Stress and Your Body Weight
Stress is everywhere and we hear about it constantly in our day to day lives. People seem to always be complaining about something. We really need and want to hear the happier things that life has to offer.
Take a Step Back
We need to sit down and take a deep breath to really take a step back from this crazy world we live in. The world today is a very fast paced and high tech environment in which can cause some ease in our lives overall but if we are not careful can also cause an extremely high stressed life. “I have no time for myself,” “My life is a mess,” “I hate my job,” “I spend all my time running around in traffic,” “My life is measured by what tests I pass and don’t pass,” “My boss is horrible, I’m so stressed out and over it.”
Sound familiar? Of course it does, because we all think these inaccurate thoughts and get so caught up in this fast paced world we live in.
We all deal with stress in different ways, but one particular way I deal with stress is to try and take one step, one day, one task at a time.
Think about it like an Ironman Competition. Most people look at the whole competition and can’t fathom finishing a distance that is so far and long. But as athletes competing in a competition as long as an Ironman all mostly look at it in segments and pick apart each discipline in mini goals throughout the race.
Focusing on the swim first and getting yourself in rhythm and not being distracted and or overwhelmed by what is ahead of you. Try to take one step at a time in life and achieve one goal at a time in order to complete tasks more efficiently with the least amount of stress.
In the face of stress-creating thoughts, our brain-body connection typically first curtails our appetites, but as short-term stress turns into daily chronic stress, our neuroendocrine system doesn’t do us any favors.
Adrenaline, corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and a disrupted cortisol rhythm go to work and, over time, increase our appetites, causing us to have more active and passive eating as we sit and stew.
All of this stress-inducing thinking and cortisol raises our blood sugar, creates cravings, reduces our ability to actually burn fat, increases the rate at which we store fat, causes hormonal imbalances, leaves our cells less sensitive to insulin, increases abdominal fat (the most risky for our health) and raises our levels of fat and triglycerides. This is the perfect mix for a diabetic and that is a perfect example of emotional eating.
After analyzing urine samples, researchers found that the women who had consumed the least food had the highest levels of cortisol. Not surprisingly, these same women also reported more stress during what researchers called “daily food-related experiences.” In short, the more they restricted food intake, the greater their levels of stress hormones, and, ultimately, the more they wanted to eat.
Here are some key indicators of emotional stress-related eating:
- It comes on suddenly and is urgent (“I must eat right now”).
- It’s often for a specific food rather than for different foods (“I have to have ice cream and nothing else will do”).
- It’s based in your thoughts about a certain food instead of on rumblings in your stomach (“I can’t stop thinking of that cheesecake”).
- It’s based on an emotion such as stress, instead of a physical need (“I’m so stressed I have to eat to calm chocolate down”).
- Feeling full doesn’t stop the eating (“I’m still upset so I’ll still eat more”).
- The eating is often mindless or automatic (“I didn’t even realize I ate that large pizza”).
- Often ends with guilt-feelings (“I can’t believe I ate that whole birthday cake”).
The best thing we can do is to try and prevent stress from building up and immediately assess the feeling of stress at the source. Feel stressed? Immediately ask yourself, “What am I thinking that’s making me feel stressed?” There are so many time where you cannot do anything about a situation that is stressing you out.
You have to take the positive route and start taking those steps back to living a healthier and happier life. I always take a step back and think about what really makes me happy and try not to take anything for granted.
Complacency is probably one of the worst aspects in American society. We have everything and anything at our fingertips and technology is making it easier and even more convenient to get things done.
When things don’t go our way we tend to throw our hands up and complain about it instead of working hard and having the patience to get things done. Fitness and nutrition is a way of life and is a constant battle but if you look at it as a lifestyle and not a luxury then you have won the battle.
Here are some steps that will help you understand how to make fitness and nutrition a part of a fun, fit, and healthy lifestyle and some ways to curtail your stress and start taking back your life in order to live in a more positive way.
#1 Exercise in a Group
Exercise in a group class like Roworx Fitness in Long Beach. Exercise is one of the best things you can do in order to annihilate stress and group fitness is the best fitness!
Who has the time to workout, train, and be disciplined on fitness on their own? Studies show that we are motivated to work harder, show up more often, and push further past our perceived limits when training in a group.
The results of one study suggest that endorphin release is significantly greater in group training than in individual training; this seems to be the case even when the individual’s power output, or physical exertion, is the same.
It not only burns calories, when you move your body, even with a simple activity such as walking, you begin to produce a cascade of biochemicals, at least some of which counter the negative effects of stress hormones as well as control insulin and sugar levels.
#2 Balance Your Diet
Eat a balanced diet and never skip a meal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but you need to also and try to consume six small rather than three huge meals a day, with foods from all the food groups.
By eating smaller meals you actually naturally increase your metabolism and your body works more efficiently to break down foods.
Eating smaller meals also helps keep blood sugar levels steady, which in turn put a damper on insulin production and eventually reduce cortisol levels which all help in order to control appetite and weight.
Make sure to incorporate these high fiber snacks and bars in your diet in order to control those hunger pains and neutralize any high sugar.
#3 Get Some Sleep
Sleep at least 7-9 hours a night. Everything in your body starts shutting down quickly when we don’t get enough rest. Our body does not work efficiently and you start to see weight gain sooner.
#4 Cut the Alcohol
Cut out cigarettes and alcohol from your daily or weekly routine. Cigarettes and Alcohol can cause cortisol levels to rise, stress to increase, blood sugar to drop and hunger to prevail. Drinking too much alcohol can affect blood sugar and insulin levels as well as eat away at muscle tissue and lead to enormous amounts of caloric intake.
Tags: exercise and stress, exercise helps stress, fitness helps reduce stress, Jack Nunn, juice plus, long beach fitness, nutrition helps stress, Roworx, stress and eating, stress and food, stress makes you fat, ways to reduce stress
Jack Nunn is the head trainer and owner of Roworx. Jack is a former national team rower who has competed in more than 100 triathlons, including 9 full Ironmans. He has created a system of rowing that prepares the whole body for both competition and fitness longevity.