Why stress will affect your results and what you can do about it
Usually when we associate stress with diet, we think about weight loss. How often when you’ve been stressed have you forgotten to eat? Then it comes to the evening and you realise you’ve been fuelled from a single breakfast bar all day.
However, long term or ‘chronic’ stress can actually lead to weight gain. This is why it’s so important to look at the different factors in your life when you want to get results and improve your lifestyle. Although, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are essential, managing your stress levels is equally important in your journey.
Why do we get stressed?
Stress is an essential part of human life, we need some levels of stress otherwise we would never get anything done. Got a deadline to reach? Then you need a small dose of stress to help you get the work done on time.
Going back to the stone age, our ancestors would need stress in-order to run away from predators and find food. When we are stressed our cortisol levels rise, which you probably know as your ‘fight or flight’ instinct. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in the body when we are stressed. Think of it as your body’s natural alarm system, when we need to be alert, more cortisol is produced.
However, with the ongoing pressures of our current lifestyle, more and more of us are becoming a victim of chronic stress. Symptoms of this include:
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Anxiety and Depression
- Weight gain
Why does stress affect your results?
Too much cortisol in the body can lead to weight gain. When you are stressed, your body thinks you have used calories in-order to fight the stress, and therefore wants you to replenish those calories even if you don’t need to. If you’ve had a stressful day at the office, spending the majority of the day sitting at a desk, you don’t need the extra calories your body thinks you need.
As well as this, when your cortisol levels rise, so does the hormone insulin that regulates your blood sugar. If you have too much of this, your blood sugar levels drop and then your body craves sugary foods.
Now you can see, if you’re constantly stressed and this becomes a habit, then it is likely that overeating (especially sugary food) can also become a daily habit. So, to control this, you need to manage your stress levels.
Managing stress levels
Now onto the tough bit, how do you manage stress? So many of us are out hustling it can be tough to take a step back and focus on self-care, but it’s what you need to do if you want to improve your lifestyle habits. Here are some things you can do to manage your stress levels:
- Speak to friends & family
- Read a book
- Take time out for yourself
- Have a bath
- Breathing techniques
- Take up a hobby
These are just some ideas of ways to reduce your stress levels, but there are plenty more. The best thing to do is try out different things until you’ve found something that you enjoy and can implement on a daily basis. Have you found the perfect way to manage your stress levels?