It’s that time of year again, when most of you are making New Year’s resolutions. If you want to focus on improving your health, there is one thing you can address that will help in all areas: Reduce your stress!
Stress slows your metabolism and contributes to weight gain. For those of you following a medical weight loss plan, or maintaining your weight after a recent loss, stress can serve as the hidden factor that complicates your progress and prevents you from reaching your goals.
When you’re feeling stressed, your body releases hormones that slow metabolism in order to preserve energy. This can be a great adaptive mechanism in times of famine, war, natural disasters, and so on. But when you’re wanting to lose weight or maintain your weight, you need to expend energy so that your body is forced to burn fat stores. A slow metablism makes that incredibly difficult.
Those same hormones can also cause you to crave fatty, high-carbohydrate foods (so-called “comfort foods), which are the exact things you want to avoid when you’re following a medical weight loss plan. Not only is your metabolism slowed, but now you’re craving calorie-dense snacks that tempt you to deviate from your nutrition plan.
Stress harms your health in numerous other ways. And as we all know, stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and even the common cold. It also affects your mental health, relationships, performance at work, and essentially every area of your life. Therefore, the number one thing you can do for your health is to address your stress and take steps to reduce it.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. We live in a stressful environment, and there are often no simple solutions. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, ensuring you get 8 hours of quality sleep each night, and taking up hobbies that relax you are all commonly-prescribed steps toward reducing stress. But if you find yourself needing more help, talk to a mental health professional for more recommendations geared toward your exact situation.
And as always, remember we’re here to support your medical weight loss plan. Give us a call to schedule an appointment, and we can help you troubleshoot your lifestyle and offer more tips to help you succeed with your health goals.