If you’re anything like me, some days (more like every day!) you find yourself wishing for more hours in the day. Our obligations pull us in 10 directions at once and sometimes it seems like we can’t even catch our breath. While life can often seem overwhelming, managing this daily stress is key to weight management! Studies have shown again and again that chronic stress leads to weight gain and obesity. The science around stress and our bodies can be confusing, so let’s break it down piece by piece:
Stress causes the body to to produce the hormone cortisol, which plays a big part in blood sugar levels. Cortisol causes the body to become what is known as “insulin resistant,” as well as increases the body’s blood sugar level. When our bodies can’t process insulin, our blood sugar levels are inconsistent. Chronic stress, or stress over a long period of time, can lead to insulin resistance, which can ultimately lead to obesity and diabetes.
While chronic stress wreaks havoc on our insides, it can also affect how we make our food choices. People who are stressed are much more likely to choose sugary, carb loaded foods than those who manage their stress well. These types of foods have become a coping mechanism for people in times of stress or high-emotions. This over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates is one of the main contributors of America’s obesity and diabetes rates. When we consume more carbs than we need, our body automatically stores the excess sugar as fat. This sugar consumption runs in a vicious cycle as well: when we consume high-sugar snacks and meals often, our bodies begin to expect and crave them. So your morning pick me up of a latte and a cream cheese covered bagel causes your blood sugar to spike, then dramatically crash, which then leads to a candy bar before lunch, and chips before dinner just to keep from crashing again.
It is VERY difficult to maintain a healthy diet while under chronic stress. So learning how to manage your stress can be a great first step toward getting back on track! If you feel like your stress is never ending, try a few of these tried and true tricks for managing it:
- Get 8 hours of sleep each night: getting enough sleep is so important for our bodies. It’s how we recover from a hard workout, recharge for the next day, and keep our metabolisms up. Getting those 8 hours is also critical for managing cortisol levels in the body. Our bodies are much more prepared to handle stress when we’re well rested.
- Meditation and deep breathing can do wonders for our stress levels. It may sound silly, but try to sit with both feet on the floor, sit up straight, and close your eyes. Really focus on your breathing and eliminate any thoughts from your mind, good or bad. Spend 5 minutes like this, breathing deeply. Breathing deeply helps slow your heart rate and blood pressure, alleviating the effects of stress.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Moving our bodies helps produce endorphins, which are basically the opposite of cortisol. Endorphins trigger a feeling of positivity within the body, combatting the effects of stress. Exercise is also great for mood improvement, better sleep, and improves self-confidence. Make sure to set aside some time every day to sweat and get your frustrations out! Making time in your schedule specifically for exercise reduces the chance that you’ll skip your workout, so make sure to plan ahead.
Stress is inevitable – we all live crazy, busy lives and have more obligations than we can keep up with. Learning to manage your stress will have a huge impact on hormone control and your weight!
If you are looking for ways to better manage your stress and increase your weight loss, I CAN HELP! My online program are designed to make healthy eating simple, taking the stress out healthy eating! They are designed to increase your energy and improve your sleep therefore reducing stress and they definitely will promote sustainable weight loss! I would love to work with you to finding and creating a healthy balance in your life! Check out more info a the link below!