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6 Tips To Beat Stress Fat Fast

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Stress = Fact of Life AND Fact of Fat

Did you know that stress is one of the most powerful triggers for weight gain?

For most of us, stress is a fact of life. It’s also a fact of fat. Even if you’re eating healthy and exercising, being constantly stressed out can actually prevent you from losing weight, or even make you gain weight, causing a vicious cycle of stress.

 

How does stress cause weight gain?

Here’s how it works. Your body responds to all stress in same way. So whenever you have a stressful day, your brain instructs your cells to release potent hormones. You get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. You also get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven’t used many calories. This can make you hungry, and your body will keep pumping out cortisol as long as the stress continues.

When we feel hungry because of stress, how often do we reach for carrots? We usually go for sweet, salty and high-fat foods instead because they stimulate our brains to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension. We can easily get addicted to this soothing feeling of feeding ourselves junk food to relieve stress, so every time we feel stressed, it’s so easy to resort to fattening foods.

When your adrenal glands are pumping out cortisol, testosterone production slows down, which means muscle-building slows down. Over time, this drop actually causes a decrease in your muscle mass, so you wind up burning fewer calories. This occurs naturally as you age, but high cortisol levels speed up the process.

Cortisol also encourages your body to store fat, particularly visceral fat, which is very dangerous since it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into your blood, raising cholesterol and insulin levels and paving the way for heart disease and diabetes.

Of course, we can’t completely get rid of stress. But here are 7 ways you can beat stress, gain control over your cortisol levels and weight, while also improving your health!

1. Drop down and do 10 pushups.

When you move your muscles, it tricks your body into thinking you’re escaping the source of your stress, and actually relieves your stress instantly. If doing push-ups aren’t practical, flex your hands or calf muscles to help move the cortisol along. You can even go for a stroll during lunch break.

 

2. Eat slowly.

When we’re stressed, we tend to scarf down our meals, even healthy food. This is also why we tend to eat more when we’re stressed and also why we can gain belly fat faster. If you eat slowly, savor each bite and pay attention to how full you feel, you can actually lower cortisol levels and reduce how much you eat.

3. Stay away from strict diets.

Although this sounds ironic, constant dieting can actually increase your cortisol levels by as much as 18%. And when your cortisol levels spike, your blood sugar goes all haywire, rising and dropping. This makes you cranky and extremely hungry. What do you think you turn to once your brain is deprived of sugar? You can forget about all that self-control and willpower at that point.

4. Satisfy your cravings, just a little.

When stress makes you crave sweet or salty, it’s not a bad thing to eat just a bit. It’s better to indulge a tiny bit and cut off your cortisol response before it goes out of control. Have a piece of chocolate, but just stop at one. Find a way that works for you.

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5. Cut down on caffeine.

Decaf is best when you’re under stress. Stress plus caffeine equals higher cortisol levels than stress alone.

6. Sleep it off.

What’s the best way to reduce stress? Sleep! When you’re deprived of sleep, your body perceives this as a major stressor.

A study from the University of Chicago found that an average of 6.5 hours of sleep per night can increase cortisol, appetite and weight gain. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours. Another study showed that cravings for sweet and salty foods increased by 23% in people lacking sleep.

You can relieve a lot of stress by just getting a few nights of solid sleep, and getting enough sleep regularly will keep that balance. You’ll not only eat less, but feel better too.

 

So, it’s not just about getting the right food and exercise when trying to lose weight. How we feel—which we have a lot of control over—plays a huge role too.

Don’t stress!

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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