Stress is something that often goes over the top of our heads.
We tend to not really think about it that much or the impact it could be having on us.
Daily stressors including work, family life and our emotions have an impact on our body and it’s physiological functions.
Before you read any further, ask yourself these questions:
Do you feel…
…stressed a lot of the time?
…under pressure at home or at work a lot of the time?
…anxious a lot of the time?
If you answered yes to any of these perhaps you suffer from chronic stress.
Why is this?
During periods of stress there are physiological changes happening in the body.
Our adrenal glands govern our stress response by secreting hormones relative to our stress levels.
When the adrenal glands are overworked, which happens when you are stressed, the body prepares for disaster (fight or flight response).
The body stores fat and calories in this time. You feel very low in energy. Crave certain high sugar/high fat foods. And you find you can easily gain weight and it’s difficult to lose weight.
Due to the increased levels of cortisol, the body does not respond well to leptin, which is the hormone that makes us feel full/satisfied. Meaning you will have more of an appetite and want to eat more.
When there is consistently elevated levels of cortisol, the body thinks it needs continuous extra fuel. Typically it will store the extra glucose as fat around the abdomen.
Fat stored around the abdomen can be a sign of adrenal fatigue. Meaning they are overworked which is more than likely having a negative impact on your weight loss.
So what can you do?
Reduce the stress in your life is the most obvious thing to do but it isn’t always the easiest.
Evaluate your situation. Think about it.
Then decide if there are any stressors that can be removed from your life.
If not, you need to find ways to manage the stress levels in your life.
How to manage stress
A healthy nutritious diet is vital. The body uses up many nutrients when under stressful situations. It is important you replenish your body all the time with nutritious foods. Your body uses in particular the B-vitamins very quickly when in stressful situations. Ensure you are eating B-vitamin rich foods such as wholegrains, oily fish, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds and nuts.
Take that little bit of time for yourself. No you are not being selfish. Making time for this is just as important as anything else. You just don’t prioritize it high enough but taking a little time out can help you reduce levels of stress, help you see things differently and can help promote a good nights sleep.
To cope with all the goings on in your life, an appropriate 8 hours of sleep per night is needed. So you can function optimally and deal with difficult situations.
Exercise can be a huge mood booster. In truth nobody has ever done some exercise and felt worse after it. Not unless you have some medical condition which makes it painful. Exercise is a powerful tool for reducing stress levels and also aiding weight loss.
Life is for living. You have to do some fun things every now and again. Laughter is one of the best medicines.
Having a negative attitude will not help you manage stress. However, looking at things in a more positive light, you will have an ability to perceive situations in a different way. Which will help you manage stress.
Be aware of how you feel. If you feel something coming on that is making you feel stressed, be aware that you need to take action and not allow it to build up.
It’s important to realise that when you are embarking on a new lifestyle journey all parts of life need to be considered. Stress can negatively impact health, increase weight but also make it difficult to lose weight. Look at the whole picture and focus on building health that focuses on not only physical but mental and emotional health. As they all counteract with one another.
Remember health isn’t defined by what is on the scales. Health is defined by fueling your body with the best possible food, exercising regularly and having good sound emotional and mental health.
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