When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode and releases sugar into your bloodstream.
This is a natural response because your body is preparing to flee or defend itself – though in most cases of modern stress, the threat isn’t real, the impacts are.
Weight gain, bloating, poor digestion and higher levels of inflammation are all rooted in high levels of stress in the body.
Here are Six Ways to Tackle Stress and Support Your Body in Losing Weight.
1. Schedule device free walks in nature
How much time do you spend on your phone, computer, watching Netflix or TV and engaging with technology? While it’s ok to take a break and tune out for a bit on your device, it can become a habit that disconnects us from the present moment. Too much TV or violent media can even bring up more anxiety in our bodies!
One of the most rewarding ways to naturally lower our stress levels is to schedule “device” free time in nature at least once per day. This could be as simple as leaving your phone at home while you go for a walk around your neighborhood, or turning your phone on Airplane mode while you walk in nature somewhere near your home. If you don’t have access to nature, try turning off your phone and instead, put on some gentle music, dim the lights and stretch your body for at least 20 minutes while breathing deeply.
2. Meal prep blood-sugar balancing recipes
Eating foods that balance your blood-sugar will effectively balance your hormones and help your body flush our excess stress hormones that may have built up in your body. Drinks high in sugar and empty carbohydrates like baked goods, white bread, pasta, and other sweets can impact digestion and cause blood sugar levels to spike, leading to mood dysregulation, weight gain, fatigue, and swollen joints. Here are some recipes you can incorporate into your week to naturally improve your stress levels and support your body in releasing unwanted weight:
Spinach Mushroom Crustless Quiche
Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini Boats
3. Eat foods you LOVE
Eating healthy should never mean eating foods that you don’t totally love. Have fun with the process of trying and experimenting with new recipes on a weekly basis, and build your meal plans for the week around the foods you LOVE most. With all this talk about emotional eating, it’s important to recognize that as human beings, there’s always got to be some pleasure in eating – it is not JUST about fuel, it is also about connecting with the ones we love, celebrating and indulging our senses! But the misconception here is that in order to enjoy our food, it has to be “unhealthy”. Clean Eating is incredibly diverse, with so many amazing recipes and treats to choose from. Here are a few options:
Super Simple Chocolat “Nice Cream” Cups
Simple and Clean Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes
Protein-Packed Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad
4. Listen to calming music
The media we take in can raise our blood pressure and speed up our heart rate, or it can calm us and soothe us when we’re feeling anxious or stressed. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed lately, consider making a soothing playlist that you can put on whenever you need to take a breather. Nature music, rain sounds, and peaceful meditation music playing in the background can have an immense impact on our relaxation levels, and improve the ability to focus. Notice how you feel when certain shows are on, or when you’re listening to music. By paying attention to how your body responds to external stimuli, you can begin to create a more supportive environment in which you can feel at ease and lower your stress levels.
5. Curate your schedule
Do you have far too many things on your schedule? Part of reducing your stress load is prioritizing time for self-care and even a bit of “do nothing” time. This is where you get to practice saying “no” and setting boundaries with your time. You aren’t obligated to say yes to everything. Choose only the things that you truly want to do and the priorities that you’ve committed to for you and your family. Trim the rest, and put “self-care activity” in your schedule. Seriously, schedule the bubble bath, the solo-tea, the walk with a friend – make yourself a priority!
6. Practice mindful eating
Slow down and be mindful as you eat your food. This alone can help improve your digestion, lower inflammation levels, and prevent overeating. Many of us are eating on the go, eating as fast as we can, eating while watching TV, or driving. As often as possible, sit down without a device or any other “task at hand” and simply enjoy your meal. This is not only great for your health, but it also helps you feel more connected to your own body. Over time, your portion sizes may shift as well because you’re much more aware of when you feel satisfied when you’re fully present at mealtime.