Did you know that some people lose weight when they are under stress? It’s true. The rest of us pack on pounds like crazy, and then get even more stressed out because we’re gaining weight. It’s natural to turn to “comfort foods” and tv when you feel like you can’t handle your life right now. But this doesn’t help you to eliminate stress, and can create more.
Presumably you’re pretty much always under some stress, but you want to be a healthy weight in spite of that. How do you do that?
First, don’t let your weight goals cause you even more stress! That would make things harder for you, and so would be self-defeating! Instead, think of your attempt to maintain (or to achieve) a healthy weight as a chance to take care of yourself. There isn’t some state of perfection that you have to reach – you just need to balance your life, and that includes a little bit of caring for your body.
Second, in the spirit of taking care of yourself, find activities that you enjoy, and make time for them. Even as stressed out as you are, and as rushed as you feel, give yourself permission to take care your yourself by exercising a little. Take a few deep breaths, then a 5 minute walk around the block. Slow down and take the stairs at work, instead of the elevator. Sign up for a weekly yoga class, and really go. This is time for you! The little bit of time you lose here or there won’t make things any worse, and might make you feel a little better.
Third, exercise reduces stress. There have been many studies that show a strong connection between regular exercise and reduced stress. Even depression is sometimes eased by exercise. The time you take for yourself, to do some physical activity that you enjoy doing, will make you more productive later. You’ll feel better, you’ll look better, and you’ll even work better.
Food choices are a little tougher. I know how tempting comfort foods are when I’m under stress. The thing to bear in mind is that even if you choose comfort foods, you can still be careful not to eat to much. Ask yourself, “Am I hungry enough to eat an apple?” If the answer is no, then you aren’t really hungry, so don’t eat.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is really just a matter of taking care of yourself. No matter how much your child wants to stay home from school every day, you wouldn’t be taking good care of her if you let her goof off like that. Similarly, no matter how tempting it is to be sedentary and eat lots of junk food, you have to take care of your long term interests a little, by exercising and eating right (or at least by not eating too much).
Dr. Michael Allen
Fitness Instructor & Fat Loss Factor Founder