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Stress is a leading cause of weight gain. There are a lot of ways to stop stress and lead both a happier and healthier life. Stress causes your body to enter ‘fight or flight’ mode. In this mode, your body percieves that it is being threatened and can encourage you to eat as much as possible of your available food sources. Cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’, can cause your blood sugar to drop. This makes you more likely to crave sugary and fatty foods when you’re stressed. Let’s look at how we can stop stress from causing you to gain weight.

 

Stop Over – Eating

You now know how stress encourages you to over -eat, so you can now put actions in place to stop yourself becoming a slave to your stress. Make sure that you’re measuring out the food that you eat at each meal and make sure that you aren’t eating more than the recommended serving size. Become more mindful and realize when you’re susceptible to over – eating throughout the day. Maybe you tend to eat two or three donuts in the morning after your boss has just given you your workload for the day. The next time you go out for breakfast, identify the feeling of stress and how it’s influencing your choices. It’s time to make a change. Packing your own breakfast  is a great place to start. Make sure that you read the back of the packets of whatever foods you buy to check the recommended serving size. This will help to keep you on track and ensure that you aren’t making too big of a meal.

 

Recognize Emotional Eating

Stress can result in emotional eating. If you’re feeling unsatisfied, angry or depressed about different aspects in your life, there’s a chance that you may look to food to help you solve your problems. It’s important to think about why you’re eating an item and how you feel while you’re eating it. If you aren’t really hungry while you’re eating, then ask yourself why you started eating at all. Was it because you felt upset or bored and needed a distraction? Check out this post on How To Stop Boredom Eating if you think you’re struggling with this. By questioning your actions, you’re more likely to figure out the root of your problem and how to resolve it.

Confront Stress At The Source

It’s  important to acknowledge that by eating because you’re stressed, you’re not solving anything and in fact, you’re actually creating another problem for yourself. Why would you solve a problem with another problem? The truth is, it’s all too easy to grab some food to drown our sorrows and it’s really hard to confront the issues in our life. It can be really scary to confront your problems, but it is a necessary step to resolving issues and sometimes to losing weight. If you can’t confront your problems, they probably won’t go away. Whether you need to practice accepting something that you cannot change or you need to stand up for yourself and make a change, the first step is always the hardest but is also the most powerful. Seek professional medical help if you need to. There’s no shame in going to talk to someone about your problems. In fact, it’s a pretty courageous thing to do. It’s not always an easy path to confront your problems, but it can help you to resolve them in a deeper and longer lasting way.

 

Control The Symptoms Of Stress

 

Don’t Skip Meals

Stress affects everyone differently and brings about differnt symptoms in different people. You may deal with stress by choosing not to or forgetting to eat. Although you might view this as a way to lose weight, it more often than not results in binge eating. If you starve your body, you will likely become more and more hungry until you lose some of your control over your food and you end up over – eating. Make sure that you’re eating a healthy diet throughout the day. The best place to be is between hungry and full. When you’re feeling hungry, have a healthy snack. If you’re starting to feel full during a meal, it’s time to stop. Try to stay in that sweet spot between hungry and full, and you will be less likely to binge or over – eat. Maintaining a regular eating routine can also help to reduce stress.

Get Enough Sleep

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. If you’re getting less than eight hours, it might be a good idea to go to bed a bit earlier or schedule a sleep in. Consider trying a bed-time or early morning wake up ritual. Take the time to set aside an hour before bed without electronics to read a book or do some meditation. For early mornings, set aside an hour to ease into your day with a coffee and newspaper before you launch into checking your phone or work schedule. These rituals can help to relieve stress by easing you into and out of your day.

Exercise

If you aren’t already, consider doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day. Exercise can be a great way to let your body release some of it’s pent up energy and can also help to wear it out, giving you less enegy to over – think stressful activities later on. The endorphins released during exercise can help to regulate stress and depression. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to do a training session in the gym, aim for a walk to the park or take the dogs for a walk. Exercise doesn’t have to be intensive for you to reap the benefits. If you prefer light exercise, check out this FitBit here. It can help you to lose weight and manage stress by measuring your physical activity each day and encouraging you to reach daily goals.

Meditate

One of the best ways to fight stress is to meditate. The effect that meditation can have on your brain has innumerable benefits and it can be a great way to de-stress quickly. Guided meditations can be a great idea for beginners, as they introduce you to meditation in an interesting and laid – back way. You don’t need anything special to practice meditation. Schedule 30 minutes out of your day to allow yourself to sit in silence. You can supplement your practice by using incense, diffusers like this one I recommend here or meditative music. Having something to focus on can be helpful if you’re starting out with meditation and can make the practice more enjoyable.

Take Up A New Hobby

If you’re not interested in meditation, you can still get the same feeling of stress relief from taking up new activities. You could try activities like painting, writing, taking bubble baths or learning a new language. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do or something that you already do that helps you to relax, make sure that you schedule some time for that activity in your day. Often when we get stressed, the first things we stop doing are the things we need to do the most. If you’re stressed about missing a deadline, you’re probably not going to spend those last hours before bed painting. But, you should consider painting instead becuase it would be more effective at reducing stress than over – thinking or dwelling on your stress. Taking a break is just as important as putting in hard work.

 

Stress can not only cause weight gain but can also decrease your quality of life. It can be important to recognize the control that your stress has over you, to confront your problems and to implement ways to reduce the effect that these problems have on you. If you can’t erradicate a problem from your life completely, make sure you still take the time to relax and lessen the negative effects that this problem has on your wellbeing. Are you struggling with stress and weight loss? What have you tried so far to help you relax? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send an email through to emily@zenithfitnessandwellbeing.com

 

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