As I discussed in part 1, we can all admit that when we are under a great deal of stress it is difficult for us to commit to our healthy eating plan.
 

I discussed the hormones Cortisol (the stress hormone) and Serotonin (the feel good hormone) and how they each play an important role in food cravings, and fat storage.  In part 2, let’s take a closer look at stress and ways to manage it so that it doesn’t sabotage your weight loss goals.

 

Stress is a part of life.  Whether it’s the baby crying, the irritability of a loved one, the endless deadlines at work, or the constant flow of bills, stress is a part of all of our daily lives.  But not all stress is bad.  In some cases stress actually assists us in being our best selves by increasing our awareness and attentiveness to a situation. As a practicing psychotherapist for 7 years, and a fitness coach for the past 14 years, it has been my experience that the main culprit when it comes to stress sabotaging weight loss goals is chronic stress.

 

 

 

Stress is defined as a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences affecting physical health, usually by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.

I want to be clear; a “stressor” is the precipitating event or situation which can cause a response of “stress”.  Thus, a stressor is only stressful if you deem it to be so.  How you handle, or fail to handle the stressors in your life is what determines your stress level and your ability to maintain your commitments to your weight loss goals. 

 

There are two types of stressors:

  • Acute stressors which are similar to the flight or fight response, where you have an immediate physical response to the event, situation, or request and
  • Chronic stressors which are directly related to long term exposure to situations in which you respond to in a stressful manner.   What we need to understand and remember is that stress is as individual as styles and tastes of clothes.  What one person finds intolerable, another person may not be bothered by at all. 

     

     

    The first thing to do to learn to manage your stress level better is to start taking notice of situations that cause you stress.  What type of unique response do you have and to what types of situations?  Begin to notice your internal dialogue.  What is it saying?  Is it encouraging you to move forward or is it negative and self-defeating?  This first step is important because once you effectively identify your stressors you are now empowered to change your reaction to them.

 

The second step is HUGELY important.  Because believing that you are capable of making the changes necessary to enjoy a better, less stressful life begins the process of healing.  Ask yourself, can you avoid the stressor altogether or at least minimize your contact and/or length of time with the person or situation that creates the stress? 

 

Once you begin to believe that you can in fact change the way you respond to a stressor you can then begin to make the small adjustments towards experiencing less stress.  You can look at whether you are viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms. Are you trying to please everyone?  Are you being too rigid in your expectations?  Are you dealing with an all too familiar situation and expecting a different outcome? Then take some deep breaths to slow your heart rate and help clear your thoughts.  Look at these stressful situations as something you can cope with successfully.

 

Stress creates many different reactions on a hormonal level, mental level and emotional level.  I believe you are capable of sticking to and achieving your weight loss goals.  Here are a few tips to keep you on track in the face of stress and cravings:

 

By taking the time to read this valuable information, you have already demonstrated that you are ready to achieve your weight loss goals.  You have the information, now it’s time for action!  To change, one has to move.  You are now ready to handle stress, rather than it handling you.  Move to a place of power in your life. I know you can do it!  If you have any questions or have a unique situation let me you would like help with, please contact me.

Here's your FREE-- Checklist_to_Reduce_Stress.pdf