Even with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise you may be gaining weight or struggling to lose weight. Resist the temptation to further cut your calories or increase your workout frequency and take a look at your current level of stress. With prolonged levels of high stress, it is unlikely that you will achieve any of your health or wellness goals. Here’s why.
Our bodies our magnificent instruments that automatically perform the functions required to help us thrive. When we are stressed out our body is prompted to release cortisol, our natural fight or flight hormone. In small doses, an elevated amount of cortisol is not of concern, but if stress persists it can become problematic.
Cortisol is an appetite stimulant, and odds are what you choose to eat will be comfort foods. Even if you can keep stress eating at bay, high levels of cortisol lead to high levels of insulin and elevated blood sugar. This can lead to rapid weight gain and may be the primary reason why you are doing everything else right—but can’t lose weight.
Stress can leave us up at night tossing and turning and the sleep you get is often restless. When your body is regularly short on sleep it leads to an increase in the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin. The reason for this increase is plain and simple: due to your lack of sleep, your body needs more energy to power you through your day. None-the-less, the increase in ghrelin can quickly lead to overeating and weight gain.
The longer you live in a state of prolonged stress the more of a negative impact it will have on your overall quality of life. Everyone responds to stress differently but most of us lean more towards unhealthy habits in times of stress. These unhealthy habits lead to both a physical and emotional decrease in energy. Things can quickly snowball, negatively impacting all aspects of your health. You may find yourself spending less time at the gym and less time experiencing the joyful activities that release the happy hormones required to balance your body from the inside out.
Managing our response to stress is a must. Even if a stressor is still present we must learn ways to minimize its negative impact on our life, health, and wellness. There are many things you can do to manage and minimize stress, but your approach must be personalized to your individual needs. A few options to consider include:
If stress has led to your weight gain or is keeping you from losing weight, reach out to the team at Personalized Nutrition Concepts to discuss how nutrition can be used to help balance your body from the inside out.