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Stress is so common in today’s society. Common triggers of stress range from finance, work stress and relationship. In the previous article, we know that managing stress is one of the key factor to success in a weight loss progress. Understanding how stress affects our body and weight loss can helps us shed extra pounds off easily.
How Stress Slows Down Weight Loss
1. Metabolism slows down
The release of cortisol “stress hormone” under chronic stress has affect our body in many ways. One of the effect is slowing down our metabolism rate. This means that our body burn lesser calories a day as compare with a better management of stress.
In one study done by researchers of Ohio State University, 58 females with an average age of 53 was given 930 calories of the meal to test on the metabolism rate in the relation with stress. Those reported that having one or more stress event during the previous 24 hours burned 104 calories fewer as compare to those non stress women.
Besides, research also has proven that people with chronic stress have more than double the odds of metabolic syndrome than those with lesser stress. This means that those with stress has a greater risk of developing diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.
2. Increase of fat cell & fat storage
The release of cortisol also tends to affect where the distribution of fats occurs. Unfortunately, we are prone to getting an extra layer of visceral fat under our bellies when we are exposed to more stress in our daily life.
In one study, 41 overweight women is being tested on with waist-to-hip ration (WHR) as compared with their stress level. Those having higher WHR tends to have more stress level as compare to those with lower WHR although their weigh are similar.
3. Unhealthy food cravings
Often thought as an excuse to crave for food that is high fat and high sugar actually have a factual basis behind the stress. Research shows that experiencing uncontrollable stress overtime changed our body system including eating patterns over the palatable foods. We tend to crave for foods that are often high in calorie, fats, and sugar.
This indirectly increases unnecessary calorie intake in results of a calorie surplus. That is the reason why someone over stress out on losing weight tends to crave more food. Thus, it is important to understand that weight loss takes time and to take it easy on weight loss progress.
Ways to relieve stress
1. Eat right
Stress levels and proper nutrition are closely related. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to crave for the sugary and fatty snack. Try to avoid sugary and fatty snack. Consume more fruits, vegetables, and fish with high levels of omega 3 oils as they are proven to reduce anxiety and stress level.
2. Laugh it off
It is quite impossible to feel stress and anxiety when you are laughing. Laughing is always the best medicine and there are few ways that it will relieve your stress. It inhales more oxygen into your body system, it relieves your stress response and it relaxes your muscles.
A study among patients with cancer found that people in laughter experience more stress relieving. Watch some funny show or hang out with friends that always make you laugh.
3. Listen to music
Listening to soothing music can be very relaxing to our body and mind. A study found that listening to music prior to a standardized stressor predominantly affected the autonomic nervous system and to a lesser degree the endocrine and psychological stress response.
Choose music that is soft, slow-paced or listens to nature sounds music which has the calming effect.
4. Deep breath
Cortisol is being released in a stress situation which makes our heart beat faster, breathe quicker and blood vessel constrict. Taking a deep breathe in a stress situation help activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
Breathe deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth with a slow pace for at least 5 times. This helps your heart rate to slow down, allowing you to feel more peaceful.
Exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress. Exercise is proven to trigger the release of a hormone called endorphins which improves our mood and also act as a natural painkiller. Exercise can also improve our sleep quality which will reduce the anxiety and depression as we mentioned previously.
Uncontrollable stress overtime increases the cortisol level which affects us in many ways. High cortisol levels reduces our metabolism rate, increase the distribution of fat over our belly and also increase the craving over high calorie, high fats and high sugar foods. It is important to find ways to relieve stress such as by eating healthy, exercise, listen to music, practise deep breath and most importantly to laugh more often.