Have you ever said – “I’m a stress eater? When you look down do you see a larger waistline than you want to?
This is what stress can do. I’m going to tell you how it happens and what you can do about it.
Our stress response is designed to keep us alive.
You’re strolling through Palaeolithic earth and spot a sabre toothed tiger.
You need to run or fight. That’s it – that’s what ensured our survival.
So your stress response is for physical situations. In our modern world – it’s all changed.
99% of your stressors will be psychological. Traffic jams, arguments, unexpected bills. This is all ‘thinking stress’.
So how does that make you overweight? You’ve got 3 hormones that step up when you’re stressed.
You’ve experienced the first two, Have you had a shock and felt your heart beat out of your chest and felt nauseous?
That’s these guys at work – adrenaline and nor epinephrine. They are increasing the blood flow and energy supply to the areas of the body you need to get you out of trouble fast.
These 2 are quick release – seconds not minutes but don’t hang around for long.
The next hormone that turns up on the scene is Cortisol. This is the king pin of hormones – one ring to rule them all!
Now cortisol assumes that you’ve just sprinted or fought your way out of danger.
Hmmmm – if you have been running you need to refuel your muscles ready for the next threat.
So cortisol sends off signals to get you eat, not just any food – carbs will be calling.
Cortisol tells insulin to get ready. It’s insulin’s job to transport the sugar into the muscles.
So insulin goes to refill the muscles and – doh – they’re already full. What to do now?
Better save it for another time. Insulin is also the fat storage hormone so all the food you’ve
eaten gets converted to fat on your waistline.
So this is the cycle that leads you to that muffin top that ruins the lines of your jeans.
That’s the science bit – what can you actually do about it?
Anything that calms you or makes you laugh does the trick.
Go for a walk, have a bubble bath, read a book, meditate. You get the idea.
Stop with the coffee – sorry – caffeine increases cortisol levels.
Here’s a really easy technique that will bring your cortisol levels right down.
Breathe through one nostril at a time. Sounds funny I know. What happens is that your
breathing slow down and you take deep breathes.
So your body is completely oxygenated and ready to go. It also sends a message to the
body that you’re safe. Nobody stops and takes deep breathes when you’re about to be pounced on!
So put your finger on one side of your nose and take a deep breathe through your nose (the open nostril)
and breathe out your mouth. Now switch to the other side and repeat.
Do it 4 times in a row – or more if you need to. Notice how the stress levels fall right down.
You’ll feel relaxed, life is easier and your waist will shrink!