So what does stress actually do to cause weight gain?
Here are a few things that stress can do to your body – Stress can make you hungry and crave sugar, reduce your ability to burn fat, increase your belly fat and Increase the rate at which you store fat. Stress can also affect your sleep which can also cause weight gain! Lack of sleep may disrupt the functioning of chemicals that control the appetite, it can also make you crave carbs, and can destroy your willpower and ability to resist temptation.
Here are some techniques for reducing/ eliminating stress:
1. Prepare – Create your very own ‘to-do list’ for the coming week. Put tasks in order of importance, and what days you should do them. Put the list up on a noticeboard, or schedule each task into your diary or calendar. By being more organised, you're reducing the possibility of stress.
2. Take time out – It's important that you have regular breaks throughout the day to relax and drink plenty of water. Relaxation is important for helping our minds and bodies to switch off from the pressures of the day, and water keeps us hydrated – dehydration can cause stress!
3. Go for a walk – Walking is beneficial is SO many ways, including stress reduction. Walking (or any physical activity) triggers the release of endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression.
4. Stress reduction technique
We can’t always be prepared for stress; as unpredicted stressful situations can present themselves at any time. Try this technique as an instant stress-reliever:
• Take yourself away from the situation and find somewhere quiet
• Make yourself as comfortable as possible and close your eyes (Even if this means sitting on the loo at work!)
• Now visualise your stress as a thick grey cloud or fog inside your body. Imagine this greyness in the body parts that you are feeling the stress (even if that means all over!) and make its size proportional to how much stress you're experiencing
• Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for the mental count of four
• Exhale slowly, and as you do so, imagine a small amount of the stress cloud leaving your body
• Every time you inhale, imagine that you are inhaling calm and peacefulness. Every time you exhale, imagine part of that grey stress cloud leaving your body
• Continue until the whole of the stress cloud has left your body and you're feeling calm