Stress. We all have it, we all know that it’s not a good thing. But sometimes life just keeps throwing stress at us. The immediate needs of the moment can overwhelm us and push us away from stress reduction techniques – we think “I can relax more tomorrow, after I’ve dealt with everything that happened today!” Then, when tomorrow comes, there’s another stress inducing event and we push our self care off for another day so that we can deal with today. And so on and so on.
If you have a specific weight loss goal that you have been working towards, and feel as though you are making no progress, stress could be the culprit. At our Calgary Bootcamp, our personal trainers run into this a lot when helping clients with their assessments. Our personal trainers sometimes run into it in their own lives as well!
Stress comes in many forms. It’s not just that work presentation that you are working on, or the gossiping coworker or neighbour that’s getting on your nerves. The exercise you do and the cold you caught last week are also sources of stress. Stress causes your body to respond by releasing cortisol, a hormone secreted by your adrenal gland.
Cortisol in the body is normal, and releasing cortisol is how your body deals with high stress events. But when your cortisol levels remain high for an extended amount of time, your body experiences adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue has many effects on the body, but today we will talk a bit about weight loss specifically.
Your cortisol levels can cause you to have low energy and poor insulin response. Stress affects your energy systems, how your body converts food to usable energy, and where your fat is stored.
Going through your day with high stress can make you tired and more prone to indulging in a late afternoon pick me up chocolate bar or doughnut. You are more likely to make a poor food choice at lunch and go for the high fat fast food meal instead of a healthy salad and lean protein. Once you go for the high fat meal or the sugary snack, you may find that you’re crashing not long after and seeking more high fat and sugary foods to help you keep going.
Those added calories take you further away from your weight loss goals. Even if you’re working out at our Calgary Bootcamp, you may not see any weight loss results from your exercise. The nutrition piece is so important for weight loss, and leaving yourself vulnerable to stress eating can also leave you feeling like you are stuck in the same place. Lack of progress towards a set goal is also a source of stress, so it becomes a very negative circle.
Make time to allow yourself to relax and reduce your stress levels. Everyone has a different idea about what works for them for stress reduction. For some, it may be yoga. For others, it may be hiking along a riverbank. Music is known to be a big stress reducer for some, and aromatherapy works for others. Make time to give yourself a bit of “treat” time every day, to help your productivity in other areas, your recovery from stressful events, and promote general wellbeing.
Always here to inspire and motivate you, The Vitality Fitness Team.