I have written Stress : The No 1 Reason Why You’re Not Losing Weight to make you aware that many of us suffer from stress on a daily basis. The problem is it’s the accumulation of small stresses, which go unnoticed and build up over time that cause serious damage to your body.
When we are stressed weight loss comes to a halt and health deteriorates.
It doesn’t matter how much you are exercising or dieting if your body is in a stressed state, it pretty much shuts down and results fall by the way side. When a chronically stressed individual comes to see me for personal training sessions, stress is usually the first thing I look for/ address. In the past clients have come to me training hard and eating well but failing to make physical progress, unaware of why progress has stalled. Once we reduce stresses what happens? Weight loss and body composition improve again.
A high proportion of our society suffers from chronic stress, and because it’s the norm for us each day, we don’t realise it’s happening or the damage it’s causing. I for one suffered from high stress last year which I was unaware of. I had been working 50-60hr weeks and weight training for 90 minutes a day, 6 times per week. It was only when I took a holiday to Cornwall that I realised how fatigued I had become. I slept for 24hrs straight. It was then that I realised I had to take a different approach to my life or run the risk of completely burning out and ruining my health.
I have implemented solutions into my life which have helped me and want to share with you the most helpful ones, so you to can reduce stress and lose weight…
We all have a limit for how much stress we can cope with, we are going to call this the Adaptive Reserve.
Stresses can come from anything: exercise, children, poor sleep, stressful job, traffic jam frustration, injury, basically anything that requires intense focus and energy from the body. The problem is we have a set limit and we often keep running into our overdrafts. Imagine it this way, we get a bank loan, so we are now borrowing money with interest on top. If we can’t repay the loan and interest we run ourselves into more debt. If we continue down this path for too long without repaying efficiently we run into deep problems and may go bankrupt.
This is the issue many of us chronically stressed individuals face, we are using up more than we can handle. We need to make regular repayments and reduce stresses at every opportunity if we are wanting to be healthy and lose weight.
My Top 10 Tips To Reduce Stress
1) Sleep : You must be getting a minimum of 7hrs quality sleep per night without any interruption. Just like when you plug your phone in on charge, you need to re-charge your bodies batteries through sleeping. Also aim to sleep before 10pm every night. Here are my top 10 sleep tips
2) Healthy Food : Pick and eat foods that are natural, if they go out of date quickly they are going to be good for the body. When we eat junk and processed foods they cause internal inflammation and what does inflammation mean to your body? Stress! Cut out the rubbish and you will greatly reduce stress and weight loss will occur. I would recommend trying the 28 day keto challenge program which I offer. In four weeks you will lose body fat and detox the body.
3) Exercise : Choosing low intensity exercise can be a helpful tool to reduce stress. We may often forget that exercise is also a stress to the body. Pick low intensity training methods to help your body recover, some good ideas : swimming, walking, cycling, jogging. Aim to train at around 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. Walking is my personal favourite as it helps both my body and mind.
4) Supplements : Use supplements to aid sleep. I would strongly recommend taking a magnesium and zinc supplement before bed. A Melatonin supplement will also help aid sleep. To help reduce inflammation and digestion (more stresses!) take a pro-biotic and digestive enzyme supplement. Make-sure to consult your medical professional first before taking any supplements
5) Take a Break : Book a holiday, leave your life for a period of time and switch off. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, or an expensive holiday but just a break to get you out of daily routine and recharge.
6) Avoid stimulants : they will cause stress and run into your adaptive reserve very quickly. Avoid coffee and sugary foods. If you can’t cut out caffeine altogether… then try and cut down your intake to less than two cups per day – I promise you will sleep better!
7) Invest in a comfy bed environment : We spend at large portion of our day in bed. Invest in a bed that’s comfy, warm and helps you relax. It makes the world of difference to sleep quality and recovery.
8) Take a bath before bed : This will help you relax and calm down. If you can add in some meditation as well that’s a win : win
9) Sleep in a pitch black room : You need a pitch black room to fully switch off your brain and promote deep sleep. If your room is inadequate invest in a blind for your window.
10) Avoid blue light : TV’s, phones and laptops will keep your brain active and reduce the quality of sleep. Either stop doing these activities 2hrs before bed or download applications that turn the light off. You could also invest in some blue light blocking glasses – I swear by them and they improve my sleep.
I hope you have enjoyed Stress : The No 1 Reason Why You’re Not Losing Weight and leaned how important stress management is when it comes to health and weight loss. If you have any questions, comments or opinions please leave your remarks below. I will look forward to hearing from a less stressed you!
Nick Screeton @LEPfitness