Does Stress Help You Lose Weight?
Are you under PRESSURE financially and emotionally because of COVID-19 and are you looking for the best stress management tips?
Are you unable to MANAGE life pressures?
Are things getting WORSE day by day for you?
Are you losing weight and thinking, “Is this happening because of STRESS?”.
If you are suffering from such circumstances and no one is there to help guide you on how to COPE with such situations, you are at the right place.
In this article, I will answer some of your common questions about stress and its impact on our weight. Meanwhile, I will also share some stress management tips that will help you in coping with similar situations.
What is “Stress”?
Stress is a specific type of response of our body to any physical, emotional, or mental stimuli such as tension. We experience it in pressurizing and depressing situations like:
- Sudden job loss
- The trauma of losing our beloved person
- Marital issues
- Exam pressure for students
- Financial problems
- Stubborn Boss
- The feeling of being overburdened, etc.
Does stress affect our health?
We all encounter stress one or the other daily. Slight stress is quite normal and we do not have to worry about it. This is because it helps us to move progressively in our life, but acute stress is a cause of concern. It will lead to some serious illness and hampers healthy life from us. This acute form of stress may ultimately:
- Lead to mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and suicidal intentions.
- Cause heart diseases, high blood pressure, etc.
- Give rise to hormonal imbalances in both men and women.
- Cause digestion and eating problems.
- Change our body mass index causing weight gain or loss.
- Results in mood swings, forgetfulness, trouble in sleeping, etc.
Does stress help us lose weight?
The impact of stress on an individual’s weight varies from person to person. Some people put on weight while others may lose it. It all depends on a person’s physiology, but yes, people may lose weight due to stressful and persistent conditions.
Relation between Stress and Weight:
Stress triggers our physiological “Fight and Flight” mechanism. This mechanism naturally exists within us to protect us from potentially life-threatening stimuli like natural disasters, predators, or even dangerous heights. Nowadays, such stimulants are not our potential threats, but this mechanism is still there to save us from different physical and psychological dangers.
Adrenaline and cortisol hormones suppress the metabolism
It floods our body with different hormones in this sympathetic nervous system’s response, especially cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenaline hormone triggers strenuous activities in our body like high blood pressure and increased heartbeat, but it is also responsible for reducing our desires for eating when hungry. Meanwhile, cortisol slows down unnecessary processes like eating, reproduction, etc. Overall, this hormonal flood will slow down our metabolism and thus results in weight loss.
Stress stimulates the Vagus nerve.
The Vagus nerve controls our food digestion along with many other important functions. When it is hyper-stimulated by stress, our stomach and pancreas cannot secrete stomach acids and bile. Our food is not digested and nutrients cannot absorb into our bloodstream. So, we lose weight and feel exhausted all the time.
Body movements in stressful conditions also cause weight loss.
Everyone has his way of expressing stress. Nail-biting, finger cracking, walking fast, all are habits of depressed people. These unintentional body movements burn many calories and, therefore, cause weight loss.
So stress affects our weight, but this weight loss is for a certain period. When stress is removed, our body functions start to normalize, and we may regain weight by having a healthy diet. But if you have put off over 10% weight in half a year or more, have an appointment with your doctor.
Best Stress Management Tips:
Every person in this world is facing a certain amount of stress because of challenging circumstances in life. No one is immune from these challenges. A few months back, I was also under stress because of some personal reasons. My habit of overthinking ruined my mental health. It is then that I decided to overcome it.
I had contemplated and tried many things on a “trial and error” basis and finally came up with a list of techniques that worked for me. Today, I will share those stress management tips that worked best for me.
Relaxation Tips for Stress Management:
Meditation is a process of deep contemplation over things. Select a peaceful place in your surrounding or home for comfortable sitting, close your eyes, and try to focus on a single point. It can be anything like how your body is responding to brain signals, how you are breathing, and how it is soothing your mind. This practice diverts your mind from depressing things, moves our attention to more positive things, and starts a thought-provoking process.
It is another proven way to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. Sit anywhere where you are most comfortable and with no distractions, close your eyes and start breathing in to take in as much oxygen as you can. Then hold your breath for a few seconds and slowly release it. Repeating this process daily or twice a day will help you a lot in de-stressing yourself.
Last but not the least, massaging is another very effective remedy for stress. In this technique, take help from any of your beloved people. Oil massage is a very ancient therapy, and it is very good for those who have sleeping issues. It instantly relaxes you and you easily fall asleep. Just try this one.
Put a few drops of oil on your hands, rub them gently and massage the head and cervical portion, especially in a circular motion. You can see a tutorial video for that.
