Living a healthy lifestyle means a lot more than a diet and physical activity. When you start a medical weight loss program you’ll make a series of healthy changes from the inside out. This includes learning how to manage stress.
If a healthy diet and exercise are two pillars for losing weight, then managing stress is the third. When overloaded with stress, you don’t make the healthiest choices. Even the strongest commitment to medical weight loss may not be enough to combat stress. Too much stress can lead to fatigue, hunger, and even disrupted digestion.
How Stress Changes Your Body
Stress causes the release of cortisol from your adrenal glands. Small amounts of cortisol keep our bodies in balance. Too much leads to fat building, especially in the abdomen. Stress also causes poor sleep. This causes an increase in the fat building hormone insulin, which converts sugar to fat. It also causes our stomach lining to release ghrelin, a hormone that makes us hungry.
Stress is Good and Bad
Whether it comes from work, family issues, or other personal concerns, stress is a reality we all face. It happens every day, even when you think you can avoid it. Unfortunately, avoiding stress altogether is impossible. It’s actually helpful in its own way. It triggers concern and encourages us to experience deep emotions. But without the right tools to balance stress, it can spin us out of control which can derail weight loss efforts.
Strategies to Manage Stress
Rather than avoid stress, learn to deal with it. Here are a few strategies for coping with stress to promote health and support weight loss:
- Prevent stress rather than react to it. Keep a journal to log feelings and track stress triggers.
- Practice deep breathing exercises. This helps keep your stress from overwhelming you.
- Take a power nap. 20-30 minutes is enough to recharge.
Making healthy choices can help you reduce stress and promote a healthier lifestyle. Knowing what causes your stress is the first step to learning how to prevent it. During your medical weight loss program, stressful events aren’t going to disappear. It’s your job to come up with a plan to cope with stress so you can stay on track with your weight loss goals.
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