Manage Stress For Better Weight Loss

    

     When I opened my e-mail yesterday to a reminder that April is stress awareness month it made me stop and think about the role stress has played in my weight battle. I’m sure most of us remember commercials for products like Cortislim ™ and Relacore ™ that told us how stress caused the body to produce cortisol and cortisol encourages the body to store belly fat. Though there certianly are negative hormonal effects in the body when we experience prolonged stress the stress and weight connection is deeper than that. For me it was the behavioral stress responses that really contributed to extreme weight gain.

Eat to fill your stomach, not your heart.

     I am a person with a tendency to be anxious. If there isn’t something to worry about I’m prone to be worried that I’ve forgotten something I should be stressing over. This is an area of my life I have to regularly give to God. I know he is big enough and strong enough to handle all my problems, but sometimes I need to be reminded that he wants me to leave them to him, that he desires for me to have peace in his strength.

     For far too long I lived by a “Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake” philosophy. When I was stressed I would make emotional eating decisions. If I was a little anxious or nervous I might pick mindlessly at food or nibble to be busy and distracted. If I was more deeply upset I would want to be alone and drown my sorrows in comfort food. I was likely to eat ice cream by the 1/2 gallon or an entire pizza. If this stress ended in the deeper desperation of depression I would want to sleep – alot – not just a nap but sleeping the better part of the day and night.

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     These days eating is limited to a fix for hunger. I can and do really enjoy food and a variety of it but I don’t allow myself to use it as a comfort. God gave us lots of other ways to comfort ourselves, time with him being at the top of that list.

     I’ve found that prayer, meditation, and exercise are my most effective stress busters. The other day after a particularly difficult time I gave it all to God and then went and played a modified game of handball. Smacking the ball around and running all over was very theraputic. 20 minutes into it the day had a whole different feel. My evening turned into a great one. With the improved outlook I was able to enjoy an entire evening of active fun with my daughter.

Yes!

    I encourage you to take out your Inspiration Journal and spend some time thinking about and making note of what role stress may play in your own weight battle. Do you need to find non-food comforts? Does stress steal your energy and joy? Do scriptures and positive affirmations need to be readily available to help you find peace when trouble arises?

     Below you will find links to some resources that might be helpful in your own battle against stress. Love and peace to you!

Ways To Comfort Yourself Without Food

1. Prayer and Meditation

2. Scripture and Affirmation

3.  Snuggles and Hugs – someone you love, your pet, or even your pillow or      stuffed animal.

4. Art – draw, color, sculpt, or start a craft project

5. Watch an inspiring or “feel good” movie

6. Watch cartoons or classic humor – laughter is good medicine

7. Call your best friend

8. Use your Inspiration Journal to vent and explore your emotions

9. Take a bubble bath

10. Yard Work or Gardening

11. Exercise or Stretching

12. Music – listen to favorite songs, play an instrument, and/or dance!

13.  Read – something uplifting or fantasy

14. Dream Build – plan a dream vacation, build a “some day” home decor, work on your “outfitting ideal me” wardrobe.

15. Play outside. Walk barefoot in the grass, hula hoop, play hopscotch, swing. Just have fun and soak up the sun.

16. Light a scented candle. Enjoy the fragrance and watch the flame dance in the dark.

17. Watch the sunset or sunrise

18. Visit favorite family members or friends

19. Drink a soothing warm drink like herbal tea or decaf coffee

20. Give yourself a manicure of pedicure or treat yourself to one out.

21. Massage – even a self-massage can be very relaxing and soothing

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