Stress and stress management can play such a big part on our health and overall body composition.
At the end of the day everything revolves around stress and one of the key reasons most people are overweight is the result of some kind of stress.
Let’s think about this from 100 thousand years ago. We have a primal system called your autonomic nervous system which handles all the things you don’t need to consciously worry about especially things like the fight or flight response. This includes the sympathetic branch which people normally refer to as your fight or flight response. Imagine your walking in the jungle and then a tiger comes out to attack you and your fight or flight kicks in. This causes the body to release a surge of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boosts energy supplies while cortisol the bodies primary stress hormone increases sugar in the bloodstream helping you to either “fight” or “flight” (run away)- it’s a survival mechanism.
The way it’s suppose to work is when it kick’s in and then you get away from the tiger it goes away. Unfortunately now the tiger is a mortgage, two cars, work and family stress and it never goes away. When the stressors are always present that fight or flight reaction stays turned on.
This long term activation of the stress response system and the over exposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows disrupt all your body’s processes putting you at risk of many more health programs (sorry didn’t mean to contribute more stress to your life). In relation to fat loss this chronic stress and increased blood sugar levels will block insulin receptors leading to more fat storage.
Most people who come to see us are stressed and inactive so the first thing we like to do is just to start getting into an exercise routine. This help gets the blood sugar to be used in muscles cells as opposed to storage as fat cells and begins to help get things on track.
The other key thing to consider is lifestyle modifications to destress. The key here to try make time for the things you enjoy.
This could be relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, a massage or learning to mediate. It could also be making time for hobbies or reading a book. Or seeking professional help from experts such as psychologist can prove to be invaluable and truly life changing.
The reward for learning how to manage stress is not only a better body composition but also peace of mind and a longer, healthier more fulfilling life. Challenge yourself in today’s crazy world to make more time for you