LEARN TO MANAGE STRESS AND LOSE WEIGHT. HERE’S HOW TO DO IT.
Some people don’t experience stress. But, unless you spend your days in a seaside hammock listening to ocean water lap against the sand as you fan yourself with a straw hat, you probably aren’t one of those people.
And if you are, then go back to your sunny siesta. The rest of us need to talk about why stress is capsizing our weight loss efforts.
Stress, as we know all too well, is the body’s “fight, flight or fright” mode that occurs in response to threats. Thanks to our sympathetic nervous system, we have the ability to automatically release chemicals that help us handle those threats.
Unfortunately, life-saving stress mode wasn’t meant to be ongoing. But most modern-day threats—work, money and health concerns top the list—grace us with their harrowing presence every single day.
After awhile, the continual release of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, begins to take a toll on us. It affects our brain, our body, and even the number of times we sneak back into the pantry for another Oreo. Let’s have a look:
WHAT STRESS DOES TO THE BRAIN
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
WHAT STRESS DOES TO THE BODY
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep problems
WHAT STRESS DOES TO BEHAVIOR
- Overeating or under-eating
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
(Source: Mayo Clinic)
As you can see, almost every single side effect of stress can be linked to weight problems. As if all that weren’t enough, stress also causes the body to actually hoard fat (thanks, cortisol).
It’s no surprise, then, that learning to deal with stress appropriately is STEP ONE for weight loss. And yes, I said “deal with stress.”
Stress itself might not be within our control: most of our daily life stressors are here to stay, and the body’s reaction to stress is involuntary. But, as David Meine explains in Think: Use Your Mind to Shrink Your Waistline, we choose what happens between stimulus and response.
In a talk at TEDxNSU, psychologist Jaime Tartar said that most of our stress comes from within. “No one is punching us in the face. No one is starving us,” she said. “The source of our stress is made up.”
What makes us perceive more stress? Unpredictability and feeling like we don’t have control, Tartar said. Replaying stressful thoughts and experiences in our head also reactivates stress.
TRAINING THE BRAIN TO MANAGE STRESS (AND WHY HYPNOTHERAPY WORKS)
While stress is within our control, learning to think positively and calmly isn’t as simple as “snapping out of it.” It requires training. Tartar says Monks practice 10,000 hours of meditation in order to change their mental landscape.
You can learn to change your mindset in less time, thankfully. IdealShape teaches this with hypnotherapy, with each program designed to be followed daily for 28 days.
Hypnotic relaxation techniques are, in themselves, great for reducing stress, as shown by Ohio State University and several other studies. IdealShape’s weight loss hypnosis programs are also specifically provide tools for dealing with stress, including repetition to help you start looping positive beliefs in your head; and guided visualization to help you feel in control and prepared for the stimuli (read: sabotage) you encounter throughout the day.
In addition to thinking positively, you can manage stress by exercising, eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep and getting positive support. IdealShape’s book and CDs will help with those too. Seaside hammock visualization included!