All of us, almost, have at least an idea of what stress can affect weight gain. High stress levels and weight gain often go hand in hand and stress can also be one major obstacle while losing weight. So how do we deal with it? While we understand and hope you are keeping up with your workout regimen let’s look at ways to overcome stress so as to not lose control over your weight management goals.

Know your hormones – Cortisol

When faced with a stressful situation, our brains signal an acute immediate response causing the adrenal glands to release hormone called cortisol and release of a chemical in the brain called Neuropeptide Y, along with Norepinephrine.

Cortisol is a critical hormone with many actions in the body. It is secreted by the adrenal glands in a pattern called a diurnal variation, which means that levels of cortisol in the bloodstream vary depending upon the time of day. Normally, cortisol levels are highest early in the morning and lowest around midnight. Important for the maintenance of blood pressure, Cortisol is also responsible for the provision of energy for the body. It stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy. And stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels.

The end results of all these actions can be an increase in appetite. When cortisol levels increase in response to stress, blood sugar levels rise as proteins are converted to glucose to serve as additional fuel. The unused glucose ends up being stored as fat once the stress is over, resulting in weight gain.

Here’s what happens to your weight when you stress out

Exposure to cortisol over long term can lead to weight gain, as your appetite and insulin levels are continuously increased. Neuropeptide Y is a powerful appetite-stimulating chemical which especially increases the desire for carbohydrate-rich foods.

Often, the strongest longings for food occur when you are at the weakest point, emotionally. You may reach for food when you are frustrated, angry or sad or simply looking for ways to occupy your mind. Emotional eating provides temporarily relief to stress along with excess calories and weight gain. Although you can’t avoid stress completely, you can learn to deal with it more effectively.

6 Ways to overcome stress

Think positively

Optimism enables you to cope better with stressful situations. You can reduce stress by learning how to halt negative thoughts and practice positive self talk.

Negative Self Talk Positive Spin
I’ve never done it before It’s an opportunity to learn something new
There is not enough time Let’s re-evaluate some priorities
It’s good enough There’s always room for improvement

Eating with a friend/family

Sharing conversation and food at a table makes you eat more slowly, so you can unwind.

Relaxed breathing

Stress causes breathing to become shallow and irregular. Deep relaxed breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and slows down the heart rate. Practice relaxed breathing at least twice a day and whenever you feel tense.

Meditation

Learn how to meditate. Different types of meditation techniques can calm your mind and reduce stress.

Massage

Treat yourself to stress relieving massages aromatherapy, reflexology or shiatsu. 20 minutes a day to relax. You may read a book, go for a walk, listen to music or enjoy a soothing bath.

Emotional disclosure

Revealing yourself to others or through writing in journal may help to cope with stressful events.

So, keep stress at bay and workout well. This will ensure you meet your weight loss goals and will help you stay fit. At any point if you feel the need of a personal fitness trainer or a dietitian or nutritionist then portals like Gympik can help. But no matter what, it will always be you who will be able to deal with it in the right way. Stay strong, live bold and kick stress off your life! If you like this article then don’t forget to like and share. Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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