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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lose Weight by learning to Cope with Stress

What is Stress and how can it harm you:

If you are in a constant state of stress then your body reacts by producing cortisol which directly impacts your ability to lose weight. In fact Cortisol a stress hormone causes you to gain weight and most particularly in your belly! Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and controls:
  • Proper glucose metabolism
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
  • Immune function
  • Inflammatory response
Higher& prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream have been shown to have negative effects, such as:
  • Impaired cognitive
  • Suppressed thyroid
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • loss in bone density
  • loss in muscle tissue
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body
Often we live in a state of stress and we know NO different. Often we want to live there because we know of no other way to live. Scary fact but it's true. I often wonder if I function better under some level of stress or pressure vs none at all. Perhaps we all do. But let's talk about stress to the point that it impacts your hunger, emotions, sleep, controls the way you interact with others, causes you to perhaps isolate or withdraw from those around, causes a depression or perhaps a constant worry.

Stresses can include:
  • Not Eating enough
  • Improper fueling
  • Improper recovery
  • Over-training
  • Work
  • Children
  • Financial
  • School
  • Environmental pressure
  • Social pressure
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Family
  • Personal Health
  • Family Health

Tips to Help you Overcome Your Stresses
  • Self knowledge- learn if you are indeed feeling stressed by paying closest attention to your body such as breathing, pulse, tension in your jaw/neck, headaches, nausea, feelings of anxiousness. perhaps extreme responses to normal daily stresses. exhaustion, loss or increased appetite, crying, escape, explosive or compulsive behavior
  • Find your Best Way to Relax: read, sleep, take a hot bath, talk to a friend, listen to music
  • Create a support network- don't fight this world alone- find a friend a family or an outside outlet to whom you can express yourself too. a Fresh and new perspective can be enlightening to you
  • Go for a Run- Walk- Exercise: Fitness can be a great outlet for getting out frustrations and stress. You can leave it out all out there and let it all out through your sweat.
  • Make lists: what causes you stress, what makes you smile
  • Find a hobby: find an activity you can get excited or happy about beyond what you are already doing
  • explore- life is short and we lack all sorts of adventure in our life. We get stuck in our routine and often people lead themselves into trouble when they adventure into unhealthy adventures such as drugs/alcohol/gambling and promiscuity
  • Meditation
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Turn to your Faith or establish a Belief system that you can turn to for hope
  • Make sure you are fueling yourself with wholesome and nutritious foods. Excess sugar and free radicals will only exaggerate your stress and make you feel worse. Spikes in glucose is not a good shock to the system and will only further physically stress you more
  • Become a problem solver: Identify your problem and actually write down solutions and create a plan
  • Ask for help: all to often we go about solving problems on our own. We can seek advice and it does not make you any less than a perfect human being- simply means you need a little direction
  • Sleep: Make sure you are not getting any more or less than 7-8hrs of sleep a night.  Science proves the less we sleep the less our body's are rested and prepared for the day ahead with restoring balance to our body. Avoid over-sleeping which is often a problem with chronic stress which can lead to temporary depressions.
  • Avoid stressful situations: how many times do you put yourself into stressful situations because it's familiar, because you want to help etc. - stop doing that!
  • Set priorities in your life: sometimes the best way to combat stress is to make a list and set your priorities straight. Instead of not balancing any of your life you can try to balance most of it.
  • Do something for others to take your mind off yourself
  • Try to be positive. Embracing and accepting the negative is so unhealthy- at least try to keep your optimism and hope for a stress free life

If you are doing everything perfect and at a loss as to why are eating really healthy and clean and in calorie count, why you work out diligently and yet you can't lose weight....well then maybe some of these tips can help you break through your plateau, help you maintain your weight loss or even just speed up your weight loss!

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