What is stress and why do we get it?
Stress is a way for the body to prepare for a fight or flight situation. The reaction is unconscious and does it autonomic. The nervous system releases stress hormones into the blood (adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol). The body ensures that extra sugar and fat enters the blood for energy, the heart beats faster, blood pressure rises and blood circulation to the muscles increases.
A simplified way of putting this is that stress is an energy boost but the long-term effects of this is high levels of sugar and fat in our blood and the body draining the nutrients.
Some of the reasons why you get stressed can be work-related like:
• Being unhappy in your job
• Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
• Working long hours
• Having poor management, unclear expectations of your work, or no say in the decision-making process • Working under dangerous conditions
• Being insecure about your chance for advancement or risk of termination • Having to give speeches in front of colleagues
• Facing discrimination or harassment at work, especially if your company isn’t supportive
Other reasons can come from life itself like:
• Loss of a job
• Increase in financial obligations
• Getting married
• Moving to a new home
• Chronic illness or injury
• Emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger, grief, guilt, low self-esteem)
Sometimes stress can be more internal than external. For instance, when you worry about things like the fear of not hearing your alarm to wake up for work tomorrow, or worrying about not having enough money to pay the bills. All of these things cause stress which can then cause us to feel moody, cold, nervous, tense, and prone to eating more or less.
So, I’ve gone over what stress is and why we get it, now I want to give you some of the ways to help reduce stress and lose weight the healthy way.
One way to reduce stress is through exercise! Hormones are released to counteract stress and make you feel better. These hormones can also help control your insulin and blood sugar levels which can serve to stop cravings.
The next is through proper nutrition. Eating well balanced meals with rich, nutritious foods is the best way to keep your body healthy. To make it easy for yourself, keep healthy foods around so you don’t get tempted to eat those sugary or processed foods. When you snack, make sure you choose foods that are high in fiber like fruit, wholegrain, and vegetables. This will help you feel fuller and keep you from craving those unhealthy carbs.
Another is by relaxing. Take a little bit of time out of your hectic life to relax and do something for yourself. I like to go on walks with my dog at a park to get away from all the work. This will make you less likely to turn to food for comfort.
The last way I’m going to provide you with is making sure you eat enough calories! By depriving yourself of calories in attempting to lose weight can in fact increase hunger and stress levels. Extreme dieting can cause more harm than good. Stick to well balanced meals and exercise for that.
To sum up the 4 ways to reduce stress the healthy way is to exercise at least 3 times a week, eat balanced meals that are rich in nutrients, relax and take time out of the day for yourself, and eat enough calories! By doing these 4 things you will not only help with your stress levels but also begin to lose weight the right way and feel better about yourself.
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