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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stress and Weight/Ways to Reduce Stress

When it comes to weight loss - for the most part, It's Not Rocket Science.  Expend more calories than you consume.  It's not always that easy though.  A thyroid condition may significantly affect your metabolism, for instance.  Another factor may be the fact that you are stressed out and ineffectively managing stress.  There is a stress hormone, Cortisol, that can effect your weight.  If your body is constantly in a state of stress or you go through a period of ongoing stress, the continually elevated cortisol 1.) contributes to craving for high caloric and fatty and sugary foods, 2.) makes your body more resistant to insulin which then contributes to fat storage,  and 3.) contributes to fat being relocated from other areas of your body to your abdominal area.  There is also an enzyme called 11-beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase-1 or HSD that exists all throughout your body and converts an inactivive form of corisol (cortisone) back into cortisol (contributing to the higher abdominal fat buildup). 

There is really only one suggestion to try to keep your cortisol levels under control - figure out ways to keep your body from staying in a state of constant stress. 

1.  Don't sweat the Small Stuff - You really need to prioritize things and let other things go if they are stressing you out so much that your health is being negatively impacted.
2.  Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
3.  Breathe and laugh -  sounds like common sense but alot of folks forget.
4.  Realize that you can't do it all and don't be afraid to ask for help - you are no good to anyone if you're no longer around.
5.  Don't be so hard on yourself.
6.  Try things like meditation, yoga, and massage therapy.
7.  Have balance in your life.
8.  Know how to unwind/wind down/relax - it could be as easy as a hot bath or a glass of wine at night.
9.  Exercise - it helps lower cortisol levels.
10.  Eat a healthy diet.

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