It is stress awareness month so the Body Club team thought it would be a great time to open the discussion on how stress affects your weight and what you can do about it.
Living with stress is now a common problem for most people. I am not talking about the kind of stress we faced as cavemen where we would be literally faced with life or death situations; I am talking about the low grade constant stress that we deal with in the modern day. Unfortunately for us, the brain doesn't know the difference between real threat and perceived threat and it responds as if both were the same. In today's world, this constant stress creates a physical reaction within the body, creating anxiety, sleepless nights and weight gain as just a few of the side effects. The body starts producing stress chemicals, your cortisol and adrenaline goes sky high and your physical and emotional body starts to suffer.
The good news? EFT Tapping directly influences the stress centre of your brain and can dramatically reduce the stress response within the body. One of the most common things I get asked by clients is how to stop the weight gain that often comes hand in hand with stress and anxiety. You know what I am talking about right? The "I've had a stressful day munchies", the desire to eat to fill an empty emotion or feeling, wanting to eat something that is comforting, the sleepless nights that leave you with a tired body that is craving sugar.
Here are some simple hints and tips that will not only help reduce your daily stress levels but will also help banish your personal stress eating pattern.
1. Get Tapping! EFT Tapping is THE BEST way of reducing stress levels. It is gentle, non-evasive, quick and reaps generous results. Why not try one of the free tapping videos, audios in my website toolkit to get you started.
2. Get to bed on time! Make sure you turn off all tech one hour before falling asleep, have a cup of camomile tea, a long bath, read a book, listen to a meditation. All of these things will help you sleep and give your body a chance to recover and repair.
3. Take 3 breaths before stress eating! When you are having a stressful day and you walk in the door and open the fridge or the sweet cupboard, stop yourself and take 3 deep breaths. This simple act will make you mindful of your choices, it will give you the head space and time you need to make the right choices and instead you may decide not to eat your "stress food"which was for me a family share bag of crisps or a whole packet of biscuits, a giant block of chocolate..... but instead to have a cup of tea with a little square of dark chocolate or if you are going to have a cookie, to have only one and to savour it as a treat. Eating in this way is with pleasure and has a completely different chemical response in the body.
4. Have a stress plan. Have a list of 3 things that you can do whenever you feel yourself stressed and ready to self-destruct. Your 3 things could be as simple as -
a) Plug in your iPod and go for a walk
b) Sing loudly
c) Read a book
5. Call a friend. In times of stress it is very easy to isolate yourself and suddenly, manageable stress can become overwhelming. There really is truth in the saying that 'a problem shared is a problem halved'. Having someone to talk to, cry and laugh with, someone to share a meal with is a valuable thing. It is in situations where we can talk over a shared meal that we start to create new relationships with food and our bodies.
Love yourself enough to support yourself in times of stress. You deserve it.