Unless you’re a Zen Monk in a monastery, stress is in your life, like it or not. It’s said that a little stress is healthy, but chronic stress can sneak up on us in today’s hectic world. Besides other health hazards it creates, did you know that chronic stress can prevent you from losing weight?
Stress is a natural reaction to change. We are genetically hard-wired to avoid stressors that could be life-threatening. This “survival response” is healthy when activated in rare and acute situations, but is damaging to a whole variety of bodily functions when triggered on an ongoing basis.
The Cortisol Connection to Weight Gain
In our Program, we help Guests learn about the link between stress, Cortisol, and weight gain. The primary stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, Cortisol increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes. It is involved in the regulation of metabolizing glucose, blood sugar maintenance, regulation of blood pressure and the inflammatory response.
Secreted during the fight-or-flight response, higher or prolonged levels of Cortisol in the bloodstream can wreak havoc on the metabolism and the body’s ability to burn fat. As long as Cortisol levels are raised, metabolism slows down.
You can take steps now to lower the stress in your life before a health crisis forces you to. With stress management techniques and attending to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs, you can help normalize your body’s natural metabolic rate.
Stress Management Tips
Consider the following that can minimize the drain that un-checked stressors can have on your energy bank:
- Exercise – moving your body will burn off excess stress, clear your head, and raise the “feel good” endorphins and serotonin levels.
- Clear the “clutter” – in your workspace, home environment, and negative people in your life.
- Create space and time for solace, peace, reflection, and introspection.
- Make space and time for creative pursuits.
- Allow space and time to nurture supportive relationships.
- Add inspiration, play, beauty, and appreciation to all that you do. These intentions bring meaning and joy to our lives.
- Eat healthfully and drink plenty of water to support your body’s needs.
Taking care of these aspects of your being will naturally increase the motivation to incorporate healthful changes for your body. Lower your stress, and lower your weight!