Could stress be making you gain weight?

Feeling like you’ve hit a wall with your weight loss and can’t figure out why?  It may have to do with that pesky little thing in life called “stress.”

The connection between stress, cortisol, and body fat is that stress releases cortisol, which can cause some individuals to overeat in response to that stress. The way to break the chain then, is not to suppress cortisol production, but to reduce the constant stress that keeps cortisol levels high in the first place.

Check out these simple ways to reduce stress, reduce cortisol production, and in the long-term, eliminate stress-related eating and the vicious circle that leads to weight gain.

  • Exercise – 20 minutes of exercise releases “feel good” endorphins that can improve mood for up to 12 hours!
  • Laugh – We’ve all heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Turns out it’s actually true.  Laughter is proven to lower tension and improve blood flow and heart health.
  • Socialize – Research shows that socializing stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety-reducing effect.  Spending time with friends and family help give you a sense of belonging, purpose, and provides you with fun times that can reduce every day stressors.
  • Get some fresh air – If your job keeps you indoors, take a few minutes to get outside and see the sun.  A little time in the great outdoors can help improve your mood and help you to relax.
  • Be kind to yourself – Think about positive affirmations daily.  Tell yourself you’re a ROCKSTAR and believe it!
  • Meditate – Meditation has been shown to boost the immune system, calm the mind, get rid of negative thoughts, and restore balance.  Practicing deep breathing and meditation when you feel tension rising.
  • Be thankful – Showing thanks for all the great people and things in your life not only gives you perspective, it also makes other people feel good too!
  • Get enough sleep – Lack of sleep can contribute to overall anxiety and stress.  Be sure you’re catching some zzz’s  (7-9 hours a night) to help your body recover from daily stress.
  • Make a change – Sometimes the best way to relieve stress is to remove the source of your stress completely.

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