Are you trying to lose weight and not getting the results you are hoping for despite working your butt off and eating healthy? Stress affects weight loss or more precisely: the way you react and deal with stress. Everyone has stress in their life and that is totally inevitable. But how you deal with it, makes a huge difference in your overall health and in the weigh loss department.
So this is how stress affects weight loss and prevents us from reaching our goals. It all has to do with the infamous cortisol hormone, so called the stress hormone. It is produced by the adrenal glands and released during a sudden crisis in order to regulate blood pressure and the immune function. This crisis causes the body to go into fight-or-flight mode in which cortisol has an important role: to conserve energy. It is a survival mechanism; great if you are being chased by a wild animal but in our age, we don’t really need to rely on this mechanism too often…thank God. However, our body is not that smart and it cannot distinguish a real threat from a perceived danger (our perception of a stressful situation). Overtime, this increased release of cortisol may lead to high blood pressure and disruption of blood sugar levels. In turn, this will make us crave carbs, it will increase our appetite, make our bodies store fat around the midsection. So even if don’t eat more that usual, you will still gain weight if your adrenals are releasing too much cortisol.
The bottom line is that we need to learn how stress affects weight loss, we need to learn how to de-stress and how to help our bodies deal with stress in order to be healthy.
There are countless methods and tips on how to distress; you just need to find what works for you. I will share my top 10 tips that work for me:
- A good kickboxing class, especially one where I get to hit the heavy bag.
- Calling one of my close friends and having a good chat.
- Listening to music that makes me want to dance.
- Going for a run.
- A glass of red wine (I try my best to stick to only one).
- Shoulder and neck massage.
- Laughing with my kids.
- Using lavender essential oil, in a bath or rubbing it on my temples.
- Relaxing in a child’s pose for a few minutes.
- And if it all fails: crying it out or screaming (my neighbors may seem I am crazy but after 5 minutes I feel amazing).