How Stress is making you fat? 6 Tools To Deal With It
Have you ever felt that inspite of your umpteen attempts to lose weight, your weight doesn’t seem to budge! Or despite doing everything “right”, you feel “off” & your belly fat seems to stick to your body!!
Well, today, Im gonna teach you how this modern day virus called “stress” is literally ruining all your “healthy” eating efforts, keeping you fat or stalling your weight loss journey & infact giving rise to a host of other named or un-named body issues.
It is quite a revelation for my clients when they learn about how stress is one of the most critical issues that needs to be looked at, explored & understood, not just for sustainable weight loss but to live a fulfilled & an amazing life they were always meant to live.
Ok, so I’ll start by explaining, the science behind stress in a very simplified manner. Anything that puts more demand on your physical, mental & emotional state of mind is called stress.
Now, from an evolutionary perspective our bodies wax & wane between periods of stress & relaxation and are always striving this state of equilibrium or homeostasis where they function their best. From the times way back to when humans were hunter-gatherers, your body perceives anything that is stress as a threat to its survival. And is immediately geared for protection by activating its sympathetic nervous system that propels the blood from the vital systems towards the limbs & voila, you are ready to fight or run. This fight or flight mechanism ensures your safety.
Now, today, when we do not have any physical threat as such (such as that of a lion or a hail storm), most of the stress is either mental or emotional which are in fact the sides of the same coin. So stress, in the form of either a deadline at work, exams, interviews, fight or an argument with your spouse/friend, children’s studies or admissions….just a few examples, triggers stress response in your body that diverts the blood from your gut, shuts down your digestion, slows your metabolism & stimulates the release of fat storing hormones viz cortisol & insulin.
People who tend to gain weight primarily around the belly, likely experience chronic low level stress, as excess cortisol production has this strange effect of fattening up the belly. If the body is in even a low level stress state most of the time then you may lose a few pounds here and there but ultimately no amount of calorie counting or tread-milling will get you where you want to go.
Ok, so here’s what I want you to remember. Its not the stress per se , but how you interpret stress that mostly will determine its effects on your body. If you are experiencing a lot of stress in your life, chances are you are moving way too fast & you really really need to slow down.
I also teach my clients how stress is actually a “cover up” emotion. Which means there is a negative emotion which could be either fear, doubt, worry, disappointment, anger etc that needs to be processed effectively rather than covering it up in the name of “stress”!
Ok, so here, I’m giving you few simple but super powerful tools that you can start applying today in order to effectively manage stress
1. Before I even begin, I want you to stop humming the mantra “Im busy”. Really, this is the most self sabotaging thing that you could say & believe in your life. It simply is like saying, “Oh I wanna do many things, but I’m busy right now…as if somebody has tied you to what you are busy at’. Think about it. As long as you are living in the paradigm “I’m busy”, what is really possible? Nothing. If you want to step into your full power, take complete responsibility of everything that you are doing in your life & make choices of what matters to you from that place.
2. Slow down. As I said before, if you are the kind of person who experiences a lot stress in your life, you need to really work your way to “slowing down”. Slowing down never means that you will get less done. Infact, people tend to become way more energetic & efficient when they experience the life changing magic of simply slowing down in general. And yes, this would require conscious & effective planning.
3. Breathe. Research has shown that long, deep, conscious breaths dissipates stress response in your body & promotes full digestive power. You can simply tune in to conscious deep breathing at any time of the day for a couple of minutes. This really helps in minimizing your cortisol levels & triggers relaxation response in your body.
4. Eat slowly. The slower you eat the faster you metabolize. The more relaxed you are throughout your day then the more energy you will have. You can eat the healthiest meal on the planet, but if you eat it in a stressed out, anxious state, your digestion is dramatically diminished. Salivary enzyme content in the mouth is reduced, the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbs in the stomach is impaired, and blood flow to the small intestines is decreases as much as fourfold, which translates into decreased assimilation of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
5. Make “relaxation” a priority in life. Planning activities in your life that relaxes your mind & put you in a calmer, more peaceful state is not an option, its imperative for your well-being. Figure out what this means for you whether it is a stroll in nature, a yoga session, a massage, few minutes of meditation or simply zoning out from the chaos of the day & give this gift to yourself on a regular basis.
6. Lastly, acknowledge your negative emotions. “Feeling your feelings” forms the crux of my programs & is the secret sauce for not just losing weight but living a guided, more grounded & a splendid life. We as human beings are meant to experience the whole range of emotions that are available to us. So rather than judging negative emotions, resisting them or running away from them by distracting yourself by eating, watching TV, shopping, learn how to process them effectively. They are there for a reason & the reason is inevitably pointing you towards the truth of who you truly are in life.
Now, over to you. Please share your comments or insights below. Would love to hear from you. If you like to know about my programs or simply would like to chat with me, contact me here.