Sometimes despite the toughest of diets and most well-maintained gym routines, losing weight can be a real struggle. If you feel like this relates to you then maybe you’re focusing your efforts in the wrong direction. The real enemy is none other than stress!
How Stress Triggers Weight Gain
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by our adrenal glands. It is produced when facing immediate danger (or severe stress) and it helps you either fight or run for your life. Cortisol levels often remain high when you face chronic stress.
This increased amount of cortisol can cause you to gain fat overtime, especially in the middle belly area (known as visceral fat).
As long as the stress continues, your body keeps on pumping cortisol. Cortisol triggers a signal for the body to replenish energy and hence you crave comfort foods in the form of ice cream and fried food. This can lead to an overdose of calories and harmful fats.
So regardless of how many hours you spend at the gym, unless you learn to manage your diet, you efforts will go in vain. But now to worry! The following tips will tell you how to get over stress induced weight.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Breathing patterns affect your heart rate. Hence, practicing breathing exercises can help you calm down. Meditation (no not the kind you see in movies) also makes use of breathing techniques to reduce stress. Yoga and stress reduction exercises also help in this task. The more at peace you are, the less your chances of weight gain!
Here’s a yoga exercise for stress relief:
2. Don’t Over Exercise
When it comes to reducing weight through exercise, most people tend to over exert themselves. That can become a problem. An intense routine tends to raise your cortisol levels due to stress encountered by your body.
Since that is the exact thing you need to avoid, it’s best to take it slow and work your way up gradually. You don’t have to lift heavy weights or jog at a fast pace. Take it easy and focus more on cardio exercises.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet at a Proper Time
Start by having a proper breakfast each day. Include more proteins, fibers, vitamins and complex carbs, and limit the amounts of saturated fats. It’ll give you a good boost of energy.
• Other than the three proper meals, also take healthy snacks like fruits every three hours to keep you going. Limit the intake of carbohydrates after 6 pm. These tips will also help you fight the cravings.
• One more thing you should keep in mind is to avoid very strict diets. Starvation can also cause stress and trigger severe emotions. Hence keeping your calories in check is necessary.
• Eating in a hurry also harms your digestive system and makes your body think it’s under stress. Therefore, always eat your food calmly. And remember diet is one of the most important factors that influences your body weight!
4. Maintain a Proper Sleeping Cycle
Lack of sleep or an improper sleeping routine can cause more stress. Sleep deprivation, according to some studies, causes irregular eating patterns as well. People who sleep less than 6 hours crave more salty and sweet food.
Thus one of the best ways to reduce stress and ultimately stress weight is to get proper sleep. That amounts to least 7 hours per day. It’ll give you a good head start for the next day!
5. Make the Most of Leisure Time
What’s important is to lose weight and manage stress at the same time. Thus, it is important to take part in activities you enjoy, be it volunteer work, social gatherings, leisure walks, music or books. Do what helps you feel good. Take a short break from the office or studies and indulge in self-interests.
- Try to avoid situations that make you feel uncomfortable or stressed out. Don’t hang out with people who you find difficult. Know that sometimes it is ok to say NO to going out at the expense of a little peace. Alone time might just be the thing you need.
Ultimately stress is unavoidable at times. But it shouldn’t become an everyday thing. Weight gain is only one of the harmful side effects of chronic stress. So eat right, worry less and follow these tips to ensure a better lifestyle.