Stress and weight gain are things that go together. Chronic stress creates a feedback loop that makes the body store fats. It also makes it more difficult to lose weight especially lose body fats. Whenever we are stressed, the body tends to produce cortisol.
In a study conducted on women, those with a high waist to hip ratio also produced a significantly higher amount of cortisol than women with a low waist to hip ratio. It has also been discovered that those with a higher waist to hip ratio have a weaker coping mechanism. This supports the hypothesis that there’s an existing relationship between abdominal fat distribution and cortisol levels.
Aside from cortisol, a 2016 study discovered that chronic stress can produce Betatrophin, which is a stress-induced protein. This down-regulates adipocyte triglyceride lipase that helps in the catalysis of fats.
Though stress might sometimes feel like a way of life for some, there are ways on how you can effectively manage it.
Identify the Cause
The first thing that you might want to know is what makes you feel stressed? Do you worry because you are working in a stressful work environment? Maybe it is time to find another job? Or perhaps, figure out how to make the work lighter?
You want to make sure that you are going to identify the underlying causes of your stress. Is there anything that you can do about it? Try to figure out practical solutions on those that you can solve and try not to worry so much about things that you have no power to control. Just focus on things that you can control to not feel too overburdened by your situation.
Assess your coping mechanism
How do you tend to fix your problems or challenges that you encounter every day? A lot of people tend to cope with stress by doing things that are unhealthy. Apart from the fact that you don’t only get to feel better momentarily, you don’t make it easier for the body to lose weight. Some people tend to stress eat while others drink alcohol when they feel stressed.
Find better ways to cope
Now that you know how you cope, try to eliminate your unhealthy coping mechanisms. You also don’t need to forego everything all at once. If you tend to overeat when stressed, you can still eat comfort foods but be sure to also be doing physical activities to burn the calories. Physical activity is a good way not only to burn fats but to also relieve stress. This can release endorphins or happy hormones that can stop you from overeating.
Get at least one day of complete rest
Whether you’re an athlete working out, or you are someone who works 40 to 60 hours a week in the office, be sure to give yourself one day where you can just relax and focus on things that you love. If you still want to stay active, choose a low-impact activity that can help you burn calories but relax at the same time. Swimming and hiking to see nature are some of the best activities that you can do during your rest day.
If not, you can just sleep the entire day and let your body recover. But does it always have to be just one day? In some instances, you need more than just one day but the entire weekend.
Stretch every day and get a weekly massage
Spending 8 hours a day sitting in front of the computer and squeezing regular workouts can be tiring. It can make you feel sluggish and could even add up to your stress. If you’re planning to manage your stress, a good way to do it is by doing regular stretches and even getting regular massages.
Massage is a great way to manage occupational stress. In one study conducted on ICU nurses, massage helped decrease occupational stress scores. It’s a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical means of de-stressing plus, it is known to help you recover in case you are also doing workouts throughout the week.
For those who are having problems sleeping, massage and stretching are two strategies that can help improve your sleep quality. A study even discovered that static stretches can improve insomnia severity index scores.
Meditation is a good way to clear your mind. It can also help in improving your focus. If you are new to meditating, you can start sitting in a quiet room for 5-10 minutes. During that time, just think of blank space to clear your mind. Simply focus on your breathing.
Never compromise sleep
A lot of people tend to think that working in the middle of the night is a productive habit. What they don’t know is that compromising the number of hours you sleep can have an effect on stress and your health in general.
It is highly suggested that you get to sleep 7-9 hours a night. Plus, you should sleep in a pitch-black room to let your body do its magic and recover.
For those who are worried that they are not losing weight, maybe you are a bit too stressed. These days, stress is a part of life. And though stress is inevitable, we can react the right way. Try to do these tips and see how they could help you manage your stress and even lose weight.