STRESSED ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT?
Learn how prolonged stress can contribute to weight gain
Chances are your weight may be increasing because of your stress levels! With some planning and effective strategies, you can lower your stress and improve your health.
Stress hormones influence the fuel sources used by your body which will make it more difficult to burn fat. When you’re in a high stress state known as ‘fight or flight’, your body is preparing to do battle or run away – just like we did in ‘hunter/gatherer’ days. Today, the majority of those factors that can cause stress can go unrecognised. Such examples include changing relationships, health related issues, grieving for past or present losses, financial problems and work related issues of harassment. These situations are usually not resolved by fighting or running away which would use our physical energy. Instead we tend to try to work through the issues using mental energy. When you don’t use the physical energy that your body assigns to ‘fight or flight’ to solve these issues, the energy is stored instead in the body as fat, often abdominally, thanks to those stress hormones.
While there will always be stressful moments in life, recognising them and taking steps to reduce your stress and its’ effect on your body will be beneficial so your health can be managed. To assist with some of the stressful situations in your life you may choose to seek support from a trusted friend and guidance from trained professionals. Also, planning ahead is another great way to help reduce stress and will allow some of the unpleasant surprises that may occur to be less stressful.
IN THE HIGH STRESS STATE OF ‘FIGHT OR FLIGHT’, YOUR BODY IS PREPARING TO DO BATTLE OR RUN AWAY.
WE OFTEN DON’T REALISE THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON OUR BODIES AND HEALTH.
Here are a few health tips to assist with planning ahead and can be used every day to help manage your stress levels and improve your health:
• Plan your meals before the busy week begins – and combine this with your weekly shop.
• Stock up on healthy convenient snacks, such as fruit, wholegrain crackers and nuts.
• Schedule exercise into your week and use this as a stress release – why not catch up with a friend at the same time?
Kate Pollard is an Accredited Practising Dietician and Nutritionist at the Centre for Integrative Health in Brisbane. Kate coaches’ clients towards improving their long-term health and is passionate about assisting chronic dieters to implement sustainable changes, decrease weight fluctuations, and improve physical and mental health. Contact Kate via her email email@example.com