You’re stressed, overweight and feel tired most of the time. A mind-body approach to losing weight and calming your mind can help. Constantly drawing on stress hormones causes the body’s blood sugar to roller coaster dramatically. It leads the body to redirect its nutrients and energy away from areas such as the skin, sex drive and digestion and into the muscles to deal with stress, which your body perceives as a threat. It’s the reason why you may get bloated or suffer with skin problems or low libido under stress.
Reducing stress in the body should be the starting point to any weight-loss plan. A simple breathing-and-moving practice can often start this process. When we get used to more relaxed states, we are less likely to react and set off our fight-or-flight response. We can gradually learn to deal with daily stress without our minds spinning out of control. We continue to find ways to reduce our attachments to past regrets and future fears, and we have the ability to make better choices about how we talk to ourselves, think about ourselves, and nourish ourselves.
Here are 10 tips to help you find better ways to deal with stress:
- Fit in fitness every day. Getting regular physical activity works wonders in coping with stress. Give your stress to the pavement or the treadmill and let it go from your body. Staying active in winter elevates your mood and reduces stress.
- Enjoy natural sunlight, especially in the winter. It can be depressing to be stuck indoors during the shortened days of winter, but a brisk walk in the sunshine can be a real mood enhancer.
- Keep up your journal every day. Self-monitoring your food, fitness, and emotional feelings is an excellent way to become more aware of your triggers and behavioral patterns.
- Don’t deprive yourself of enjoying the foods you love, for this only leads to bingeing. Instead, plan to eat a small portion of the desired foods, eat it slowly, and savor every mouthful.
- Set some ground rules about eating (such as only eat while seated, no food after 9 p.m., no second helpings, etc.).
- Visit the 310 Nutrition Facebook Community board regularly and let your friends and professional staff help you. Research has shown that staying connected is one of the most important aspects of dealing with stress and sticking to your eating plan. https://www.facebook.com/groups/310community/
- Identify the situations that cause overeating and develop a list of how you will handle these challenges. Be realistic. Talk it over with your buddies that face similar stressors to find realistic solutions that will help you manage the stress.
- Give yourself 15 minutes each day of peace and quiet, a time to be reflective, meditate, or simply unwind. Soaking in a hot bubble bath can help release your troubles into thin air. Breaking free from the family, a breath of fresh air, or escaping to a quiet room will energize and empower you.
- Be good to yourself. Have a list of motivational sayings that inspire and strengthen your resolve. Use affirmations daily to help you feel good about yourself and your mission to lose weight.
- Eat healthfully. Proper nutrition promotes health, well-being, and rejuvenation, which in turn enhances your resilience to stress.
None of these are quick fixes rather life changes that will make a difference in your overall health. In a world of instant gratification, it is good to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare; slow and steady wins the race and also gets to the end happier.