How to Avoid Stress-Induced Weight Gain
Here’s a crazy-making cycle that may sound familiar: you’re stressed out and you notice the number on the scale slowly creep upward. This of course stresses you out more. And the more stressed you get, the higher your weight climbs. Going nuts yet?
This isn’t your imagination at work and it probably isn’t your penchant for pastries that’s causing those extra pounds to pile on. Even if you’ve been diligently avoiding junk food, you may still be noticing an upward trend in your weight. Why? Well in a study from Ohio State University, researchers actually found that women who experienced stress burned over 100 fewer calories than women who had not experienced stress, directly after eating a high-fat meal. This stress-induced metabolic disruption led to the equivalent of 11 potential pounds gained over a year!
So why aren’t we hearing about this? Why are we continuously told to push ourselves harder and harder to lose weight when science is showing us that strict dieting and punishing workouts aren’t the answers? It’s time to rethink weight loss when it comes to women, and I want to show you how to start.
How stress is causing you to gain weight ~
The fact is, stress blocks our natural ability to lose weight. It disrupts our adrenal patterns and cortisol levels, so that fat doesn’t convert to useful glucose, but instead goes straight back into our cells. Instead of being used for energy, it just pads out your belly and hips. To make matters worse, extra fat in those cells equals extra estrogen and estrogen dominance is the cause of so many hormonal health issues from endometriosis to infertility.
If you’ve believed what the media and every diet book on the shelf says, you’ve probably tried restricting your calories and over-exercising in an effort to shed unwanted pounds. But as you’ve probably discovered, this simply doesn’t work. In fact, it causes more stress on your body, making it even harder to lose those stubborn pounds.
As far as I’m concerned, if you’re already stressed, it’s pretty barbaric to expect your body to go without enough food and strive for physical exhaustion to get around this problem. And if you’re over 35, just had a baby, or you’re suffering with hormonal imbalances, then it’s not only barbaric, but counterintuitive – you’ll only be increasing your appetite and your cravings. You’ll be starving, leading to inevitable carb binges and regret. Your adrenals will go haywire, causing your hormones to go into panic-mode, leaving you feeling low and lumpy.
The secret to avoiding stress-related weight gain ~
One of the most important ways to actually counter stress-induced weight gain is—surprise!—sleep.
That’s right – don’t move more, move less – and for 8-10 hours a night. But the quality of your sleep matters too. Decent, deep sleep calms the adrenals, rebalances your cortisol levels (avoiding the pitfalls of adrenal fatigue, and primes your body for weight loss. Good sleep helps you to burn more calories (when you’re awake and while you’re asleep!), melts more fat, and curbs those tendencies to give in to unhealthy cravings and overeating.
For those who run on too little, poor quality sleep has been found to lead to an experience of increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety hormone leptin, causing both overeating and weight gain. Five days of a bad night’s sleep can cause you to add on another two pounds in just that short period of time.
It makes sense: when we’re sleepy or exhausted, we eat more of the wrong kinds of foods to keep us going. Our hormones get sluggish, our adrenals slow, and our metabolism slumps. To interrupt this damaging cycle, the best thing you can do is to set a sleep schedule that protects your body’s fat burning skills from this kind of sabotage.
5 tips to getting the right kind of sleep that burns fat ~
1) Quit caffeine for good: Follow my coffee detox plan and replace your morning cup of Joe with something more adrenal-soothing.
2) Download a blue light-blocking App: Install a blue light filter on your laptop and phone to decrease the stimulating, sleep-disrupting light your devices currently give off. Try this one or this one for calmer evening times.
3) Get off!: Orgasms will help you fall into a deep and restorative sleep. Follow my steps to get the best solo experience of your life!
4) Supplement the right way: Figure out your personal sleep story to make the right choices in supplements that will see you through the night with no slip-ups.
5) Get enough magnesium: A magnesium deficiency is one of the most common health issues and one of the most prominent causes of sleep disturbance, so you need to consciously supplement and sustain.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!