When it comes to your weight, there are many different factors at play other than diet and exercise. From financial budgets to busy schedules, there are all kinds of elements that may be shaping your journey with weight and health — even if you don’t realize it!
But have you ever considered that maybe stress might be one of them?
Stress and Weight: What’s the Connection?
Like many other mental health conditions, stress can have a significant impact on an individual’s body weight. What we do and don’t do often reflects the way we feel, so it makes sense that our behaviors and habits are affected by what goes on inside of our brains.
The problem becomes increasingly difficult for those who suffer from chronic stress. Constant feelings of stress and anxiety can severely limit our ability to make healthy, everyday choices such as the decision to get up and exercise or the decision to go out and purchase healthy foods from the grocery store.
Sometimes, stress can even impact the physical body. Chronic stress experienced over a prolonged period of time can contribute to long-term problems for the heart and blood vessels. Our heart rate may elevate, and elevated levels of stress hormones can lead to spikes in blood pressure. When you look at the bigger picture, it’s easy to see how stress can take a dangerous toll on the body and an individual’s weight management goals.
How Can I Manage Stress for Healthier Habits?
By finding ways to manage and alleviate stress, you’re also doing a lot of good for your journey with weight. Here are a few simple strategies you can try to set yourself up for long-lasting success:
- Talk to Your Accountability Partner – Share your concerns with a trusted friend, family member or even a doctor. This may help alleviate any feelings of “going at it alone.”
- Exercise as a Preventative Measure – This may help to fight off stress before it begins, or before it builds up. Working out is an excellent way to release endorphins and relax your body and mind.
- Sleep When You Need to – A full night’s sleep (7-8 hours) can press “restart” on your brain. It’s a great way to decompress, give your mind time to rest, and build up energy so that you can tackle what’s before you. For more information on sleep and weight management, you can visit a previous blog post by CLICKING HERE.
- Give Your Muscles a Chance to Relax – Stress shapes our muscles by causing them to tighten, which can cause us pain and increased anxiety. Give them a chance to relax by stretching frequently, going for a massage and taking a hot bath or shower.
- Eat Nutritiously – You’re not expected to be the “perfect” eater, but eating a healthy, well-balanced meal can help you feel productive and good about yourself. You might even notice that what you’re able to accomplish throughout the day will drastically improve!
By being mindful of the many areas in life which affect your behaviors as they relate to your weight and health, you’re in a better position to find long-lasting success on your weight management journey. Take a deep breath, find healthy outlets for your stress and take care of your mind and body — your health depends on it!