Friday, March 28, 2014

How Does Stress Affect Weight Loss

Stress does play an important role in your weight loss results.  Now that doesn’t mean that if you are under stress you can’t lose weight or if you are stressed that you should use that as an excuse to not try!  There are ways to work around it and still reach your own goals.

Increased Cortisol Release

Cortisol release under chronic stress can make weight loss difficult for a couple of reasons. High levels of the hormone attack muscle mass, slowing metabolism due to the fact that muscle burns calories to simply exist. Additionally, unwanted cortisol release results in the storage of fat mostly in the abdominal area for later energy use. According to the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service, other signs of elevated cortisol levels are high blood glucose levels, high blood pressure and fatigue.
I have heard this so many times that stress can cause increase in abdominal fat!  EEEKKK!!!! This is enough for me to find a few way to decrease my stress level.  Belly fat is something that I find as my problem area regardless.  So what can I do!?!
When I feel stressed out there are a few things that I do:
  1. Go for a run and download Craig Holiday’s 90 Days to Excellence on my Ipod and get my personal development and release some stress by running.
  2. Take  a bubble bath and indulge in a good book.
  3. SHOPPING- I’m a huge proponent of retail therapy! It’s always my go to!  Nothing feels better than some new Victorias Secret Underwear and comfy clothes!!! 🙂
  4. Chat with a good friend- you know them!  You know those friends that you can call day or night and they will just instantly make you smile and feel better about yourself!!   
  5. Wine- Now I’m not saying go out and get drunk.  But a glass of wine and a warm cozy blanket can make anyone just melt away the stress.  
  6. Sleep- for me when I’m having a bad day, hitting the hay a little earlier and doing some deep breathing before bed really settles me down for the night.  I always wake up refreshed and ready to hit the ground running the next day!!!





Response to Stress

Under events of stress, adrenal responses in the body are triggered. This response is known as the fight or flight response. Glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue are activated for use as a quick energy source. This uptake of energy was highly efficient in caveman days, while under attack from a tiger for example. Cavemen simply used this surge of energy to either run away or fight. Modern man is wired in the same fashion; however the difference is stress sources that plague modern life generally do not require running away or fighting. According to a 2005 article from the University of New Mexico, this stress response can lead to loss of muscle mass, increased fat storage and impulses to overeat.


Metabolism and Stress

A March 2006 article in the “British Medical Journal” stated that employees with chronic work stress have more than double the odds of metabolic syndrome than those without work stress. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for stroke and Type II diabetes. The study also provided evidence for the likelihood of links to stress from everyday life with heart disease as well.
As we age our metabolism slows down so this is like a double whammy!  So refer back to the strategies above and decrease your stress!  Or do what I do, find a job that doesn’t feel like you ever work a day in your life!!!  
Yup that was a plug for Beachbody Coaching!!  Ahhh my passion in life!
Food Cravings

Often thought of as an excuse to eat, food cravings and overeating actually have a factual basis behind this effect of stress. Experiencing stressful situations cause the body to undergo a variety of hormonal changes, including the release of adrenaline and cortisol. When a tense situation is over, the release of cortisol results in an increase of appetite. Under chronic stress, these cravings can lead to unwanted weight gain due to high level of cortisol release in the body.
I swear when we are stressed all ability to make good food choices goes out the window and we just grab whatever we think is going to be the most comforting first.  That can lead to sweets for me!!!  There are trigger foods that I can’t even keep in the house anymore. For example, Food Should Taste Good brand Tortilla chips. While they are full of healthier ingredients when you eat half the bag yourself that nutritional value totally cancels itself out.  Or you make the cookie dough greek yogurt as a snack but you double the portion size.  That cancels out the healthy benefits as well.
Stress Relief
So stress and emotional eating even on clean foods can still be detrimental to your progress.  I would do your best to really focus on replacing your emotional eating with other activities.  Like the list above.  I also think to myself, in times of stress is this food really going to make me feel better?  NO.
Instead it’s going to make me feel guilty, bloated, and mad at myself and the stress will still be there!  In my opinion not worth it!  Imagine that STOP sign as you are walking to the pantry and remember food will not make you feel better or solve your problems.
The Key to Keeping Stress Away is Preventing It.. Yeah, Right 😉 

I know that all stress cannot be avoided but I do my best to remove myself from situations that would cause undo stress.  For example, distancing myself from negative people, surrounding myself with like minded people, regular exercise is my stress relief, and teaching myself that worrying is not going to change the outcome of the situation.  But embracing the changes, dealing with what comes at me in the moment and doing my best to plan the future has kept my stress levels in check.  
While yes there are life situations that we cannot control like the loss of a job, death in the family, ect…. We just deal with that the best we can and remember that we cannot control everything in life but we can live our life with integrity, trust and health!!!  
Surround yourself with positive people
What areas of your life can you relieve stress to improve your over all well being?
Article was originally from http://www.livestrong.com/article/255134-how-stress-affects-weight-loss/.


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