Overcome Stress Related Weight Gain

Overcome Stress Related Weight Gain

A single woman in her mid-twenties.

She works as an accountant in a well-respected firm and puts in long hours at her job.

Between work and her previous university study, Melissa hasn’t had much time for exercise and healthy eating the last few years.

Her doctor mentioned concerns over her blood pressure and she’s been trying to lose weight as her BMI (body mass index) classes her as obese.

Despite having a diet and exercise plan, she finds it very hard to stick to and is feeling increasingly uncomfortable with her body.

The stress of her work combined with the long hours makes it hard for her to cook and exercise.

Melissa finds herself grabbing takeaway on the way home as it is quicker and easier.

She knows it is not healthy but she just can’t seem to find her way out of it.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Stress can lead to Obesity, and Obesity is caused and influenced by a number of genetic and environmental factors.

When you experience stress your body releases Cortisol which is a steroid hormone to help your body:

  • Respond to danger;
  • Increase your metabolism of glucose;
  • Control blood pressure, and
  • Reduce inflammation.

Ongoing, Chronic or long-term Stress increases the chance of having consistent elevated cortisol levels which lead to:

  • Increased appetite;
  • Fat and Sugar cravings, and
  • Stress snacking.

Chronic stress and long-term stress then lead to weight gain and Disordered Eating Behaviours such as:

  • Overeating;
  • Emotional Eating,
  • Binge Eating, and
  • Comfort Eating.

5 Tips to Finding a Better Balance

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There is no such thing as stress elimination.

However, you can put a couple of things in place that can make all the difference.

Here are five (5) simple life and stress management tips which can help you cope better and improve health, life balance and relationships.

Tip #1 – Get Moving

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It is common for exercise to be one of the first things to be dropped when life gets too busy, fatigue and lack of motivation exist.

By not exercising you are not burning calories and you are allowing the stress hormones to overtake your system and naturally your fat stores are increasing.

When you do not exercise, your muscle mass decreases and your fat increases naturally.

Moving every 20 minutes or 1 hour will help to improve your stress, concentration and health.

  • Fill up your water bottle;
  • Do some stretches, and
  • Get up and go and see a colleague rather than phoning them.

Tip #2 – Downtime

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It is important to have some downtime.

Relaxation, hobbies, having fun, socialising, etc. are really important to finding a good balance.

Some people find that to release their stress they need to journal or write; others find that meditation works, other people need to be social.

Whatever you need to find fun and release the stress busting hormones.

It is recommended that you partake in some activity at least every day or twice a week minimum.

Tip #3 – Boundaries

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Being honest with yourself, and with others can be one of the hardest things to do.

If you want to control your Stress, this is one of the biggest keys.

Know when you cannot give any more and assertively say so.

Try and think of who might be able to help, a better timeframe or deadline by which you could do the task, negotiate the issue/task, find the resources to help someone else do it.

If you don’t give beyond your capacity, you will reduce your Stress and you will be able to give more to the people who you really want to give to.

Tip #4 – Breathe!

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Stress causes us to shallow breath and hold our breath.

We want to deep breath to help us let go of negative stress hormones and allow our brain to replace relax hormones.

To help with relaxation and letting go of stress, take several breaths into lower lungs or belly.

After the breath has filled your lower lungs you can then fill your upper lungs and chest.

Do it slowly to the count of 5, hold for 2 seconds and then release to the count of 5.

On the out breath, tell yourself to relax.

Repeat at least 5 times.

Deep breathing can be done anywhere, anytime.

Tip #5 – Listen to Music

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Music is a powerful stimulant for mood change.

Music changes brain wave frequency and the release of hormones.

Find music that relaxes you, music that you really want to move to and something in between.

By playing music while you work, move or travelling to and from work, you can unconsciously be de-stressing.

Trying to change can be difficult, without the right information and help.

If you are struggling with Stress Management, Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic can help.

We provide support, guidance and tools to break free from negative cycles and help you build a life filled with:

  • Balance;
  • Happiness, and
  • Purpose.

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