cope with stress. It releases endorphins, which leave you feeling good and more relaxed.
Comedy shows, movies, dates with friends… are all activities that can help you laugh more. Laughing programs your mind to see the lighter side of life which in turn helps combat stress.