People are often stressed when trying to complete their weight loss goals. However, research shows that this stress is actually counterproductive to weight loss goals and can lead to weight gain and poor health. While the body has a natural stress response system, long-term stress disrupts almost all the body’s processes and puts people at an increased risk for several health problems. From obesity and diabetes to heart disease, the prognosis for stress is serious and too heavy of a burden to ignore.
People should not let stress become their new normal. In the midst of stressful periods, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, people can easily ignore or become oblivious to the warning signs of newly added layers of stress. Without acute awareness, bad habits, health issues, and added pounds can quickly accumulate and begin to tip the scale. Some hidden symptoms of stress can fall under four categories; behavioral, emotional, cognitive, and physical.
- Appetite changes
- Increased use of alcohol and drugs/cigarettes
- Nervous behaviors
- Feeling lonely/depressed
- Difficulty relaxing
- Avoiding others
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Inability to focus
- Constant worry and pessimism
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Poor judgment
- Tense muscles, upset stomach, pains, and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds/infections
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
A person’s weight loss goals and health journey are too important to be derailed by stress. By properly addressing stress, people can lose the stress and the pounds.
- Incorporate exercising into your regular routine. Exercising is a critical component of both stress reduction and weight management.
- Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can increase cortisol, appetite, and weight gain.
- Eat healthier comfort foods. Stock your home with healthy options to grab during times of stress.
- Set healthy resolutions and establish a resolution partner.
- Practice mindful eating. Removing distractions and focusing on what you are eating can help deter emotional triggers.
- Keep a food journal. Monitor your food intake and gain control over your eating habits.
- Drink more water. Thirst and hunger can be confused. Grab a glass of water as an initial go-to between meals.
- Incorporate healing and stress-relief strategies into your daily life.
Stress less and celebrate more this month! Being healthy doesn’t have to be bland. March is National Nutrition Month and it’s all about flavors. Spice it up with diverse, nutritious foods and lead the way to a more lean, healthy and enjoyable way of living.