This is the time of year that stress can really start to peak. The holidays are over, the weather is colder and we are getting less exercise and sun. As moms we tend to have to juggle many things, so our stress levels can really get out of control pretty quickly. Too much stress can affect us physically, mentally and emotionally. When you’re trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, stress can sabotage it all. There’s a hormone called cortisol and when we are under stress the fight-or-flight response gets triggered in our body and this leads to a release of hormones including cortisol. When we have more cortisol in our system, we may crave more unhealthy foods that contain higher fat and sugar. Too much cortisol can also slow your metabolism. Higher levels of stress can also affect where you store your fat. Did you know that experts say one of the reasons we have such an obesity issue in our country is that people are too busy and too stressed to cook a homemade meal at home and thus eat more fast food? When we are stressed exercise is usually the first thing to go. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they didn’t have time to workout I’d be rich!
We all know stress can be detrimental to us, so how do we decrease it? Here are some ideas:
*Yoga can be very beneficial. It’s relaxing and great for your body.
*Meditation can really help quiet our mind and connect us to our surroundings and body.
*Exercise. I know what you’re thinking–I just said that it’s hard to find time for this, but scheduling a workout session a few times per week is really important, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Think of it as a favor to yourself and your family. They will be grateful to have you happy and less stressed. Write your schedule down and include your family.
*Music. I have Spotify, it’s a great app on my phone that has pretty much every type of music you can imagine. Turning up my favorite tunes can almost instantly put me in a better mood.
*Talk to a friend or schedule a date night.
*Watch a funny movie or go to a comedy show. Laughing reduces endorphins which improve mood and decrease cortisol.
*Get more sleep.
*Do something you enjoy or find a hobby.
*Eat healthy food.
Tracy Anderson, who is known for being a trainer to the stars, recommends the following smoothie which, she says, helps stave off the fat-accumulating effects of cortisol:
Unsweetened coconut milk
A large handful of spinach
1 pitted date
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
So in 2017, I urge you to take a look at your stress levels and try to make some steps towards finding ways to manage it. I hope these ideas help!
Update on my personal journey: I maintained my weight over the holidays so I didn’t have any gains or losses, which is really what I was hoping for. Now that it’s January, its time for me to put more effort into my weight loss.
For more tips and support follow me here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hotmamahealthandfitness/