Most of us endure some amount of stress in our lives. Modern life is busy, and there’s simply no avoiding stress all of the time. But for a lot of us, stress levels frequently rise above the threshold of tolerable, and it can affect your mental health if it continues unabated. You also know that chronic stress can impact your blood pressure levels… But did you know that stress can have the surprising effect of causing weight gain?
And of course, if stress can trigger weight gain, it stands to reason that it can also complicate your weight loss plan. If you hit a “plateau” with your loss, and you’ve experienced significant stress lately, that might be the root of the problem.
That’s because stress triggers your adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is a hormone that tells your body to preserve energy in the form of fat stores. Cortisol can also trigger your apptetite for savory or sweet foods (all the high-calorie ones). This can be a beneficial adaptation in times of famine, because it helps you hang onto fat cells and prevent starvation. But of course, it’s not so beneficial when you actually want or need to lose weight!
So what can you do about stress if you feel it’s complicating your weight loss plan? Start with prevention. Address the causes of your stress and work to reduce them. Working with a counselor can help you to identify time management strategies and other techniques that you might not have considered on your own.
Then, stick to your exercise routine as much as possible. Aside from helping you burn calories and supporting your weight loss plan, exercise is one of the best stress busters there is.
Remember that weight loss is always a series of decisions. It can be tempting to skip your exercise routine and tune out in front of the TV to relax, but that’s only a temporary Band-aid for stress. Regular exercise can actually help you solve stress once and for all.
And of course, call us for an appointment if you need support for your weight loss plan. We’re always here to help guide you toward solutions to your obstacles.