Is stress negatively affecting your goals? We all know stress is somewhat unavoidable, but are we aware of how much it can harm our efforts to lose weight?
Often when people set themselves a weight loss goal they focus on it single-mindedly. While this is in some ways good, it can also lead to unnecessary stress as well as making things a lot harder. If you are constantly thinking about how much you want to lose and what you can’t eat in order to get there, it increases your stress levels and makes it a lot harder to stay on track to reach your health goal.
When stressed your body releases extra glycogen from your liver and muscles. This is your body’s natural fight or flight response. Glycogen is released as a quick energy source. This was highly useful in caveman days as it allowed you to run from danger. As useful as this was in the past, in 2018 you’re not likely stressed over getting eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger, and therefore the extra glycogen is not used. This can lead to muscle loss, increased hunger and increased fat storage. When stressed the body also releases more of the hormone cortisol. Excess levels of this hormone can also lead to decreased muscle mass resulting in a lowering of metabolism. Cortisol also causes the body to store fat to utilise later, mostly around the belly.
So how can we minimise stress in order to better reach our goals?
Set yourself a routine
Know when you’ll exercise, what times you’ll eat and what you’ll eat at those times. If you are prepared and have a dedicated time to take care of your health you don’t need to worry in between meals and can better focus on other aspects of your life!
Fill empty time with something productive, go for a walk, do some study, anything to keep yourself focused and your mind off of the stress of your goal. But don’t give yourself more work, use your time wisely to spend it doing what you love with the people you love.
Set aside time to relax
Whether you like to have a bath, read your book or even do some mindfulness or meditation… This is a great way to reduce stress and lower your cortisol levels. Your mind needs time off, otherwise you’ll burn out, a surefire way to become stressed out.
– Remember, weight loss is a journey and a lifestyle change. Enjoy and be proud of the small changes. Whatever your end goal is be proud of each achievement, whether it be as small as attending a class you haven’t done before, or as big as hitting a large milestone in your goal. Set yourself mini goals and enjoy the process of reaching your ultimate goal!