The #1 Technique to Reduce Stress and Lose Weight
With all the demands on your schedule, the people in your life wanting your attention from your boss to your children, you are stressed. Whether we are stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we really are in danger, our bodies respond like we are about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives (or run like heck).
To respond to this constant ‘perceived’ danger, our bodies answer this need with many physiological changes such as a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism and more blood flow to our muscles, and other changes.
Constant stress however, triggers not just weight gain, but a host of other health dangers. One such trigger is the hormone Cortisol, which is important during times of stress, but if chronically triggered, can result in weight gain in the following ways:
- Metabolism. Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience
- Cravings. Ok, you’re stressed. Do you reach for a nice salad or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? I’ll bet on the latter. Chronic stress triggers cravings for more fatty, salty and sugary foods, leading to weight gain.
- Blood Sugar Imbalances. Prolonged stress can change your blood sugar levels causing not just low-level inflammation, but mood swings, fatigue and hunger = Weight gain.
- Fat Storage. Chronic stress can effect where we store fat and unfortunately, it is in the abdominal area. Abdominal fat is linked with greater health risks compared to fat stored in other areas of the body.
So what is a stressed person to do??
Yes, I know you keep hearing the beating of the exercise drum, but for good reason. Exercise is the #1 stress reduction technique known. You may know that there are many physical health benefits to exercising such as reducing inflammation, reducing heart disease and increasing our quality of life along with our longevity. Why? Because exercise reduces low-level inflammation that you cannot necessarily feel right now, but you will feel the effects down the road.
How does exercise benefit you?
- Exercise relaxes muscles.
- Exercise utilizes stress hormones that can cause health problems.
- Exercise will give you a feeling of well-being.
- Exercise can reduce built-up frustration.
- Exercise helps you look better and thus feel more confident.
- Exercise reduces the impact of illness.
- Exercise creates resiliency to stress events.
As you can see, exercise is a critical key not just for stress reduction…but in reducing inflammation as well and this will lead to a better, healthier quality of life.