Fat Loss & Stress, What’s The Link?
Stress is inevitable, and a little stress is normal and actually good for us (believe it or not!) when it’s in small amounts, but too much stress isn’t good, and this is also the case when we are trying to burn body fat and lose weight.
Stress to the body can come from many forms, such as business, worry, anxiety, constant over-thinking and analyzing, deadlines and pressures at work, lack of sleep, being overweight, poor food choices, too much caffeine, receiving too many notifications from your phone/emails/social media, unhealthy relationships, the list can go on. All of these things cause stress to the body in the same way.
When any of these stressors is encountered the brain signals trigger the release of natural chemical messengers, namely cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. The presence of these messengers focuses the systems of the body to respond to the perceived stress in a variety of ways (such as increasing the blood flow to your arms and legs, or increasing your heart rate and breathing rate – because maybe you need to race somewhere as your body is under a “perceived” life threatening situation), before everything returns to your normal calm self again.
When feelings of stress are prolonged or excessive, this can impact your mental and physical health, and also inhibit your ability to exercise and or get a good night’s sleep, which will then cause more stress to the body. What’s worse being constantly under stress can blunt the fat burning processes you are working so hard to achieve. When your body is under stress it’s not worried about breaking down fat and getting you a six pack of abs, it’s worried about saving your life. Cortisol the stress hormone is actually a fat storing hormone, so when the body is constantly producing high levels of cortisol your body is actually going to start storing the food you eat as fuel, as your body thinks it’s saving your life and doing the best thing for you, so this stored fuel can then be used at a later date.
So, what’s the solution? There are many, but the number one most effective way to lower the stress response is simply by breathing diaphragmatically. Breathing slowly can signal your nervous system that it’s safe, and not in a “perceived” life threatening situation. Simply sit in a comfortable positions or lie down on your back, and breath slowly and deeply into your belly (letting your belly rise and fall) by breathing in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and release for 4 counts, do this 10-15 times. This is the best way to relax your nervous system.
Other good options are to create a regular meditation practice, do yoga or tai chi regularly, and practicing mindfulness are all known to inhibit the negative impacts stress can have on your body. There also a number of nutrients that can help such as magnesium (found in meat, nuts, seeds, leafy greens), B-complex vitamins (found in meat, fish, whole grains, green leafy vegetables), vitamin C (found in berries, citrus fruits, red capsicums, broccoli).
If you are feeling stressed, or are just very busy (which can be a form of stress to your mental, emotional and physical health), it can be helpful to support yourself with good quality and high dose therapeutic supplements during these busy time. I help numerous clients on a weekly basis to combat the effects of stress on their weight loss journey through simple, realistic diet and nutrition advice, which also include a personalised supplement plan (if necessary). If you need help in this area, get get in touch with me today and let’s get you feeling your best and less stressed! I also offer a 15-minute supplement review appointment (via phone/skype/in person) which looks at the supplements you’re taking, if they are of the highest and best quality for you and of most importance for you, or if you’re not taking any I can recommend a supplement plan for you which is tailored to your lifestyle, diet, and health goals.
Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.