Today, I’m talking briefly about the implications that stress has on weight – important stuff! I know that some of you might be dying for me to get into the food aspect of weight loss, but the things I’ve covered in the first three parts of my Raw Food Weight Loss Series are all soooo soooo soooo important and this is no different. You see, this is about weight loss, yes. And, all of the things I discuss pertain to it and will help you lose weight. One of the reasons many diets fail is because people only pay attention to the food portion. That’s a big part of it, but it’s not the whole picture. All of these other topics are critical to your weight loss success and getting to your perfect weight – for good! Plus! Even though you might be trying to lose weight that doesn’t mean it’s just about weight loss. This is a lifestyle. This is about healthy living. This is about feeling amazing day in and day out. My goal with this series is to share with you the tools to help you not only achieve an awesomely sexy bod, but to make you feel good all over from your head (that means inside your head, too!) to your tootsies.
In Part 3, I shared with you some easy ways to burn extra calories through the day with Cumulative Calorie Burning. Have any of you been working on that? How is it going?
In Part 2, we talked about journaling what you eat and how you feel with respect to the foods you’re eating. Counting calories was not the goal. I want to see if you’re tracking your food intake and if it makes a difference to you when you step back and look at the day’s foods with how you felt regarding energy, mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. Look for patterns that can help you make better foodie decisions in the future. I also mentioned that I want you to start measuring “something” so you can track your progress on this journey. A scale is a good way for tracking weight, but only weigh yourself once a week. That’s the rule.
Now, we’re going to attack stress. I always knew that stress could wreak havoc on the body. I mean, how can you not know that? Don’t ya just feel awful when you’re stressed? All tense and edgy… But, I never realized the connection between stress, hormones, and weight gain. Here’s the basic thing you need to know… when you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone, and this hormone, while helpful during legitimate fight-or-flight situations, can be problematic when called upon too much. If you’re body is constantly producing cortisol, you’re likely to have weight issues. (I won’t even get into the long list of other crap that stress can do to you – we’ll stick to just the weight gain aspect today.) You can have a super clean diet, but if you’re pumping out cortisol all the time because you’re stressed, then it’s no bueno! In fact, even worrying about stress can be stressful! Argh! We have enough challenges when it comes to weight loss, we don’t need cortisol added to it. And, here’s how bitchy cortisol can be… it tends to display itself as belly fat, sometimes by moving healthier fat from other areas of your body and slapping it right on your belly which can cause real health risks. (According to current theories, this is because there are more cortisol receptors there.)
Stress eating? Cortisol can increase cravings for unhealthy foods and it can also cause imbalances in your other hormones, such as hormones useful for properly regulating your appetite. If your appetite isn’t in check, then you end up eating more, which can cause chemicals in the brain to flow and make you feel good. When this happens enough times – WHAM! – you’re in a vicious cycle where you actually, unknowingly, manage your stress (and cortisol) by eating extra calories because it makes you feel good. It’s a recipe for emotional and stress-related eating that you don’t want to cook up.
So.. what to do about it?
1) First and foremost, don’t stress about your weight. Be confident that you’re going to get right where you need to be… one step at a time with healthy habits that will last a lifetime. I’m going to help you! It’s going to be work, I won’t lie, but… you can do it! So, no need to stress about it because you’re making the necessary changes now.
2) Reduce stress in other areas of your life. Sit down and make a list of all the things that stress you out on a regular basis. Then, next to those, write the ways you’re going to manage them so they don’t stress you out. Keep your list handy so you can reference it whenever you feel a stressful event coming on. This is really important! You need to do this because everything I’m teaching will help you reach your goal of living healthy, attaining your weight loss goals, and keeping the weight off. Don’t blow this one off. Take it as seriously as you do watching the food you eat. Yes, really!
3) Although I will go into fitness more in the future, it bears discussing now. Exercise is a MAJOR stress reducer. Like, OMG, it makes you feel sooooo friggin’ great. Check with your doc if you need to, and then start working out! Get your booty moving. If you’re new to working out, then consider easing into it, but do something! (I’ll be talking about this A LOT in the future.)
You have a lot to work on for the next couple of weeks. Finding some tips to manage your stress… exercising… and catching up on last week’s homework if you haven’t done it yet.
Is stress a major factor in your life? How do you manage it? Share here so others can hear!