Ignoring everyday stress? You could be wreaking havoc on your weight…
If you’re wondering what stress and metabolism have to do with each other, or what the big deal is, think of it this way: metabolism is basically how your body converts food into energy. It’s what helps you to burn calories during the day (always a good thing!), and it’s what keeps all those important functions, like breathing and digestion, regulated in your body.
When your metabolism is too slow, it throws things off balance – especially when it comes to your weight.
STRESS AND YOUR METABOLISM
Stress in small doses every now and then is great; it’s what keeps you on your toes. It’s what pushes you to meet (and exceed) those near impossible work deadlines, and it’s what gets you into supermom mode on those trying days when you’d rather just curl into a ball under the covers and hide away from the rest of the world.
But too much stress on a regular basis, the kind we love to shove aside because we don’t have time to deal with it, can be disastrous for our health in general, not to mention dangerous, as it can lead to panic attacks and depression.
Stress plays a huge role in your metabolism. In fact, it’s one of the biggest culprits when it comes to slowing down your metabolism and attracting extra weight. How stressed do you feel during the day? Are you constantly on the go, trying to cram as much as possible into your 24-hour window? The payoff for ignoring this kind of stress, is doing more harm to your body and your metabolism than you probably realise.
Your metabolism naturally begins to slow down from the age of 30, right around the time when you finally start feeling more comfortable in your own skin. It’s also the reason why losing weight and burning calories doesn’t feel nearly as easy as what it did in your 20s.
THE TOLL STRESS TAKES ON OUR BODIES
So why does stress have such a huge impact on our metabolism and our weight?
Well, when we’re stressed, we’re in a constant ‘fight-or-flight’ mode. This is a perfectly normal response for life-threatening situations, like seeing a snake in your path, for example. But, when it comes to everyday stresses like receiving unpaid bill notifications, dealing with family dramas, or working in a toxic environment, that kind of stress is definitely a no-no. When you keep ignoring this mounting ball of stress, it wreaks havoc inside your body, which affects your metabolism, mood, anxiety levels, immune system, sex drive, and memory, digestion, and sleep patterns. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Carbohydrate & Comfort Food Cravings
This ‘fight-or-flight’ mode our bodies go into makes us crave all kinds of carbs and comfort foods, and so we eagerly gobble up these feel-good salty, sweet, or fatty foods as a means to relieve this brewing stress. Why? It’s simple: it’s there and it’s easy to do. Studies have shown that our hormones play a role in the increasing desire to eat foods loaded with carbs when we’re stressed out. When this happens, cortisol (also known as ‘the stress hormone’) gets secreted throughout your body in higher doses, making the desire to eat more of an automatic reaction. When you overeat, you’re more likely to gain extra weight, and when this happens, your metabolism slows down.
Your ‘Pooch’ & Stress
If you’re trying to tone up your tummy but you’re having little success, stress could be the culprit there, too. Stress attracts what’s known as ‘visceral fat’ around your midsection. This kind of belly fat is one of the hardest types of fat to lose because these fat cells lie deep within your abdomen. So if you’re trying to get a head start on slimming down your midsection in time for summer, your number one goal (besides eating healthy and doing regular exercise) should be nipping stress in the bud.
43% of adults have health problems which are caused by stress.
Stress is the cause of about 40% of employee absenteeism which results in millions of revenue lost each year for businesses.
75–90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related issues and complaints.
7 TIPS TO COMBAT EVERYDAY STRESS
- Whenever you can, make an effort to try and avoid people and situations that cause your stress level to rise.
- As soon as you start feeling stressed, acknowledge that it’s there and make the effort to nip it in the bud with activities that don’t involve food.
- Exercise is an excellent way to stop stress in its tracks and boost those feel-good endorphins, even if it’s only a quick 15 minute jog.
- If you’re office-bound and can’t get your sweat on, do some quick meditation and focus on deep breathing – even if that means sitting in your car for a few minutes, or making a quick trip to the restroom.
- Practise yoga on a regular basis to balance your body, mind, and soul. Yoga is incredible for improving your wellbeing and relieving stress.
- Drink more water to keep your body hydrated and stop yourself from nibbling when you’re not really hungry.
- Supplement your diet with vitamins that help combat stress and boost your metabolism.