Stress can take a toll on our health in a number of ways. It affects our hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, and also our cortisol levels.
Too much cortisol in our system triggers higher insulin levels and also an increase in appetite. This affects weight loss in two ways.
First, feeling hungry all of the time makes it difficult to make healthy eating choices. Second, the long-term increase in blood glucose causes the body to store more fat, particularly around the mid-section.So what can we do?
The following are some tips to help you manage your stress:
When you are feeling overwhelmed, try to stop for a moment and take at least three deep breaths. Breathe in as deeply as you can (try counting to 10), and see if you make your out breath last even longer. Deep breathing will lower your heart rate, calm you down, and help you to re-focus. This tip also works well when you are having an intense food craving. Before you grab a snack, try breathing for a few moments and see if the craving passes.
Find time for yourself
This is one of the healthiest things you can do, and yet a lot of us still don’t take the time. Take a walk, take a nap, spend some time listening to your favorite music, read a book, get outside. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy, make a little time each day to do something for yourself. The happier you feel, the more likely you are to make healthy choices and not have to turn to that pint of ice cream to make you feel better.
I know that it can seem hard to find the motivation, but exercise is one of the very best ways to deal with stress. This does not have to mean that you have work out at the gym for an hour. Walking, hiking, swimming basketball, tennis, or any physical activity that you enjoy will do. The great thing about physical activity is that it not only relieves stress, but will also help you to lose weight. Additionally, exercise is proven to help improve self-esteem and to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
These are all simple ways to begin to manage stress, and the more you practice them, the more you will feel like you are in control. Ultimately, this will help you to reach your weight loss goals, and to greatly improve both your physical and mental health.