Many individuals struggle with weight-related issues when they experience stress. Thus, it is essential to understand why this happens.
Stress has become common in daily life, seemingly inseparable from the modern era. Therefore, exploring methods that can help mitigate its effects on your waistline is crucial.
When you are Stressed…
When you contend with stress on a chronic and consistent basis, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and it contributes to increased inflammation within the body. This inflammation has many detrimental effects on the body and tends to affect your weight, primarily accumulating around your waistline.
Stress directly impacts your waistline.
When you are stressed, your body resists losing weight because being in a stressful situation prompts your body to conserve energy in case there is a need for prolonged physical exertion, such as running away from a tiger.
Now, let’s delve into how stress can influence your weight, starting with stress eating. Have you ever noticed how you tend to seek comfort through food during times of stress or when you feel overwhelmed?
Impacts of Stress…
Stress-Related Comfort Eating: Stress can greatly influence our food choices, leading to a preference for comfort foods high in sugar, fats, and calories, such as chocolate, confectionery, and ice cream. This tendency to seek comfort through food contributes to weight gain.
Emotional eating is a coping mechanism for many individuals, as we often associate food with comfort, commissary, celebration, and reward. The consumption of these comfort foods triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that provides a sense of improved well-being. Thus, we find ourselves on an emotional rollercoaster, seeking highly sugary, fat-laden, and calorie-rich foods to help alleviate negative emotions.
However, this stress eating pattern directly impacts our waistlines, causing an increase in weight.
Inactivity Creeps In: Stress tends to decrease our physical activity levels, as we may feel more inclined to spend time inactive, whether it’s lounging in front of the TV, staying in bed, or lacking motivation to exercise.
Have you ever experienced a situation where you contemplate exercising, but due to a bad day, you decide to stay on the couch or in bed instead? Stress often leads to inactivity, causing us to refrain from moving forward, which slows down our metabolism and contributes to weight gain.
Poor Sleep Quality: Stress also significantly impacts our sleep quality and duration. When we experience stress, our sleep tends to suffer. This lack of quality sleep affects the hormones responsible for regulating appetite, such as ghrelin and leptin. As a result, we crave more sugary and calorie-dense foods when we’re fatigued. An imbalance in these hormones can also result in overeating. It’s clear how stress can directly impact on increasing our waistlines.
Stress directly impacts your waistline.
Break free from this cycle..
1. Prioritise self-care
Take control of your well-being by allocating time for yourself in your daily schedule. This could involve engaging in a hobby, practising yoga or meditation, or watching a comedy show for a laughter session.
The key is to regularly set aside time for activities that uplift your mood and help break the cycle of stress. Personally, I find going for a walk to be an effective way to set a positive tone for the day and break free from stress.
Find your self-care activity to incorporate into your lifestyle and make it a habit.
2. Stress-management techniques
Another critical step is to incorporate stress management techniques into your routine. Given the prevalence of stress in our modern lives, finding strategies that can effectively break the cycle of constant stress becomes crucial.
There are various techniques that can be utilised, such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), deep breathing exercises, Hypnosis, or the use of supplements and herbs that support the body during stressful periods.
The key is to adopt the best technique for you and help break the stress cycle. I have found great success in working with clients using emotional freedom techniques and hypnotherapy, providing them with new strategies to move forward.
3. Eat Balanced Meals
I always recommend planning and prioritising balanced meals; however, in times of stress, it is essential. During stressful times, we often resort to quick meals like drive-throughs or takeaways, which are high in sugar, fat, and calories.
However, you can make a significant difference by taking just 10 minutes to plan balanced meals for the week. Focus on incorporating plant-based foods, such as salads, fruits, and vegetables, along with a balanced amount of protein and carbohydrates. This approach ensures you receive essential nutrients and sustained energy, helping you maintain a healthy weight and avoid relying on quick-grab, nutritionally poor, sugary foods.
4. Move, Move, Move
Engaging in physical activity is another effective approach. Exercise has been proven to stimulate the release of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that can counteract the effects of stress. Numerous scientific studies support that regular exercise reduces the impact of stress on the body, providing a sense of control.
It is vital to allocate dedicated time for exercise in your routine. This can be as simple as 10 minutes of stretching, walking, participating in a team sport, or visiting the gym. The key is to find an activity that keeps you active and suits your preferences, whether it’s walking the dog, playing in the park with your children, or any other form of movement. Even starting with a basic routine, like 10 minutes of stretching, is sufficient to break the cycle of stress and promote muscle movement while helping to burn off stress chemicals.
5. Establish Your Support System
In times of struggle, it is crucial to seek support from others. There are numerous health professionals available, such as naturopaths, who can assist in developing strategies to manage stress and support your body through challenging times using herbal remedies and nutrients. They can also be someone to talk to, offering a fresh perspective on your situation.
Establishing a support network for times of stress and struggle is vital in aiding you through stress. We cannot do it alone. Your support network can include health professionals and family and friends who can provide different insights and perspectives.
You have the Power…
Remember that you are not alone on this journey! You can regain control over your weight, health, and overall well-being, leading to a happier and healthier life.
You possess the power to make the necessary changes and move forward, thriving in today’s fast-paced world. Numerous strategies exist to help you navigate through these challenges, allowing you to live a vibrant, exciting, and energetic life within a healthy weight range. You have the power!
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This is how gut microbes can influence weight!
Probiotics can help you gain weight or lose weight by interacting with our genetics, food and metabolism.
And yes, I did say lose or gain weight……..
Firstly, let me explain that the trillions of microbes in the gut need to be varied, meaning that there should be a large variety of species. There are many different species (or breeds) of microbes, and they all have their place in aiding health — the more variety and balance, the better health results.
Back to the weight loss or weight gain issue….
Do you eat yogurt and berries for breakfast? Thinking that it’s helping you lose weight?
Well, Lactobacillus acidophilus (like the species found in yoghurt) has been connected to weight gain.
I am not saying throw your yoghurt and berries in the bin. Instead, I am suggesting looking at the overall picture. If Lactobacillus acidophilus is the predominant micro-organism of the gut, then weight gain can result.
It is about the variety of species of gut microbes. Imagine if we only have trained german shepherd guard dogs in the world. It may be a safe world, but I am sure that other breeds may be more suitable as a family pet.
While Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with weight gain, other Lactobacillus species correlate with weight loss.
Species like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacteria animalis have been found to support weight loss.
Want to lose weight?
Look at your gut flora to support your goal.
Tests can be performed to identify the predominant species of the gut, and specific species can be utilised to support weight changes.
Want more information about your gut health?
Or want to look at all the factors contributing to weight gain, I’d love to be able to help.