THE IMPORTANCE OF IDENTIFYING STRESS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
'I'm so stressed!How many times a week do we hear this? Be it from our work colleagues, our partners, our friends or ourselves. Stress has become one of the most commonly felt emotions among millennials- but are we aware of the physical and emotional impact this is having on our body long term? The plethora of studies highlighting the link between weight gain and chronic stress demonstrates how important it is to identify this and develop coping strategies to move forward.
What happens to our body when we become stressed?
Acute stress (such as finding out you only have 10 minutes left get your 21 Day Kickstart !!) - causes our fight or flight hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol to be released. These hormones help us to become more alert and focused.
Once the stress has subsided our bodies return to their calm state. Chronic stress (such as constant deadlines) can turn what is a usual short duration, fast acting physiological response into the continuous activation not only on our nervous system but also on our immune, respiratory, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastro intestinal and endocrine system.
Now throw losing weight into the mix here and you might start to understand why this may be a challenge. During acute stress our appetite is actually subsided, and our metabolism is sped up. This is because our bodies think we need to run away and protect ourselves from something dangerous like a lion chasing us – and this is not the time for snacks! When our adrenal glands are activated long term and hormones such as cortisol are constantly secreted into our blood, insulin secretion can be overly stimulated resulting in a drop in blood glucose levels and you’ll crave high sugar, fatty foods leading to weight gain. Studies have also shown that higher levels of cortisol in the blood can be linked to an increase in the deposition and storage of fat around the abdomen which is linked to increase risk of developing heart disease.
Stress is also linked to emotional eating Stress is also linked to emotional eating. We’ve all been there. A bad day at work means no desire to cook when you get home, so it’s a pizza takeaway closely followed by a pack of cookies accompanied by our true friend - Netflix. Although this may make you feel better in the short term, long term you will be greatly increasing your daily calorie intake, driving you full speed into a calorie surplus resulting in weight gain (not to mention the lack of nutrients present). This is fine every now and then but when this is becoming a familiar trend your weight loss goals will be seriously hindered. Stress affects everyone differently. What is important is identifying what is making you stressed. Are there actions you can take to cope with the situation easier? I’ve put together a few of my tips to help you manage
Tips To Manage Stress
• Talk to friend – a problem shared, is a problem halved.
• Read a book.
• Give yourself a compliment.
• Go for a walk and immerse yourself in nature.
• Do some light exercise.
• Challenge negative thoughts.
• Take a bath.
• Prep your meals.
• Get around 8 hours sleep
• REMEMBER TO BREATHE! Take yourself away from whatever situation is causing you to stress out and remember that it isn’t the end of the world. Make yourself a cup of Tea and just take 5 minutes to chill. You can then look at the situation again from a calmer perspective. It’s important to remember that stress is a natural response. It’s absolutely fine to feel this way every now and then but if you start to notice that this feeling is coming round a little too often and you are struggling with your weight loss journey, take a step back and reflect on your current life situation. Ask yourself, do I really need to stress over this situation? I guarantee most of the time the answer will be no.
If you need any assistance or Advice please don't hesitate to contact one of our Slender Coaches at Ask@slenderyou.co.za