Is Stress Causing Your Weight Gain?

Hopped on the scales recently? Are you thinking because you had a huge week of exercise last week that there will be a massive LOSE IN WEIGHT? Amazed that your weight hasn’t changed or might have even gone up? It’s because your body is under too much stress.

The hectic pace of 21st century lifestyles has led to a combination of high stress and anxiety. T

here are numerous sources of stress, from physical (over exertion, trauma, infection), environmental (heat, cold and noise) and chemical (pollution, drugs, cosmetics), to emotional (relationship stress, worry, fear) and nutritional (nutritional deficiencies, processed and packaged foods). It is said that we are 100 times more stressed than our grandparents.

We are working longer hours, have higher targets to meet and have less time for ourselves and the people we care most about. To add to that we have the global financial crisis, the rising cost of living and a higher exposure to chemicals and toxins further fuelling the downward spiral into stress.

And guess what? These stressors are one of the primary factors as to why you aren’t get those results you want!

Your body releases hormones and cortisol regularly, which help regulate your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and help to fight stress/inflammation. Over an extended period of time, if we don’t come back to homeostasis (the balance between good stress and bad stress) because of lack of adaption to the constant stressors we experience on a daily basis, the adrenal glands have to work over time.

This slows down our metabolism which means we don’t burn those calories. We become catabolic (so don’t build muscle) and we end up with a hormones imbalance which is a growing problem especially amongst females. To workout what type of exercises you need to be doing put yourself into one of the following categories!

Low Stress

The individuals that fall into the low stress category are generally those that take extreme care in their health and wellbeing. For example someone that trains 5-6 days a week, sleeps between 10pm-6am each night, doesn’t drink, eats organic and non processed foods, has minimal work or relationship stress and has regular massage or attends pilates amongst other things would be deemed low stress load.

Yep, I know what you’re saying; ‘There aren’t many people out there like that’ guess what? Your right! Those of low stress concern should have very few restrictions and be able to workout at a high level of intensity if required. Still address any forms of stress that they are placing on their bodies.

Those that fall into this category are likely to be

1) Healthy uni students,
2) Professional athletes
3) Those that have a brilliant understanding of their own health.
4) Those that implement relaxation techniques on a daily basis

Moderate Stress

A large percentage of our society would fall into either the moderate or high levels of stress. As the average gym user you’re not expected to be able to evaluate the large number of stresses in your life but an experienced health professional/personal trainer would be the perfect inclusion here.

The intensity of your workouts should be monitored and at this level of stress extremely high levels of intensity would be detrimental to your health and fitness.

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce the stress placed on your body including relaxing techniques such as Pilates, yoga or meditation. Lighter weights with a longer recovery (potentially 2-3 mins) will be beneficial.

With all forms of stress you need to actually be aware of what is stressing you to address it, so start to take note of those days that you get home and feel absolutely wreaked. What is happening on those days that make them worse than the others.

Those that fall into a moderate level of stress are:

1) Poor sleepers
2) Corporate
3) Regular drinkers
4) Consumers of convenience meals
5) Irregular exercises
6) Parents

High Stress

In the past decade this group has grown so quickly that stress is now a MAJOR KILLER!!! More and more people are taking stress leave from work and are losing all control over their life and wellbeing. These people are on the brink of burning out and are causing severe damage to their bodies on a daily basis. Regular low intensity exercise is the key here.
The individuals in this category should be working at 40% of their maximum effort with plenty of recovery (2-3 mins).

Their exercise regime should be made up of a blend of pilates/meditation/yoga along with low intensity weight training and cardio (no more than 20 minutes). These individuals need to address all aspect of their life, from the detrimental lifestyle habits they live, their eating patterns and quality of their food, sleep, work and relationship stress, their exercise; or more likely their lack of exercise and much, much more.

Those that fall into this category are:

1) Individuals that NEVER exercise
2) Heavy smokers
3) Heavy drinkers
4) Individuals with extreme stresses at work
5) Individuals with high levels of stress due to kids, relationships
6) Certain immune diseases such as auto immune

So get started on addressing your stresses and in turn see the results you want start to happen!

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