Getting the Best of StressPosted: Sep 04 in Weight Loss Blog by Staff
Work responsibilities, family matters, social situations, the economy—each of these things stresses today’s Americans more than ever, it seems. Many of us are always on the go, pushing ourselves to finish more in less time, buy more with less money and stay active with less energy, but this isn’t always feasible or healthy.
If this sounds like you, slow down! You sought the care of a weight loss surgeon in Naples or Ft. Myers to change your life, and now you’re doing it. For many people, stress can be a major factor in weight gain, and though the thought may not relieve any anxiety you’re feeling right now, it can be helpful for moving forward: all that stress and pent up anxiety may be impeding your progress.
Balancing your diet and exercise plan with demands at work and home can feel intimidating, but rest assured: your weight loss surgeon will help you lose weight. It will take time and dedication, but you’ll get there, and learning how to manage your stress will make the journey all the easier.
Stressful Side Effects
We gain weight under stressful circumstances because they tend to make us sleep less, eat more, avoid the gym and feel generally rundown. High stress levels have been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer risk, and we’re even more likely to gain weight under stress when we’re already overweight.
The root of the problem has a biological explanation. When under stress, our bodies release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that prepare us for a fight or flight response. This prepared our caveman ancestors to deal with the threat of a saber tooth tiger, giving us an energy boost and decreasing our appetite in the present—but cortisol compensates for this by making us hungry to get back the energy lost surviving the attack.
We may not have to worry about prehistoric wild animals anymore, but this biological system still affects us, and it can make us feel out of control when stress strikes. Yet, just like all of your habits, stress eating is a learned behavior—you can deal with it by developing an action plan for dealing with stressful situations, making it easier to stick with your healthy diet and workout plan.
Take Stress Out of Your Life
Step one in fighting off your life’s stressors is to figure out what they are. The next time you feel stressed out, take a minute to stop and think about what the cause might be. You might even want to write a list of all the things that stress you out, then think about which ones are within your control, which ones you can do something about to make your life easier.
The solutions could be many. Maybe you need a little more help on a project at work, maybe you need to wake up a little earlier to avoid the stress of rush hour traffic, or perhaps you need your spouse or kids to help out more around the house. Often, we suffer from stress without thinking about the solution—but the solution is often there.
Just figuring out why you’re stressed can sometimes help you start to calm down, but there are other things you can do for a quick stress reliever, like:
- Deep breathing. This relaxation technique is simple and convenient. Take ten deep breaths, filling your lungs completely before exhaling everything out. With each breath, you’ll find your body a bit more relaxed.
- Meditation. This practice clears your mind, diverting your attention from whatever might be stressing you out. It’s easy to do—just sit comfortably, shut your eyes and relax your whole body, focusing on each rhythmic breath you take. Keep your head clear and empty, letting each thought pass by while you keep your focus on breathing.
- Music. Relaxing sounds can help you clear your head and slow down after a hectic day, so find some soothing songs that you can put on the next time you feel overwhelmed. Relaxing music can also be helpful for meditating and winding down before bedtime.
Remember: you have control over your life, stress included. Our anxieties can often leave us feeling overwhelmed, but we all have the power to overcome them.
Have you tried these stress-reducing activities or others? Share your experiences, tips and questions with us in the comments below.
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