There are a lot of pieces to the fat loss puzzle … of course food and training, but sleep, hormones and even stress all ‘weigh in’ as well.
But stress is that often overlooked piece that can ultimately make or break your success. Let’s figure out how to put a stop to this!
You see, there’s this powerful hormone in our body called cortisol – it’s known as “the stress hormone.” It’s a chemical our bodies release when we’re coping with different stressors. It creates a fight-or-flight response, which can ultimately signal our bodies to hang onto our fat stores just in case they’re needed for the ‘battle’ or famine ahead.
Despite the progression of our society (famine is hardly a worry for most), our bodies’ core responses haven’t changed much. And that is why ongoing stress is a major contributor to that ring of fat around the middle commonly called the "muffin top” or “spare tire.”
We work late hours. Maybe you lost a job. Kids are driving you crazy. The list of stressors in our lives could be endless.
This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to gain balance in our lives. Our culture is one that thrives on a "more is more" philosophy – we wear our ‘busyness’ and our consumption like a badge, always eager to add one more activity or responsibility to our already-overloaded plate.
Here are a few ways to lessen that load, lower your cortisol levels and lose that muffin top or spare tire once and for all!
"Yes" is a four-letter word. Well, not really, but it might as well be. If you tend to say yes to everything that’s asked of you, chances are you’re exhausted, burned out and less-than-pleasant for the people who mean the most to you. So say it with me: NO. It will be the best word you’ve ever used in 2010
Take time to breathe. As simple as it sounds, breath is life. There’s a reason why yoga is so popular – it forces people to slow down and truly breathe, which then helps you reconnect with your inner balance. When your stress level is zooming upwards, force yourself to take deep breaths and get centered again. You’ll calm your heart rate and get body and brain-boosting oxygen flowing.
Prioritize, and then cut yourself a break. Be nice to yourself! You’re the only self you’ve got. If your to-do list is too long, look at it and ask yourself honestly what has to be done RIGHT NOW. Then accomplish those things, and leave the rest to another day.
Make a new list. Many of us keep lengthy to-do lists to keep us on track. Add a new twist to your list: at the end of each day, list your accomplishments. Seeing how much you got done over the course of the day will boost your self-esteem and make you feel readier to tackle tomorrow’s tasks.
Get your workout in? Check.
Bills paid? Check.
Provided healthy meals, met deadlines, didn’t forget anyone’s soccer practice or homework? Check, check and check.
Don’t let stress rule your life. Take control and be the best you NOW!
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