Something we have come to be fully aware of and have integrated into our programme at New You Boot Camp is the link between stress and weight gain. It is such a prevalent problem for our clients that we have brought in experts to work with clients on stress management techniques and developed an advanced Therapeutic Nutrition Programme that helps with stress reduction and fat loss.
The team at New You Boot Camp see every day how much clients don’t realise how stress affects their body and weight.
“Even if you usually eat healthfully and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight’or even add pounds,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, a Prevention advisor and the author of Body for Life for Women.
Stress can be defined as any forces from the outside world that affects the individual. While stress can help you to learn and grow, more often it causes you anxiety and frustration. Stressors are specifically defined by each individual. What may cause some to become stressed, might be taken in stride by others. Stress doesn’t necessarily have to be diagnosed by a Doctor for it to have an impact on your life. Sleep deprivation alone is a stressor that would cause an inflammation and reactor thus potentially resulting in weight gain. You MUST have 8 hours sleep a night to allow your body to repair.
Cortisol ‘ The Stress Hormone ‘ New You Boot Camp’s Arch Nemesis
Cortisol helps to maintain blood pressure and provide energy for the body. Cortisol stimulates the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates for energy in the body. It also stimulates insulin release for maintenance of blood sugar levels. As a result, it can also cause an increase in appetite in order to maintain your energy and insulin levels. During times of stress, when excess cortisol is secreted, normal patterns of cortisol levels are disrupted. On average, levels are highest in the early morning and lowest at night. The disruption of this pattern can promote weight gain also.
In 2000, researchers found that women with a high waist-to-hip ratio — both overweight and slim — secreted more cortisol under stress and reported more stress in their daily lives than women with lower waist-to-hip ratios. To read more on this interesting study http://weightloss.about.com/od/eatsmart/a/aa060806a.htm
If you constantly subject your body to ‘modern day tigers’, by being anxious, or stressed emotionally, or subjecting your body to long working hours, many nights of late night partying, alcohol, cigarettes, sugary drinks and foods (including white refined carbohydrates) and erratic or insufficient sleep, your Cortisol is constantly raised in response to the ‘Fight or Flight’ trigger, thereby contributing to unstable blood sugar, and excessive inflammation in the body.
Cortisol can mix up your hunger signals and cause you to eat high fat, simple carbohydrate foods that the body can convert to energy. These calories were easily burned off back in ancient times, when everyday life involved more physical activities (hunting for food, farming, etc…) Today, most stress is caused by busy schedules and money woes. As a result, you probably aren’t burning off those extra calories in times of stress.
“Often, our response to stress today is to sit and stew in our frustration and anger, without expending any of the calories or food stores that we would if we were physically fighting our way out of stress or danger,” says Shawn Talbott, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Utah and author of The Cortisol Connection.
“Often, eating becomes the activity that relieves the stress”
In other words, since your neuro-endocrine system doesn’t know you didn’t fight or flee, it still responds to stress with the hormonal signal to replenish nutritional stores — which may make you feel hungry.
Some Tips on Top Stress Busting Foods that We Offer at New You Boot Camp That Truly Work
Integrating these foods alongside a healthy diet will help your body to maintain a more balanced and more calm body. We appreciate that sometimes it is very difficult for you to change your lifestyle with large steps. But, small steps and nutritional changes will absolutely make an enormous difference to you. For example:
Brown Rice supplies you with B vitamins and Magnesium
Pumpkin Seeds provides you with Magnesium which relaxes the body and mind (known as ‘nature’s relaxing mineral). It is very helpful for sleep and muscle-spasms.
As for eggs, the YOLK is the best part as this is where lecithin is found. This is known as ‘nature’s natural tranquilliser’ and is very helpful for sleep and muscle spasms.
Oily Fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, kippers, herring, trout and sea-bass contain omega oils which can help depression and anxiety & help stabilise blood sugars. Tuna is no longer an oily fish as supplement industry tends to drain oils for supplements, and fresh Tuna is too full of toxic mercury as is shark, swordfish and marlin, so best avoided or consumed around once every few months at worst!
Just these top foods will make a great difference to you. Try to take sometime for
yourself, each day. Even half an hour a day will be worth every second. Learn to breathe and to manage the stresses in your life. Obviously, always contact us at New You Boot Camp and Mary Lou Harris our lead nutrition and life skills coach will be happy to answer any of your questions.