If you’re looking to loose weight or just have better body composition there are two big factors that you must make a priority:
- Maintaining a calorie deficit.
- Building, or at least maintaining, your muscle mass.
But if you’re always stressed, doing so will be more difficult for you. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but it definitely complicates things. And who likes complications? We all want the process to go as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Chronic and unmanaged stress is by far most common reason we see for someone not getting results. While some stress is totally normal, and in small doses is even helpful, when left unmanaged it causes tons of problems. All of which will make it harder to lose body fat.
When your body is under continued, unmanaged stress, it will be pumping out too much cortisol. This increases hunger and cravings, disrupts hunger and fullness cues, interrupts sleep, messes with hormones, and makes you retain water. Hormonal imbalances can also cause your body to burn fewer calories and store fat in all of the places you don’t want it, like your belly and hips.
Here are 9 ways that stress can affect the body:
- Decreases desire to eat well and exercise
- Lead to lowered self control
- Makes it more difficult to sleep. This can be partly be attributed to its effects on hormones
- Causes hormonal imbalances. As mentioned above, chronic stress can cause you to put out large amounts of cortisol.
- Increases cravings for high calorie foods
- Messes with hunger and fullness cues. Some studies show that stress can change the amount of leptin the body produces. This is the hormone that signals to the body that you are full.
- Makes it difficult to recover from workouts
- Impairs blood sugar regulation
- Disrupts digestion (irregularity, bloating)
If you want to make progress, you’ve must find ways to get your stress under control. Even if just for 5 minutes, create some space for yourself to relax and unwind.
Short meditations, deep breathing, walks in nature, and laughing are all super simple ways to reduce stress that don’t require much time but can have a huge payoff for your health, happiness, and body composition goal.
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If you’re ready for a change, now is the time to make it happen!