Have you ever been here? You’ve been eating lean, healthy, non-processed foods for weeks and exercising like mad.
Maybe you’ve even been fasting intermittently, but you step on the scale and it hasn’t budged.
Your jeans still feel tight and your body is still riddled with pockets of belly fat or cellulite.
WHAT'S GOING ON?!
Researchers spend a LOT of time researching why people continue to gain weight no matter how hard they work at losing extra pounds.
And one common link between weight gain, diabetes and even obesity is this: Stress.
It’s true. Studies now show that not only does stress make you gain weight, but it also may be why you can’t LOSE weight, no matter how much you diet or exercise!
What Is Stress?
Stress is not laundry, bills, misbehaving children, or spouses.
Stress, rather, is your body’s response to demands.
Richard Lazarus, a prominent psychologist, defined stress as, “any event in which environmental demands, internal demands, or both, tax or exceed the adaptive resources of an individual…”¹
For some people, stress can be simply not getting out of work on time and having to sit in traffic.
For others, it may take divorce, job loss, or even a death in the family.
Stress is subjective; it’s different for every unique person.
But stress isn’t only caused by these psychological challenges.
Stress can be brought on by a number of things such as,
- Poor sleep habits
- Too much exercise
How Stress May Be The Reason Why You Can’t Lose Weight…
When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is high in the mornings and lower at night – helping you get your ZZZ’s. When you’re stressed, however, your cortisol levels get out of whack. Your body, in response, suffers high blood sugar levels. This can cause you to experience:
- High blood pressure
- Insatiable hunger
- Reduced ability to lose weight
- Hormonal imbalances
- Insulin resistance
- Retention of stored fat in your cells
- Liver fat
- Belly fat
With your adrenal glands pumping out cortisol, production of the muscle-building hormone testosterone slows down. "Over time, this drop causes a decrease in your muscle mass, so you burn fewer calories," explains Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection. "This occurs naturally as you age, but high cortisol levels accelerate the process." Cortisol also encourages your body to store fat—especially visceral fat, which is particularly dangerous because it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into your blood, raising cholesterol and insulin levels and paving the way for heart disease and diabetes.
Side Effects Of Stress…
As if weight gain weren’t enough, stress can also cause other painful manifestations in your life and body.
Maybe you grind your teeth at night due to stress you bottle up during the daytime.
This can give you headaches and cause you to be able to manage less throughout the day; thereby adding to your stress!
Not only headaches, but stress can literally cause you to become physically ill. Vomitting, diahrrea, constipation, nausea, chest pain, frequent colds and infections and a number of other negative side effects depending on how you personally handle stress.
Stress will also give you less ability to concentrate, making simple decisions seem like insurmountable tasks.
Stress causes many people to become insomniacs, which increases fatigue throughout the day and causes you to become susceptible to diseases and weight gain.
It also causes people to deal with nasty emotions of anger, hostility and even depression.
And when you try not to lash out, you actually internalize your emotions which may lead to neck pain, back pain and even serious injury to your body!
Steve Ozanich, author of The Great Pain Deception, claims that pain in our psyche actually manifests with physical pain!
Can you think of the last time you suffered neck or back pain? Was it during a time of great stress or psychological pain?
Ozanich says, “The tension from self-imposed pressure… produces a physical symptom to distract the sufferer from the anger… Every day people are getting operated on needlessly for back pain, knee pain, hip pain, shoulder, arm, hand and foot pain—unnecessary medical procedures. In fact, the notion that our bodies are failing us is actually keeping us in pain. Routinely, we are inundated with the faulty concept that back discs can somehow slip out of place, that herniated discs cause back pain, that “partial tears” are the cause of shoulder, knee and ankle pain. We know from Dr. Sarno’s work that these are antiquated concepts and surgery is rarely, if ever, needed for healing.”²
How To Get Rid Of Stress…
Of course, getting rid of stress and anxiety for good is not entirely realistic, but there are some ways to reduce it on a daily basis.
1. Turn Off The Screens…
I’m guilty of having people simultaneously calling me, ringing my doorbell, Skype pinging me, texting me, emailing me and then wondering why I haven’t seen their Facebook message. AGH!
This makes people feel like they are constantly “on call” and adds to immense stress and pressure in your life.
Try to have set hours that you are available by email, other hours during which you are available by phone, etc.
I periodically put an away message on my phone or email, which causes people to think twice about whether or not what they have to get me involved in is really that urgent.
Moreover, screens cause you to lose sleep.
Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered that it only takes two measly hours of exposure to a device with a backlit display for melatonin supression to occur; which will make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Professor Mariana Figueiro states, “Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent."
2. Learn This Two-Letter Word…
NO. Practice it with me out loud: NO.
If you feel like your life is too full of ‘good causes’ to devote time to yourself, you may have a “NO” problem.
Psychologically, if you constantly try to fill your schedule in order to get away from your home life, or get away from self-reflection, you’re adding more stress to your body.
Judith Sills, PhD, says, “Wielded wisely, No is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation. It often takes courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits sets us free."³
Maybe tonight you need a bath, not a ballet.
Or maybe you need a nice long walk with your dogs or spouse, not another obligation at school or church.
Whatever it is that you’re saying “yes” to in place of your much needed “you” time, may be hurting your body, your relationships and even your lifespan!
3. Don't Skimp On Breakfast
Deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium are stressful to your body. And these deficiencies lead to increased cortisol levels and food cravings.
But you can fight back by eating a breakfast that's high in these nutrients. Foods like a grapefruit or a large handful of strawberries to supply vitamin C; 6 to 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, which contains calcium and magnesium; and a whole grain piece of toast with a bit of peanut or almond butter.
Whole grains are bursting with B vitamins, while the nut butter contains fatty acids that can decrease the production of stress hormones.
Better yet, incorporate many of these vitamins in one super smoothie along with some greek yogurt and WuLong Slimming Tea for an even more nutritious meal or snack! Check out some delicious super smoothie recipes here!
4. Get Your Zzzzz's
The most effective stress-reduction strategy of all: Get enough shut-eye.
Your body perceives sleep deprivation as a major stressor.
A University of Chicago study found that getting an average of 6½ hours each night can increase cortisol, appetite and weight gain.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours. As if that weren't enough, other research shows that lack of sleep also raises levels of ghrelin, a hunger-boosting hormone.
In one study, appetite—particularly for sweet and salty foods—increased by 23% in people who lacked sleep. The good news: A few nights of solid sleep can bring all this back into balance, and getting enough regularly helps keep it there. You'll eat less, and you'll feel better, too.
Need advice on how to get more sleep? Read our tips for how to sleep better and longer, here!
5. Cleanse Naturally…
Drink Slimming Tea to reduce stress!
The L-Theanine in WuLong and SlimTea helps you concentrate better and boosts your mood.
Plus, it is very low in caffeine, so you won’t feel crashes after drinking it.
Moreover, in order to satiate your hunger, take SlimTea capsules; once before breakfast and once before lunch in order to help you feel satiated and make wise food choices.
Slimming Tea is also ripe with catechins; little disease-fighting antioxidants that will help you flush nasty toxins from your body that cause stress, fatigue and weight gain.
Do you believe that the reason why you can’t lose weight may be due to the stress in your life?
Next time you feel your blood boiling or your tummy getting nauseous with the weight of stressors, take a deep breath and find a way to employ one of these stress-relieving tactics. It may save your life!
What are some ways you reduce stress in your life?
Cheers to you!
Yours in Health & Happiness,