You have probably heard of the connection between stress and weight gain. And yes, there are those of us that when feeling stressed, will head straight to our comfort food of choice. But, did you know there is also a physiological connection between stress and weight gain?
Our adrenal system is conditioned to release cortisol when faced with a stressful situation. This is old-school fight or flight (which was very helpful in the cavemen era, maybe not so much now). Cortisol gets released; and energy, metabolism, and blood flow all shift to support our survival instinct. Cortisol can also signal the brain that it’s time to replenish our nutrients (aka snack time).
Nowadays, we aren’t running into too many bears in the wild, but our everyday busy lives can confuse our bodies and trigger this same stress response. Chronic stress over time can be a real health problem as increased cortisol production can slow metabolism and even effect where we store our fat. Abdominal fat is linked to this adrenal imbalance caused by stress. This type of belly-fat is dangerous; it can raise cholesterol and insulin levels, paving the way for heart disease.
So, since it doesn’t look like our everyday anxieties like bills, commutes, and caring for others is going anywhere, what should we do to lower our stress levels?
Here are Garcia Weight Loss’ 5 tips that can help reduce stress:
· Practice an activity that you enjoy. Note, that doesn’t just say Exercise (which actually is awesome). It’s important that you have a physical AND mental release by doing something active that is fun for you. To some that might mean running on a treadmill, to others, that might mean gardening. Just get out and enjoy yourself.
· Do 5 minutes of deep-breathing a day. We won’t call it meditation, but find 5 minutes without distraction to just pay attention to filling and emptying your lungs. You’ll be amazed at how restorative it feels!
· Get the sleep you need. You know what that is. If you need 8, get them. It will do wonders for your mental and emotional health as well as physical.
· Laugh! Like, hard! And often. It’s worth repeating “Laughter IS the best medicine.”
· Know your triggers and avoid them. For me, the grocery store on Sunday afternoon makes me crazy. Now I go first thing on Monday morning, I still get my groceries for the week, but avoid the crowds and cart derby.
· Take Sereniti– yes, that’s an extra tip, but I had to throw it in here. It’s an amazing 5 star supplement to help manage stress levels. It reduces irritability and helps regulate emotional ups and downs.
By practicing these 6 tips above, you can be in a much better position to manage the normal stressors of everyday life. If you’d like to learn more about Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness, click here. If you’re interested in a No Cost Consult in one of our Tampa Bay locations, click here.