How to reduce stress for weight loss
There are many reasons why people find it difficult to lose any weight. Because everyone is different in one way or another, it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause in a generic advice article, as what may be right for one person may not be right for another. However, we do know that one of the biggest hurdles to cross before any weight can be lost is stress.
Stress affects the body in a multitude of negative ways, but from the point of view of the person who wants to lose weight, its major impact on the body is in the way in which it reduces the efficiency of the digestive system and suppressing the metabolism while simultaneously creating a mental situation where the person craves to eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and/or refined sugars. What happens then is that a stressed person is inclined to eat more of the very foods that are known to cause weight gain, while the digestive system takes more of that food and stores it away as fat.
So it would seem that the simple answer to this particular problem is that by reducing the stress, you can reduce the tendency to gain weight and even reverse the process to facilitate more achievable weight loss. So instead of facing the direct cause of weight gain head-on, which is in the eating pattern and associated loss of energy causing less motivation to do any exercise, it can actually be more beneficial to face the indirect cause which is stress, and take steps to remove it.
Removing stress from your life is not always as easy and straightforward as it seems as there can be a number of underlying causes that need to be identified and then rectified before the stress is effectively dissipated. Again, this will be individual in nature and cannot be directly advised about in a generic article on the subject, but there are some general rules that can be observed that will go some way to making the situation easier to deal with on a personal level.
Some fairly subtle as well as some not so subtle lifestyle changes may need to be undertaken, such as altering some habits that are directly bringing about stressful situations. These can be triggered by a variety of causes and relate to life situations such as work/employment, home/family, financial, and free time.
This takes many forms and is probably one of the biggest causes of stress in working adults. It can start early in the day with the commute to the office or place of work. A traffic jam, or a late or delayed train or bus stresses people because they don’t want to be late for work. Arriving late creates more stress because you are anticipating a dressing down from your boss or supervisor for your tardiness, even though it was not your fault.
The work itself could be stressful, for instance, if you need to meet a deadline that you are working hard on but envisage missing it for whatever reason. You may have a supervisor that has it in for you and seems to gain enjoyment from making your life a misery. You may have to skip lunch to get all your work done and resent doing so. You may have to work late to catch up and resent that also as it means you see less of your family and have less free time for yourself.
Home and Family-Related Stress
Stress in the home can take many forms and would take a whole book to cover them all! From arguments with your partner over often trivial things to kids that are misbehaving or challenging your authority, tension within the family unit causes a lot of stress.
Physical things going wrong in the house such as a washing machine breaking down or a leaking faucet to aging electricity wiring that needs replacing when you are short of funds to pay for them cause stress. Immediate repairs that will not wait but which you cannot afford to pay for are a huge source of stress. The list goes on and on!
Finance Related Stress
This is another biggie that can cause major headaches and stress and is almost always caused by not having the funds available to meet the financial needs of your (and your family’s) life. Getting into debt that you then struggle to cope with is hugely stressful, as is waking up to a barrage of bills dropping through your mailbox all at once. All of this is then compounded when you are forced to be interviewed by your bank manager because you are forced to go, cap in hand, to beg for a loan.
Free Time-Related Stress
This is something that many people don’t consider to be a cause of stress, but it can be every bit as stressful as any other aspect of life. When you lack the free time to do the things that you would like to do, such as pursue a hobby, visit friends and family, take your family to a leisure park or on vacation, or simply sit alone and enjoy reading a book or listen to some of your favorite music. Not having the time to do these things causes stress because you are having to go without doing the very things that would otherwise reduce your stress levels!
Undoing the Stress
To reverse the situations that are causing stress in your life and its associated health and weight problems is not a simple thing to do. Some situations may seem impossible to change, such as your job or your financial situation, or some aspects of your family life. But change they must if you want to reduce the core cause of your problems.
Changing jobs may seem like moving a mountain, especially when the economic situation is tight and you consider yourself lucky to even be in a job. But you need to look at your skills, knowledge, experience, and abilities and ask yourself if you are suitable to take another job and if you don’t think you are, then what can you do to improve your skills and knowledge? If time is tight, learning new skills may not be an option, but within your current job, there may be ways in which you can improve your skill level. Look for ways in which you can leverage your job to improve yourself and you will find that other jobs will come looking for you, or maybe a promotion in your own company may take you away from a sadistic supervisor, or put you in better favor with your boss.
Dealing with family problems can be a challenge, but one where a happy medium can be reached and a far less stressful atmosphere are achievable. Look at what is causing the arguments and see within yourself what you can do to reduce them. Remember, you cannot change another person, you can only change yourself. Look to swallowing your pride and allowing yourself to agree with your partner or children on more of the things that previously you would argue against. Even when you know you are right, agreeing with the other person takes the sting out of their argument and restores peace. If they are wrong, they will soon realize it and then you will get a nice apology that is a stress-busting booster that you weren’t expecting but will be grateful to receive.
Financial problems can be dealt with by taking the bull by the horns and managing your household budget better. If you are already doing this, then perhaps you need to go back and look at where you can improve yourself to make you more worthy of a promotion and/or pay rise at your job, or make yourself so good at what you do that other company will seek you out and offer you more money to go work for them.
Time is the last thing on this list, but really should be the first thing on yours. Finding time for yourself, sometimes called “me time” is important to restore your personal balance and reduce your stress levels. You can learn to meditate and this is something you can do with just 10 minutes or so to spare. When commuting and sitting in traffic or on a train that is stuck between stations, use that time to think of nice things, or clear your mind completely and learn to be still and silent within. This is one of the best ways to reduce stresses because once you can still yourself from within, you will become much better able to take less of the stresses from without.
Dealing with stress is the way to a happier, healthier life that will help you to manage your weight as well as your time and everything else about your life. It starts with you and your commitment to helping yourself and ends with you because no one else can do this for you. It can only come from within you and when you work with yourself, you will find that you will become the master of your life, instead of life being the master of you.