Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stress and Belly Fat

Did you know that stress can be your worst fat loss enemy? In the past few days working with my clients and talking with lady friends the subject of tummy fat has come up more than a few times. What is causing it? STRESS!!!!

While cortisol is an important hormone and a helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event. Higher and prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream not only have numerous negative health effects on your immune system it is also responsible for increased abdominal fat. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress. So what does one do? You must build in some ‘de-stressors’ and if you can do even one of these steps your body and belly will thank you!

1. Exercise – Of course this is number one for me and should be for you! This is one of the most effective and healthiest ways to deal with any kind of stress. Get moving, do something that you enjoy, do it daily and try your best to get a sweat on!
2. Network, Fellowship, Find YOUR Tribe – Reach out to family and friends to develop meaningful relationships. Stay in touch, even when you feel the most stressed.
3. Meditate and Slow Down – Build in some down time where you do nothing. Practice sitting for five minutes and just focus on your breath or something positive like gratitude. Increase that time and see how much more effective you are after re-setting your body’s stress response timer.
4. Be of Service and get out of yourself– Sometimes the best way to help yourself feel better is to help someone else. Small gestures can make a big difference and can get you out of yourself. I don’t know about you but I sure get sick of me, me, and more me.
5. Powerful words – Develop positive self talk or a mantra to encourage yourself. You are a grown woman and don’t need to hear it from others (although geez sometimes it’s nice).
6. Rest – Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep and almost everyone gets over tired. Stress can seem insurmountable under these conditions, so try to get your zzz’s on a regular basis.
7. LAUGH – Have a laugh, or plan something fun. Even if you’re under a timeline, sometimes by taking a break or having something to look forward to, it gives you renewed strength and energy. So take a break and have some fun.
8. WALK AWAY from or limit the time you spend with the people in your life who are negative, scared and fearful. They will drag you down and take your energy. Trust your intuition on who they are.
9. 70% is good enough – Accept imperfection for some things. Be realistic, don’t purposely set the bar low, do your best, but then accept your best even if it’s not perfect. Take imperfect action.
10. Be Creative – Nurture this side of yourself. Journal, paint, garden or cook.
11. Get organized – De-stress your mind and de-clutter your life. By getting organized you will save time too. Anyone looking for service work you are welcome to come by and help me out here.
12. Say ‘NO’ – Don’t over plan your life and prioritize what’s important to you (like exercise (put it in your day timer – make a date with YOU or a trainer!) This may mean saying no to some things like volunteering, social invitations, work commitments.

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