Usually poor diet and a lack of exercise are the two culprits blamed for a few extra kilos. It’s true, they are important players in the game of weight loss. However there is another important and critical player that’s often undervalued … Stress! In this edition of the BEET I share how Stress plays a fundamental part in controlling our weight, along with a recipe for a relaxing, rejuvenating, detoxifying, de-stressing bath! I also share a couple of exciting announcements, read on to find out what they are!
So how is stress linked with weight gain?
Stress leads to weight gain in many ways. It;
- increases our cravings for sugary carbs and other ‘comfort’ foods
- compromises our ability to digest food, leading to poor absorption and other digestive issues
- disrupts the body’s response to leptin, the hormone responsible for us feeling full. When leptin is disrupted, we don’t feel satiated and can overeat.
- makes our body ‘stingy’ with the energy in the food we eat preferring to store it in the form of fat, especially around the belly, for later use. This is thought to be a survival technique that was important for our ancestors. Today our bodies respond to stress in the same way, but the environmental conditions are vastly different.
- releases a chain of hormonal responses through the body. Back in the days of our ancestors, the stress response was designed to protect us and help us survive in a mostly perilous environment! Modern day stress doesn’t require fleeing or fighting and we generally don’t need the extra calories our bodies make available.
These days with our 24/7 lifestyles it’s common to live in a state of constant stress, operating with elevated cortisol levels over extended periods of time. Elevated cortisol levels are commonly linked to blood sugar imbalance and weight gain around the mid section too, along with other chronic illness.
Causes for elevated cortisol levels and stress are many. Most of these we are familiar with, but some we aren’t, they include;
- a lack of sleep
- constant medication
- unresolved emotional trauma
- negative relationships
- irregular meals, low nutrient processed foods and fad diets
- poor digestion and too much food
- negative mind chatter
- too much exercise
- EMFs (electronic magnetic fields). It’s commonly suspected that there is a link between EMF and chronic illness
- a lack of fun!
- the list goes on… Anything that places unwarranted, ‘artificial’ stimulation on the body or compromises the normal bodily function, can place stress on our bodies.
For many of us it’s a combination of these stressors that together place us in a state of constant stress. I’ve discussed stress a few times in The BEET, the link with extra weight reinforces again why it’s SO important to manage our stress levels. (If you have kids, I’ll also talk about this in my new on-line program, ‘Our Happy Children’ and the importance of being healthy role models for our children).
15 Rules to live by to help manage stress and reach our ideal weight;
- keep well hydrated – drink lots of water
- ditch the negative self-talk and the nay-sayers that zap your good energy
- if possible, actively work with your Doctor and/or other Health Professionals on a strategy to reduce or eliminate your medication
- eat regularly
- nourish your body with cell-loving, nutrient rich foods, especially natural plant and animal fats
- get organised and plan meals
- enjoy home-cooked meals often
- sleep at least 7 hours a night
- slow down, do less and be more i.e. we are human beings not human doings
- find a technique that works for you to be more present e.g. yoga, meditation, stop and smell the roses
- share your feelings with your best buddy i.e. share your problems and feelings with someone close to you. Create a community, your tribe to give you support and connection
- consider giving your liver a holiday and a good cleanse
- say no… thank you!
- be consistent with your efforts
- have fun
What next? If you’ve got a few extra kilos that just won’t budge and you’re feeling stressed, actively manage stress – every day, guilt free. To be truly healthy and happy, we simply have to! Life today is so different to how our ancestors (even our parents) lived and grew up. Life is now is constantly happening, our bodies aren’t designed for it, we need strategies to help us switch off. Choose one or two of the above ideas that resonate with you, give it a go, add it into your daily routine, make it enjoyable – then add another. How do you feel? What do you notice? Do you feel lighter, more energetic, happier, less moody? If you don’t notice something straight away it may be 5 days, 1 week or 2 weeks later. Keep going. You will be healthier and will reach your ideal weight at the same time!
What’s your experience with stress and weight? Please share with us here.