Thursday, 29 November 2012

Four weeks till Christmas

Okay, it's less than that, more like 3 weeks - 25 days to be precise.  Do you stress about Christmas or the holiday season?

Did you know that stress prevents you from losing weight?  Hmm, as if it wasn't hard enough to shed those pounds start stressing and your body stops you from losing weight.  It's a basic survival technique (quite clever really if you think about it!).  Your body knows you are stressed and therefore switches off the fat-burning hormones and switches on the fat-storing hormones to enable you to survive the stressful situation.

The problem is that your body doesn't differentiate between surviving imminent famine, attack by a sabre-toothed tiger or a difficulty in finding just the right gift for Auntie Maureen.  The stress response evolved to deal with life 10,000 years ago when our hormonal response would literally save our lives.

So, where does that leave us today?  In terms of stress, the need to control it is important for so many reasons - high blood pressure, strokes, etc. but in terms of losing weight if your stress levels are too high you simply won't lose weight no matter what you do!

How to control your stress?

Through diet, exercise, adequate sleep, relaxation, hobbies, taking time for yourself.   A long list which may seem daunting and stressful in itself!

Take it one step at a time.  Try to eat good quality meals with lots of vegetables, stay off the caffeine and sugar as much as you can.

Exercise when you can - a short walk of ten to twenty minutes per day may be enough to clear your head. 

Go to bed before 10.30pm - even if you struggle to sleep, make a habit of it and sleep may come.

Make time to relax (not just slumping in front of the telly!), read a book, take a bath, meditate - take ten minutes to yourself. 

Hobbies and taking time for yourself are important for your stress levels and your happiness.  Try to factor in something just for you at least once per week.

When your stress levels are reduced, your weightloss efforts will be worthwhile.  Your body will not perceive any threats and will switch to fat-burning mode.

Try to get a handle on your stress levels over the coming weeks and you never know, you may also enjoy Christmas!

Good luck.

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