Many people may not understand this or make the connection of stress and weight gain. We already know that stress is associated with leading causes of death like heart disease, cancer, gastrointestinal problem, immune system disorders, lung ailments etc.
Mental stress can also make you gain weight or stand in the way of your weight loss program. Stress produces chemicals in your body like cortisol to activate the fat cells to store or release fat.
Fat cells located deep within your abdomen and surrounding your internal organs are more sensitive to cortisol than other fat cells. Increased level of cortisol causes fat to be mobilized for an extra burst of energy but this fuel is not usually utilized because you do use our muscles to deal with your stress. The more stressed you are, the more cortisol is produced and after a period of time, this creates confusion in the fat cells and they begin to store more fat rather than release it.
That is why vigorous physical activities are recommended when you are stressed out as this converts fat to fuel and fat is released from the fat cells.
Overeating is also another way that you could be responding to stress because food can be comforting for some people. The more stressed you are the more you eat mindlessly. Let not this be a contributing factor to your weight gain.
If you get the stress signs, be aware that these might affect your weight loss effort. Signs of stress include headaches, indigestion, tightness in chest, high blood pressure, insomnia, racing heartbeat, compulsive gum chewing, fatigue, crying, oversensitive, lowered sex drive, intolerance of others, trouble thinking clearly, painful back, neck and shoulder etc
It is clear that you need to manage your stress in order to control your weight gain. You need to learn how to manage the way you respond to stress. Be aware to not always respond negatively to daily stressors like traffic jams, overcrowded places, irritating situations and annoying people. Accept that these things happen but do not allow that to stress you out.
These are some of the stress reliever techniques to instantly overcome your daily stresses:
* Practice deep slow breathing - go somewhere quiet and breathe through your nose slowly, expand your abdomen, then your chest and exhale through your mouth. Count to five for each movement.
* Muscle relaxation - this involves your body by tensing and relaxing each muscle group. Combine this with breathing exercise to enhance the effect. Start from the bottom of your body, tense your feel, hold tight and then relax them, letting go completely. Work your way up.
* Go on a mental mini-vacation - if you know how to meditate this is most useful technique to overcome stress. Simply close your eyes and just imagine that you are in a tranquil, safe and beautiful place. This allows your mind to relax and generates a sense of peace to your whole being. Do it with deep breathing.
Now that you understand how stress can contribute to your weight gain or diffuse your weight loss program, you may want to watch out for those signs of stress. Use the above techniques to gain instant relief whenever you cannot control your situation. Just remember that managing your stress helps in your weight management.