STOP STRESS CYCLE
IS YOUR CRAZY CALENDAR DISSOLVING YOUR GOOD INTENTIONS? TRY THESE TRICKS TO PREVENT STRESS SABOTAGING YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS GOALS
In our fast-paced, hyper-connected world it can be a real challenge to stick to a fitness routine. Our schedules are so demanding and unpredictable even the most dedicated person can struggle to find the time to look after themselves. The result? Increased stress. Increased waistlines and health issues. As we get further and further away from our ideal image, our stress levels compound again, onward, in a vicious circle.
And what happens? Emotional eating. Erratic and sometimes compulsive exercise programs that leave us feeling worse than ever.
Stress is the release of adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies. These are the traditional “fight or flight” hormones that would have saved us from dangerous situations back when we were living in caves. Generally, stress when defined this way isn’t bad or good. Way back when it was a very useful mechanism. But nowadays, with so many of us living safe, normal lives, it can be a hindrance to our emotional wellbeing. In extreme cases it can cause fatigue, suppressed immune systems, migraines, and other aches and pains.
There are also studies to suggest that prolonged stress in our bodies can significantly increase our chances of eating carb or fat-rich foods, which makes sense when we think about how many takeaways we have ordered after bad days at the office. Here are some strategies to combat stress-linked weight gain:
RECOGNISE EMOTIONAL EATING
We all have the experience of grabbing a takeaway pizza or reaching for the cookie jar when we are stressed about something. The same goes for drinking alcohol to deal with painful emotions. The best way to manage emotional eating is to recognise it before it happens. Recognise the change that comes over your thoughts and emotions when you have had a bad experience and are looking for a release. It will be predictable.
Over time you will be able to stop these thoughts before they gain power and prevent yourself from scoffing something you will regret afterwards.
“USE A TIME MANAGEMENT OR CALENDAR APP TO PLAN YOUR DAYS OUT IN ADVANCE.”
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Our lives are so fast and chaotic now that if we don’t prepare beforehand we are likely to get swept up in something else. This is especially important for food prep and exercise. It’s so easy to say we will hit the gym at “some point” today, but “some point” rarely happens. One of the best stressreducing habits is to introduce food prep into our routine. By creating nutritious, tasty meals ahead of time we can manage our schedules better and allocate bigger chunks of our day to more important things … and we won’t be tempted to hit the fast-food joint when we get stressed.
BECOME A SCHEDULE MASTER
To get a handle on stress we have to get hold of our most precious resource: time. Use a time management or calendar app to plan your days out in advance. Make your days more predictable and your stress levels will naturally drop, giving you an increase in clarity and energy and more mental space for your personal goals and dreams.
Kelly is a personal trainer, mother and author of Busy Mum Syndrome. She specialises in online training programs for busy mums, which have earned praise from Kate Middleton.