Stress and weight gain
There was a great article recently in Healthy Magazine on stress and how it can make you gain weight – topical considering the time of year! So…we can eat as much as we like as long as we relax? Maybe but here are the main points the article makes:-
” Stress is completely tied up with weight gain” says Patrick Holford, Nutritionist.
“Within a few minutes of being in a state of high anxiety and stress the body releases the hormone cortisol, which leads to blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance and weight gain”
Research has shown that our waist sizes in the UK have been gradually increasing in the past decade from 23% to 37% of adults with large bellies. Abdominal fat is linked to heart disease and diabetes so it makes sense to try and do something about it!
How can we slow down when the pace of life is constantly speeding up around us? The popularity of social media and longer working hours means that more demands are being made of us and making it much harder for us to relax.
Even if we don’t notice weight gain, stress could still be sabotaging our metabolism and having a detrimental effect on our health.
When we are run off our feet and running on adrenalin our internal systems shut down “bowel movements can become irregular which in turn leads to weight gain as our elimintation process isnt working properly” – says acupuncturist Gerad Kite.
How to reduce the effects of Stress ?
Most people – many of my own clients included – do not recognise when they are stressed. However, if you look a little deeper you will often find irregular sleeping patterns or insomnia, lack of concentration, anxiety…digestive problems….
Stress also stops us from sleeping, which further messes with our metabolism. A recent study from the University of Chicago showed that people sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours per night suffered weight gain.
Prof. John Ratey (www.sparkinglife.org) says that exercise can help in the fight against stress because ” It builds up our tolerance to stressful events”
Warning signs that you may be stressed can also include inability to stay present in the moment. “When you are supposed to be relaxing you have intrusive thoughts about relationships or your to-do list ” says Dr Joan Borysenko
The way we learn to cope with these worries is developed from a young age but it is possible to change. This is where Life Coaching can be beneficial as it can help you to distance yourself from these thoughts and learn to just observe and question them.
There are also plenty of ways to help de-stress and relax.
Aromatherapy oils can be really helpful here – I often use a Lavender, neroli and geranium blend either in a warm bath or in an oil burner.
There are some fabulous local Aromatherapists – take a look at the ones I recommend.
Of course Reflexology is another fabulous way to relax but the most important thing is to find something that works for you and do it regularly.