Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Stress is a totally normal part of everyday life and a moderate amount of stress is good for you – it pushes you, makes you perform better and ensures you get stuff done.
It’s like when you lift a slightly heavier weight than usual in the gym - there is a reasonable amount of physical stress on your body, but you can respond to it and you get more out of the session because of it.
But what about when you are lifting a weight that’s way too heavy? Then it just gets in the way, it restricts you from performing properly, and it may even injure you. That’s the effect that persistent stress has on your body and why it can be harder to lose weight when you are over-stressed.
Stress does not directly cause weight gain or stop you losing weight BUT it can contribute to a whole host of factors that make it harder to lose weight.
Many of our ladies say they find it harder to lose weight when they're stressed - are you the same? It can often feel like a viscous cycle that you can’t escape from: The stress leads to sugar cravings, blood sugar imbalances, disrupted sleep and more, then you don’t feel like coming to class or keeping up with your nutrition.
This all makes it even harder to lose weight which just adds to the stress 🤯 seems impossible, right?
...wrong! I know how hard it can be, I've been there. So that's why I made this 6-step guide to help you break the stress cycle that's stopping you from losing weight.
1. Go for a quick walk after meal times – Can you fit in a short walk after eating lunch? Even if it’s just for 5 minutes. It helps to normalise blood sugars levels and can even shift your metabolism. I also find that a quick walk after I eat helps me clear my head and refocus on whatever I was doing before.
2. Try to unwind in an active way – Many people forget that exercise is one of the best stress-relievers. It doesn’t need to be high intensity, maybe some yoga, a swim, or a brisk walk to let off steam. My favourite thing to do at the moment is to finish a gym session off with a couple laps of the pool, it really helps me to fully chill out.
3. Prioritise recovery – Too much cortisol (the stress hormone) can disrupt your body’s repair and regeneration so to counteract this you can eat more recovery foods which are high in protein such as fish, beans, and eggs. You can also ensure you get good sleep by going to bed earlier and not using your phone before bed (stop scrolling on instagram until midnight!).
4. Snack on healthy treats – Stress will often make you crave something sweet because your blood sugars keep spiking and dipping and your body just wants a quick release of energy. Try healthier alternatives to satisfy the craving but avoid a sugar slump. Steer clear of refined carbs and caffeine wherever possible. I absolutely love frozen peanut butter banana's and cacao energy balls, they are my go-to 😍 find the recipe here.
5. Practice mindfulness - There are many ways to be mindful so do what works for you. Maybe you feel better when you write down all your worries in a journal? It often helps me to get it all out on paper. Or maybe you don’t have time to journal, and would rather sit and do 5 minutes of meditation or deep breathing techniques? As long as you bring things to surface and let go in some way, you should feel lighter, more relaxed and grounded.
6. Communicate & connect with those around you. I often feel the most stressed when I feel like I’m letting others down, so you can avoid this by managing the expectations of others. We are all human, they will understand, just explain the situation and how you are feeling. This helps to take the pressure off. I also find that even after just chatting and laughing with friends, family, whoever, I feel much calmer and clearer. It's easy to say no to friends and family when you're overwhelmed and stressed but it you may find it actually make you feel better.
I know how difficult it is to make time for yourself with kids, family, work, the house, and just life in general. I also can't promise that your all your stress will disappear instantly, but sometimes all it takes is 5 minutes per day of doing something that makes you feel good that makes the biggest difference.
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