Is Stress Stopping You from Losing Weight?

stressWe live in a world where most people are constantly stressed. There seems to be a never-ending list of things to worry about—work, family, social commitments, our health, and on and on. It’s so easy to start feeling stressed about one thing and suddenly spiral into feeling stressed about a hundred different things. We all want to be at our best and make it seem like we can do everything with a smile on our faces. However, that mentality not only makes our lives more stressful, but it can be extremely detrimental to our health.

When you experience stress, your hormones go crazy and start telling your body to hold on to fat, because they think you will need the extra energy to deal with whatever is causing the stress. For all it knows, there could be a cheetah chasing you! When you’re stressed, your body also starts craving unhealthy foods and makes it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep. We know how important healthy eating and sleep are to our health, so you can see what a mess stress causes. If we were only stressed occasionally, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. But if you’re constantly stressed, staying on top of your health can seem like an impossible task.

Although we can’t eliminate stress from our lives, there are things we can do to minimize the negative effects.

  • Start each day by taking 10 deep breaths and thinking about three things you’re grateful for. Jumping out of bed and starting on your to-do list or checking email probably seems like a better idea, but taking just one minute to relax and focus on what’s going well in your life will make the rest of your day much smoother.
  • Move your body! I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me say this, but it is really important. Moving your body gets your hormones back on track and reduces your body’s reaction to stress. Ideally, you’ll get in a full workout, but even just dancing to your favorite song or walking around the block will make a difference.
  • Do your best to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. We feel stressed more easily when we’re short on sleep. If you think this is an impossible task, start by turning off all your gadgets (phones, computers, TV, etc.) 30 minutes earlier each night. Add an additional 30 minutes of sleep each night until you’re up to the 7- or 8-hour mark. Just do it and see what happens.
  • Keep a running list of what triggers your stress. Review it at the end of each week and see if there are ways for you to either change your reactions to those situations or change the situations entirely. You’ll never be able to eliminate all stress, but you should be able to eliminate some of it.

Remember to be nice to yourself all the time, but especially when you’re feeling stressed. Remind yourself that it’s okay to not cross everything off your to-do list and choose to crawl into bed with a good book instead.

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