In part 1, we looked at how our stress response system works. We talked about our emergency response system and how it was and is vital to survival. In part 2, we talked about how when acute stresses become chronic stress, our emergency response system stays on! Modern day life is a series of chronic stresses. The chronic stress hormonal cascade impacts our bodies’ systems in numerous ways. Chronic stress can be both physically and emotionally harmful.
Now it is time to talk about stress and weight-loss. I interviewed Travis Zipper, IN3 Nutrition Coach and Instructor of the Nutrition Coaching Institute Level 1 Hormone Specialist Course. Take a listen to this 5 minute Q&A about stress and body weight.
Strategies for relieving the feeling of being stressed will be step 1. Examples of those include taking a bath, going for a walk, doing exercise, deep breathing, etc! We should ABSOLUTELY figure out which of these strategies are helpful for us. But… I don’t want to stop there… I need YOU to take it one step further.
If you are serious about alleviating stress in your life as well as negative side effects on your body, mood, and behavior, you have to address the stresses themselves. Here are a couple great ways to tackle them head on!
REDUCE CAUSES OF STRESS
Yup that means people, places, and things (even social media) that you know get you amped! Make an active choice to disengage and spend less time near the causes of stress.
SET REALISTIC GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Think about it…unrealistic timelines or worrying about things outside of your control are setting you up for stress. If necessary, reassess your goals and adjust to reality.
SET ASIDE TIME FOR MINDFULNESS
Give yourself a minimum of 5 minutes at the beginning of each day for journaling or meditation. Even a few moments of reflection and calm before the start of crazy days can impact your mood and mindset. Two recommended apps for getting started with meditation are Headspace and Calm. Listen to the interview with Othon Costa for more info.
Take a few minutes to set yourself up for success in advance. If mornings are stressful, try to prepare the night before. If you are nervous about an upcoming event, write down a timeline or get a coach to help you develop a plan so you are prepared.
IDENTIFY BAD HABITS
Many of us are stressed by our own actions. Taking responsibility for your actions is critical to eliminating habits. Identify regular choices you make that you know aren’t ideal and work on correcting them.
What are you going to do to reduce stress? Choose one action step, like Travis suggested in the interview, and plan it into your week. Making stress reduction a priority can help you lose weight. For some people, stress reduction is not just helpful, but a necessary precondition for losing weight.