Hands up who feels stressed on the regular?

Stressed right now? Rest assured you’re not the only one!

As you are aware stress is a feeling you experience, and there are different types of stress ( mental, physical, emotional ). With any type of stress ( particularly chronic, on going stress ) there can also be physical outcomes for your body. You’ve probably noticed them .. headaches, tired, cranky, feeling sick .. how the body reacts to stress is different for everyone and most times it’s not pleasant and we want to be rid of the symptoms, like NOW!

Some stress can be good .. other stress, not so good.

Good stress can make you more alert, turn on your senses and even pump you up a little. You know, hearing the curtains flap in the middle of the night or a door slam unannounced. Your heart rate increases and you become more alert. Even certain exercise can be good stress, too much exercise can also be a bad stress for our body.

Constant / ongoing stress is not so good .. the things that keep us up at night .. think things like the finances, work, keeping up with everything, not enough sleep … you all know what stresses I’m talking about, I’m sure in our frantic, non-stop worlds.

But did you know that stress can affect your weight loss efforts & even be a possible cause for weight gain, particularly around your mid section.

A lot of it has to do with our pesky hormones. Now, I’m not an expert on hormones but I can give you some basics to think about.

1          When we are “stressed” our body releases a hormone cortisol .. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, the stress hormone. Cortisol draws sugars from cells into your blood stream thinking that your body needs it for fight or flight .. taking action against the stressor.

2          Your cells gradually become starved of glucose that cortisol says you need so they send signals saying you need more food to keep the supply of glucose in your cells .. you start to crave sugary, fatty foods .. you know the ones.

3          The constant stress gets your body on a bit of a merry go round and the constant cycle of stress & stress eating becomes a habit. It becomes your go to way of dealing with the stress, leading to over eating .. and weight gain.

OK, so this is just a really basic version of what our body does as a reaction, there’s certainly more at play in your body especially as insulin rises and insulin resistance can become another issue with disease ramifications. Yes, the merry go round can get faster and create even more havoc on your already stressed body. Is it time you stopped the merry go round to get off? What can you do to reduce stress and break the cycle?

First up, I’m going to say, this may not be easy .. especially if a constantly stressed state is the norm in your life. It will take baby steps to slow down and restore some balance. I certainly wouldn’t expect you to master it in the first few days .. it’s a process that takes time and effort. It may not ever be perfected even, but there may eventually become a better balance.

One of best ways to reduce stress, and you know it .. is to relax. I know right .. yell at me if you like .. it’s not that freakin’ easy to relax when you have at least 857 things to do today before you go to bed!

Relaxing takes some practice and you certainly don’t have to master on your first attempt!

Ease your way into it .. some of the easiest ideas to incorporate into your daily life …

* Walking .. it’s restorative for mind & body, it doesn’t stress the body & you are still able to burn fat. Just getting out in nature & the fresh air means walking is also a bang for your buck activity.

* Yoga .. no it might not work the first time, or even the first 3 times but the more you stick with it the more the benefits come.

* Have a warm bath, light a candle, listen to music … allow yourself even 15 minutes of uninterrupted time. You will need to plan for it and let everyone know that this is your quiet time. Remind everyone because I’m sure they’ll need reminding more than once!

* Sleep .. one of my favourites .. make sure you are getting enough! I could go on for hours with this one, it’s just so important! Creating new habits & routines is important.

What are your favourite ways to relax?

Your challenge for the week is to find some time to relax .. it doesn’t need to be a long time .. 10 minutes is a great place to start! Just give it a go, do something that makes you happy!

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