When many of us are stressed it impacts our sleep. A sleep-deprived body will produce more of the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol triggers the reward centre in your brain and can make you crave food, which you then will feel the need to satisfy.
Stress can also make fat loss more difficult for many people, as cortisol can also hang onto that body fat which makes it harder to lose weight, especially around the tummy. I know this affects me, and many of my clients.
So how can you get this under control?
Eating a well-balanced diet with filling, nutritious food. Now we all know this, but it’s not always possible. The more nutritious your food is, the better it will make you feel. Think of food as fuel for your body. If you were a car and keep putting diesel instead of petrol then it will eventually stop. And that’s the same for your body. If it’s not getting the nutrients it’s need then that will impact how your body and all its systems work. So aim for 80/20 split (80% being your nutritious food!). Trust me you WILL feel better for it!
Getting a good night’s sleep. A good’s night sleep is the key to helping fat loss. A poor-quality sleep has a massive knock on effect, not only to how your body acts physically but also how it affects you mentally. We all know when we’ve had a rubbish sleep, we can’t be bothered to exercise and we end up eating whatever we find in the cupboard or fridge impacting our food choices. As I’ve got older my sleep quality is more important than ever, as it dictates the type of day I will have.
Trying relaxation techniques. This can be anything – a relaxing bath or warm shower before bed, have a social media free day at least once a week, don’t go to bed with your mobile/tablet (blue light can impact your ability to go to sleep), read an actual book – not an e-book (that totally works for me), cleanse your social media and only follow accounts that provide information you find interesting or that make you laugh.
Learning to unwind. Always difficult to relax when you’re running at 100 miles an hour during the day, but it is sooo important to unwind, particularly after a busy/stressful day.
Laughing and having fun. Laughter really is one of the best medicines! It boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles and prevents heart disease. And I absolutely LOVE having a laugh.
Regular exercise. This could be going for a daily walk or taking up a sport. Just doing something that gets you moving, helps you to empty your head for a bit and, more importantly, is something you will enjoy. Because if you enjoy it, then you will keep at it, and then you will feel the benefit!
Reflecting on what is making you stressed and put in coping techniques. Look at how you can manage certain situations that make you stressed, could you do something differently next time? You may want to talk to someone about this to get some help and advice. Always good to have another opinion, even if its just to download everything you have going on in your head.
Stress will always make an appearance in our lives. Understanding how it affects you physically, mentally and emotionally is so important for your health and wellbeing. So, you can be in a calorie deficit and hitting the gym on a regular basis, but if you don’t manage your stress levels then you will be fighting a losing battle with your fat loss.