Stress and Weight Loss: Why Dieting Alone Is Not Enough

Many individuals struggle with attaining and maintaining their ideal weight. Many people spend enormous amounts of money on gym memberships, personal trainers, and dietitians but achieve very minimal or unsatisfactory results.

More than just a problem of metabolism and food intake, recent studies show that stress and anxiety might be among the top reasons why people have a hard time losing weight. The human body actually responds to stressful situations by initiating a burst of energy; and by increasing metabolic rates and blood flow. The body also produces a substance called Cortisol, a natural steroid-like hormone that is also called the stress hormone. It is known as the stress hormone because large amounts of this substance are released whenever a person feels stressed out. It is an important hormone in the human body because it is used by the body for proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, immune system function, and inflammatory response. However, high levels of cortisol may do more harm than good. When people becomes stressed, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol that release sugar in the blood which leads to additional weight gain. People who secrete higher levels of cortisol as a reaction to stress tend to eat more food that is high in carbohydrates, fats, salt, and sugar. This includes sweets and other processed foods that are less healthy and may lead to weight gain.

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Many people tend to eat more food to suppress emotional stress and depression. They use snacks and food indulgence as escape routes to deal with pain or pressure that they experience. People who partake in these activities are termed as ìemotional eaters.î The addictive qualities of food is probably the reason why people eat when they are stressed. For example, chocolate promotes the release of substantial amounts of opiates that improves mood and satisfaction.

One of the big reasons why there are more people who gaining unwanted weight or obese is because many are too stressed and too busy to prepare healthy meals at home. Because of this, they opt to eat food from the nearest fast food. Fast food meals contain many empty calories that are responsible for unwanted weight gain.

To keep stress levels under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated during stressful situations. The following methods have been proven to be very beneficial in relaxing the mind and the body:

Keeping a journal or diary

  • Self-hypnosis
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Listening to music
  • Sex therapy
  • Tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Sex

Losing weight is not just about lifting weights and cutting down on fats and carbohydrates. Of course, exercise alone cannot guarantee that those extra pounds will be shed. But certainly, mental health is critical in any completing a weight loss program. Changing one’s eating habits, engaging in physical activities, and having a positive mindset all play a complimentary role in losing weight. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle and the practice of stress management techniques may lead to healthier, happier lives.

The Snowball Effect of Exercising

Everything we do in this universe has a trickle-down effect that comes along with it. If we smile at others, others smile back at us; if we are in a bad mood, others will pick up on that and become edgy as well. This is known as the snowball effect. Did you know, however, that exercise could have a snowball effect as well?

Well, it can. Exercising is not only good for you; it is good for the universe as well. There are so many positive effects on ourselves from exercising, yet we do not realize how many positive results it can have on those around us at the same time.

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Exercise and Its Health Benefits to Others

We all know that exercise has healthy heart benefits and keeps our joints and muscles strong. However, did you know that exercise also has health benefits to others? When we exercise, we take care of our bodies. We rid our bodies of toxins and we ensure that our machine known as the human body is working at its fullest potential. When we keep our bodies healthy, we have more power to ward off illness, disease, and even common ailments that may otherwise have had a chance to grow and thrive in an otherwise stagnant body.

Benefits the Body, but Also the Soul

When you exercise, of course you see results on your physical body; however, did you ever notice the effects it has on your soul? Notice the difference between when you regularly exercise and when you skip a routine or even a week for that matter. Do you notice that you are a little more edgy or a bit more down in the mouth? Exercise releases so many things that can increase your mood while boosting your metabolism. Exercising has a trickle-down effect that runs from your body into your soul.

If You Are Happy, Everyone Else Around May Be Happier

Did you ever notice when you are in a foul mood, it seems to have a spiral effect on your significant other, your co-workers, and your family members. However, if you are upbeat and positive, that seems to flow through the universe like wildfire.

Exercising makes you happy. Thinking about it or worrying about how you will do it or not having enough time may be a hurdle you have to leap, but once you do it, the feeling of accomplishment and self-satisfaction and all those good endorphins are presented to every person you encounter. You may run into a sales clerk who is having an off day, and your upbeat attitude and healthy smile may change or break the cycle for them to have a productive day themselves.

As you can see, exercise can have a snowball effect; one in which other individuals might want to join in on and throw some snowballs themselves.