10 Ways to de-stress (and lose weight easily)
10 Ways to de-stress (and lose weight easily). Often I hear people say that they ‘just can’t lose weight’, no matter what they do.
Does that sound familiar? You’re eating less and moving more, yet, nothing is happening.
Although weight loss is mostly calories in and calories out, the big misconception is thinking that this is the only thing you need to worry about.
So what is the one thing stopping you from losing weight?
In this post, I’ll show you what you need to do to really start losing weight! The second you got this down, you’ll be unstoppable and the pounds will start to fly off!
So, what is stopping you?
Stress! Yes, that is right! Stress is the thing stopping you from fitting in your favorite dress or from being beach ready. It can make or break a weight loss diet.
However, it is something most weight loss programs or personal trainers seem to forget about. They’re all too focused on the calories in and out.
Some people are more susceptible to stress than others. People that tend to be more sensitive are perfectionistic, have a hard time saying ‘no’, bad with emotions, ambitious and can’t sit still.
If you recognize yourself in any of this, you might get stressed more easily than others!
The science behind stress
Stress is the response to a stressor such as an environmental situation. We get stressed as a way to react to a threat, challenge or physical and emotional obstacle.
It is often referred to as the ‘fight-or-flight response’. Through this response, we provide energy to our body parts that are relevant to acute adjustment to the stress.
When you are stressed hormones are released, the body does not see the distinction between stress from a crying baby or getting chased by a tiger. It is just stressed.
Stress has some terrible effects on weight loss, for example, it slows down your digestion.
Stress and fat gain
When our bodies are stressed we produce a hormone called cortisol, this is also known as the stress hormone.
So during tension-filled times, you might feel like eating more than normal. This is because the hormone causes higher insulin levels and your blood sugar drops.
When this happens you start craving foods that are full of fat and sugar. So instead of fruits and veggies, you’re likely to be desiring the foods we know as comfort foods.
This can be detrimental to your fat loss, and can even cause fat gain.
So more stress = more cortisol = higher appetite for comfort food -= higher calorie intake.
Stress and health problems
Stress will not only contribute to weight gain, there are a lot of stress-related health problems that can occur when you are stressed.
It does not only increase the risk of obesity it also increases the chance of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.
Not only that it is also one of the most common triggers for headaches and migraines.
As you can see there are a lot of diseases that can develop or worse because of stress.
How do you de-stress for fat loss?
Now you know that stress should be avoided for weight loss and your overall health, but the hardest thing is yet to come. You have to start de-stressing, below I’ll give you 10 tips to de-stress for fat loss!
Not only to make you feel better, it can actually have some health benefits.
You are probably thinking right now, how do you de-stress?
Luckily there are some simple things that you can do to decrease your cortisol levels and relax. I’ll be covering some of the easiest ways to do this!
#1 Know why you are stressed
This may sound obvious, but it is important to have a good understanding of your stress triggers. That way you need to know what to work on.
Write down what is going on in your life, what are you working on, what is draining your energy. Answering these question can help you find your triggers.
Do you know your triggers, try to find ways to get them out of your life or to minimize them.
It may sound impossible but remember, we are talking about your health!
#2 Music to de-stress
Listening to music has been shown to reduce the production of our stress hormone, cortisol. (x) Naturally, music relaxes our mind and bodies.
It is well-established that music is very soothing, and even has a unique link to our emotions. It can be a very effective way to manage your stress levels.
Especially slower and classical music have these effects. It absorbs our attention and acts as a great distraction.
It is found that listening to music can reduce stress and anxiety in hospital patients before and after surgery!(x)
#3 Exercise to relieve stress
Exercise is great for your body we all know that, but often people say they are too busy or stressed to get moving.
Well, exercise can actually help you with that stress. Any form of exercise or activity can serve as a stress reliever. So it does not have to be a gym session or a long run!
Exercise increases your endorphins. Endorphins are substances correlated with feelings of pleasure, sexuality, happiness and pain relief.
This is also known as the ‘exercise high’ you get after working out. It can come from any type of physical activity!
One of the most important things with physical activity is doing what you actually enjoy. Otherwise, it is really hard to stick to, and might even increase stress!
#4 Meditation to relieve stress and lose weight
A simple technique that only takes 10 minutes a day, that can make you feel less stressed. Sounds great right? Well, if it does, meditation is something you should try!
It can help control stress levels, decrease your anxiety, improve your cardiovascular health and achieve a more relaxed state of mind.
Training your body to achieve a relaxed state of mind can lead to a better mood, lower blood pressure and even improved digestion!
To get in this state you need to be in silence and repeat a word, sound or phrase. Have a good posture and keep your eyes closed for 10-20 minutes. Try to stay away from any distractions.
#5 Take a deep breath to reduce stress
Taking a deep breath can decrease your cortisol levels. Deep breathing utilizing causes your heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure to drop. (x)
Deep breathing is also known as diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing or paced respiration.
Focus on breathing through your diaphragm and abdomen. Not through your upper chest, this will do the opposite and can start fast and shallow breathing.
Deep and slower breathing can boost a system that is responsible for relaxation, called parasympathetic system. Calm breathing can boost your relaxation and calm you down.
#6 Get a massage to relieve stress
Massage therapy can help you decrease your stress levels. As a consequence, you get a moment to relax and focus on yourself and your emotions.
Not only that, it also minimizes the physical tension you feel in your body. Getting a professional massage can be pricey, but see it as an investment in your health!
#7 Sleep the stress away
Sleep is super important for weight loss and your stress levels. By increasing sleep quality and or quantity you can make a great difference!
Try to get somewhere between 7 to 9 hours a night. Too much or too little can make you feel fuzzy and makes it harder to concentrate.
Having a good sleep schedule is really important to keep your cortisol levels down.
A good sleep schedule is getting the same amount of sleep every night and going to bed the same time every day.
Are you looking for more tips to sleep better? These tips might help you sleep better! (Dutch only)
#8 Read to clear your mind
An amazing way you can clear your mind is by reading. Doing this can also be a great way to gain knowledge simultaneously.
Even more, reading before bed can also be a way to relax and improve your sleep quality!
Even six minutes of reading can help you to reduce your stress levels by two-thirds! (x) The amazing this of reading is that you can combine it with other tips.
For example, you can also listen to some classical music or use it to rest yourself before going to bed.
#9 Practice guided imagery for stress management
Something you might not have heard of, guided imagery. It is a method to manage your stress. Luckily it is easy to practice and not too hard to learn!
Guided imagery does not only focus on the visual sense, you focus on all the senses. Often called mental rehearsal or mental imagery, but these terms can give the wrong idea.
You concentrate the mind on positive images in an attampt to reduce your pain or stress.
With the help of your own imagination you get into a deeply relaxed state and envision, focusing on all senses, makes sure you do it in a relaxing environment.
It is a free stress relieve therapy that can be done anywhere.
#10 Plan and take ‘me time’
Relaxing isn’t always easy, but when you don’t take or make the time for it you are making it even harder for yourself. Make sure you plan at least half an hour a day of ‘me time’.
Of course, you can fill this up however you like, but if you really want to focus on decreasing your stress levels you can best fill it with one of the previously mentioned activities.
However, if you absolutely love playing guitar. Go do that, do what you enjoy and love. Pick up a new or old hobby, or just do totally nothing.
This half an hour a day (can be more if you’d like) should be totally your time. A quick way to escape from the world and find relaxation.
Don’t forget to share and let me know your thoughts!