After all the working out, skipping of meals and losing night after night of sleep if one is still wondering what the reason is behind gaining pounds of weight steadily then the cause is undoubtedly stress. This may be surprising but stress does strange things to our body. Many have rightfully compared stress to rust, something that is capable of gradually, but certainly, degenerating the fittest of individuals.
Stress if not controlled at the very beginning can cause excessive weight gain and be the prime cause of obesity, stroke and diabetes. So the wise thing to do is take control over stress before it begins to take control over one’s body.
Causes of Stress:
There are various reasons that cause stress. Since it is a psychological issue one cannot narrow it down to any singular reason, stress can be caused due to excess pressure at office, a broken or troublesome relationship, problems at home or dissatisfaction with the way one looks, it could actually be due to anything that threatens to take a toll on one’s peace of mind. It is precisely at this hour of dissatisfaction that one is the most vulnerable. Stress sensing this vulnerability releases certain hormones that create a false of hunger. The hunger is more like a craving for calorie or carbohydrate rich food. This only temporarily satisfies the appetite but it does nothing to the body other than adding some unnecessary calories and taking one closer to obesity and other sort of serious diseases. Say for instance chocolate, it is a well known fact that the consumption of chocolate makes the body release certain chemicals that simulate a sense of temporary happiness, people in stress tend to gorge upon chocolate for this reason and gain immense amount of weight. The other reason for gaining weight due to stress is the lack of time one has for preparing wholesome and healthy meals. Because one is always worrying about something that is preoccupying one’s mind the easiest way to eat to having whatever is sold over the counter at fast food joints that serve calorie loaded burgers, sandwiches and pizzas.
Carbohydrate, the Eternal Stress Friend:
Carbohydrates release a sort of chemical that has mood controlling properties. It uplifts one from bouts of depression and provides a false sense of comfort and happiness. Those who binge on fries and the likes may feel better after consuming it but the feeling soon wears off and but the calories remain thereby creating long term weight gain. These sorts of calories cause fat to accumulate near the abdomen.
How to Take Control:
Since stress makes one get fatter by causing cravings for calorie rich food one must immediately take a few positive steps for countering the ill effects of stress like
Never Skip Breakfast:
This is the thumb rule for those who want to lose weight in a proper way for a long term. Crash courses may suggest otherwise but remember that crash courses only help in making one look slim for a short period of time, and mostly the end result is that one looks rather sickly and weak instead of slim and supple. The sugar levels dip very low early in the morning just after one gets up from sleep. It does not have to be anything elaborate just a simple jam on toast and a glass of juice or milk is enough. Skipping it will make one feel hungry at odd hours and then one will binge on high calorie stuff at the wrong times.
Think Of What to Eat in Advance:
Planning of meals will keep things in focus and restrain one from taking a sinful bite now and then. Keep a bag of healthy snacks in the bag like a packet of digestive biscuits or low fat yoghurt. Munch on fresh fruits or have a glass of skimmed buttermilk. These will take care of the hunger and help one in keeping slim.
Accept the fact that one might be stressed, it would mean that half the battle is already won. Only when one is aware of the fact that there is something wrong with the way one is living one’s life will one try to come out of it. So do what it takes to come out of stressful situations. Talk to friends and family members, discuss the issues that seem to eat up one’s sense of wellbeing, consider visiting a psychiatrist if it comes to that. If upon self investigation one manages to narrow down upon the problem that is causing all the stress then solving it becomes very easy thereafter. Take a little vacation, go for long walks, work out regularly, join a hobby class, spend more time with kids, do some social service, play with the pets or listen to music while working explore these stress busting options to find out what works best and win over stress. The first few days of working out are always difficult so do not worry about it. Very soon one will get used to it and before one knows it one will begin to love the effect exercising will have on one’s body and mind.
Take Time to Eat:
Eating in a rush is one of the main reasons for gaining weight because before one gets the time to realize what one is eating the damage is almost done. So take some time and eat peacefully. It is better to be aware of the calories one is consuming than to feel guilty immediately after having it. Studies have shown that those who eat slowly and chew their food properly before swallowing it feel full faster and eat considerably less as opposed to those who eat in a mad rush and gobble their food without even setting their teeth on them properly.
Think Before Eating:
Before munching on the bag of chips it will pay to ask oneself if one is really hungry. Answer honestly because honesty with oneself has a lot to do with staying in shape. Eat only when actually hungry and have food that has some nutritional value and not just empty calories.
One must learn to recognize sign and symptoms of stress. Keep things ready for diverting the mind from thoughts of food. Chewing sugar free gums can also keep thoughts of food away from one’s mind so remember to carry some gum. Apart from this one must also ensure that one is getting a good night’s sleep. Aim for at least eight hours of undisturbed sleep. When one sleeps adequately most of the feelings of stress vanish automatically. If sleeping continuously at a stretch is not possible then try to take some frequent ten minute naps in between. Cutting down on caffeine will help one relax because caffeine keeps the nerves alert always and refrains one from getting good sleep.