Stretching and Brisk Walking Tips
Exercising not only keep us fit physically rather also keeps us mentally fit as well. I unintentionally walk quickly in stress. Maybe you have also noticed this in yourself. This is because brisk walking and mild stretching release endorphin chemicals in our body which create a feeling of pleasure, happiness, and calmness. So make a habit of stretching for a few minutes, then add a bit of jogging and walking to your routine.
Emotional and Behavioral Tips for Stress Management:
Try to reduce unnecessary life pressures.
Many things constantly pressurize us, but they are not essential for improving our lifestyle. We all still pursue these things blindly because we do not fully understand the toll it takes on our life. Our mind needs time to relax. These activities are affecting our time and mental health immensely, like part-time jobs, people around you who taunt, boring daily routines, overthinking, etc.
Try to overcome overthinking and your hypersensitive nature.
Overthinking and hypersensitivity are some principal causes of unnecessary and persistent stress. Sensitive people are more prone to it because they take everything personally. We do not change any situation by thinking about the “ifs and buts” and not practically doing anything to resolve that problem. Ask a question to yourself:
Has overthinking ever solved any of my problems?
I know your answer will be no. Be brave and look into the eyes of challenging problems and face them fearlessly. You will solve many of your issues by adopting this approach because you think in a much better way. Don’t be oversensitive about people, about what, and why are they saying things? Just take them as opinions.
Try to look at the bright side of things.
Successful people adopt a much positive approach in their lives. Everything has both bright and dark aspects. Try to look at the positivity side of things instead of blaming the situation. Take out positivity from people and spread it everywhere, the world needs it more.
Have productive use of your free time.
Although free time is leisure, if you do not invest it properly, it will be disastrous. It is a famous saying that an empty mind is a devil’s workshop so use it in more productive activities like learning skills online through courses, gardening, reading books, writing a diary, spending time with family, or even writing blogs just like me!
“Social Connection” is also essential.
Depressed people have a feeling of loneliness and lack of importance. Try to share your feelings and emotions with your loyal friends and family members. It will improve your social connection, and as your thoughts are coming out and not piling up inside your mind, you will feel much relaxed.
Listen to the hymns and offer prayers.
This technique works effectively for those who believe in religion and the concept of God. Listening to your religious hymn and offering prayers according to your religion has a very calming and soothing impact on your body. For example, I am a Muslim; I have used Surah-Rahman therapy so many times and these verses soothe my mind.
Try to find such things in your religion that become very close to your heart and check them out.
Laughing turns on your parasympathetic nervous system, which calms down your body and also increases beauty. So do not miss any chance of laughing. Life is too short, either you can live in sorrow or cherish tiny things. You can watch comedy videos, sitcoms, spend time with a funny friend or play with a child just like I usually do.
Surround yourself with motivators and inspirational people.
When life is stressing and depressing us, we feel very demotivated and discouraged. To cope with such circumstances. Always surround yourself with people who encourage and inspire you; who can find good inside you in every unpleasant situation.
Workload Management Tips:
The world is growing so fast, and every person is in a hurry to keep pace with the world. Although, our approach is not bad, and it is quite helpful for financial and other lifestyle improvements, but it is also putting us under huge stress. We are unable to manage our work and our life because we do not prioritize things.
I am recently working on my workload management by 80/20 rule approach, also known as ‘Prieto’s Rule’. It implies that out of 100 things that we do daily, 80% are non-essential for our success, and only 20% of things have been contributing to our success anywhere.
So we prioritize that 20% that we feel is important for us. In this way, we can solve most of our management problems, and we can use our time more productively. We may get better results. Let’s work on it.
Food Consumption Tips for Stress Management:
Eating hygienic and organic food.
Hygienic and unprocessed food items are desirable for physical and mental health. Food that has cooked in a dirty place is full of germs and diseases that spoil our health and chemically processed food items do not provide calories to us.
Eat Oxytocin and Vitamin-C rich food.
It is scientifically proved that oxytocin and Vitamin-C both have a role in de-stressing of our bodies. As oxytocin is a hormone of love, it induces a pleasure response. So if we eat such food that has plenty of oxytocins and Vitamin-C, we can reduce stress triggering responses in our body naturally.
Oxytocin Rich Food: watermelons, figs, avocados, green tea, etc.
Vitamin C Rich Food: oranges, lemons, potato, strawberry, etc.
To conclude, I have one thing to say and this is also a “special tip” for you, nothing can defeat you until you accept it. Do not allow your stress to defeat you. You are greater than those pressures, thus find smarter ways to tackle them. If stress is becoming unbearable for you, instead of finding a short-term solution like smoking and suicidal intentions, immediately consult with a psychologist.
These are all of my experienced stress management tips that best suit me. You also try them out and tell me, are these helpful for you or not? And do share any other tips that help you in coping with stress.