As it’s January and I’m sure most of you are wanting to improve the way you look one way or another as part of your new year, new me (que rolling eyes).
I thought I would dedicate this one to how anxiety or high levels of stress can affect you losing weight. It’s a complicated one to explain but I’ve done my research! It’s important to remember that weight gain is a symptom of anxiety it’s not the cause of it, so it does not give you the excuse to tell everyone that you can’t lose weight because of it. (If only!)
I have explained before about the fight or flight response and how your adrenaline levels spike when you get anxious. Whilst this is happening the stress hormone called cortisol is also released, this pesky little hormone is what causes fat to build up around the middle section, yep that’s that unwanted tyre everyone desperately wants to get rid of.
For some people food is a coping tool and provides them with the endorphins that makes them feel good. Secondly some people experience hunger as the body thinks it’s gone through an intense workout due to the high levels of adrenaline and stress hormones. People usually reach for the salty and sweet snacks that aren’t good for us. Not everyone will experience this, some people might not even notice because the difference in size is so subtle.
There’s also the flip side of losing weight, as your appetite becomes suppressed and the thought of food makes you feel sick or you struggle to feel hungry. I’ve been there myself and was extremely unhealthy.
I’ve explained before that exercise is key, you need to burn off that adrenaline and trick your body into thinking your escaping the danger it thinks your in. I know it can be hard because anxiety can be draining and make you more tired, less motivated and unfocused, even going for a 20 minute walk will help get that blood circulating. Even if going to the gym scares you there are loads of at home plans you can do now. Results with Lucy is extremely popular and at the comfort of your own home, what more could you ask for? Lifestyle compass is another one, a friend of mine has just launched this and is quite new, you can get a free 10 day trial if you want to see what it’s about.
I also found out that restricting diets can have an impact on the coritsol level, which can raise blood sugar levels and then plummeting making you irritable and self control just goes out the window. It really is important to eat a varied and healthy diet, you don’t have to restrict yourself, planning meals and getting the food in advance can make all the difference to a good healthy week, it’s also one less thing to worry about and less temptation when you need that quick fix. Protein balls and other healthy snacks are just as good and so much better for you for that quick fix.
Another good one, my personal favourite, give into those cravings, this doesn’t mean all the time before you think hell yeah! This is only if you have been particularly anxious on that day, eat a small and I mean small! Piece of chocolate to cut off the cortisol response before it gets out of control and you find yourself eating a huge bar of chocolate, pack of cakes and a Chinese takeaway!
Sleep! You need to get at least 7-8 hours a night to get your body back into balance. Sleep deprivation can be a stress on the body and can cause you to feel more hungry in the morning reaching for the quick unhealthy breakfast. I know it can be hard to sleep sometimes when you feel anxious, it does me anyway. Having a hot bath, clean bed sheets, a book or favourite TV or a relaxing candle going, there’s loads of things to put into place to get those important zzzzzz.
Well that’s as much as I can give, I hoped that’s helped! Have a good week ahead and remember, baby steps! Think more like the tortoise and less like the hare, your more likely to succeed taking it slow than rushing full steam ahead.