STRESS & WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Stress is an unavoidable part of our daily lives, but what you might not realize is what an important role it plays in weight management. Stress is essential to our survival, but like all things we need to keep it in balance – and this is the hard part. The amount of stress most people are under these days is causing more harm than good and can have serious health implications.
43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.
75%-90% of all medical visits are in some way related to stress.
Not only is stress correlated with weight gain and the inability to lose weight, but it is also linked to a wide variety of diseases including:
The truth is that no matter what the source of your stress, it completely disrupts your body’s internal balance.
Stress can be categorized in two different ways: acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term).
Acute stress occurs when, for example, you have to slam on the breaks in the car, someone scares you or you are running late. This is the good stuff! Chronic stress is the one we should be more worried about as it is long lasting and is linked to the above mentioned side effects.
Often when people think about their hormones only two come to mind: testosterone for men and estrogen for women. In fact, there are almost 70 of them – all working in intricate ways in an attempt to keep the body balanced.
Cortisol is the most relevant to weight management as it regulates carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar, inflammation and blood pressure.
CORTISOL & NUTRITION
As a nutritionist, I can’t make your stress go away by waving a magic wand. However, what I can do is facilitate information that can help your body deal with the situation more optimally.
When under stress, not only does your body not absorb essential nutrients well, it also uses up more of them. To top it all off, when stressed, our cravings for simple carbohydrates such as sweets, bread and other baked goods increases. These foods are pretty much devoid of nutrients yet full of calories. And because when we are under stress we are not digesting well, these simple carbs are converted into the much dreaded “muffin top”.
TOP 4 FOODS TO AVOID:
These foods that can stress your system even further, causing you to feel drained, unhappy and with mood swings, causing more stress on an already stressed system. These foods are devoid of any beneficial nutrients that could otherwise help balance out cortisol levels.
TOP 4 FOODS TO EAT:
Foods That Help Relieve Stress
Nutrient rich foods help the body fight oxidative stress, a contributing factor to cancer, by supplying antioxidants. Amino acids need to be constantly replenished, so a diet high in protein is beneficial (vegetarian or animal protein is up to you, although plant proteins will be easier to absorb). Lastly, fiber is a wonderful way to reduce stress on your digestive system as it gets the body to process food at a more optimal rate.
TOP 4 SUPPLEMENTS FOR STRESS:
I know we all prefer shortcuts, so I’ve included a list of beneficial supplements as well. Note that taking supplements without improving your diet will only have a minimal effect as consuming foods that are not beneficial to your health will never contribute to improving the situation, just worsen it.
Then again, a good diet can only be properly digested when adequate lifestyle changes have been made to reduce stress, especially while we eat. (Read my blog post on “The importance of good digestion”)
Because the body reacts the same to all types of stressful situations, it is important to take a holistic approach to reducing daily stress bit by bit in an attempt to balance cortisol. The holistic approach connects the mind, body and spirit in order to bring about the most effective results.
Test your DNA to see how well you metabolize the stress supporting nutrients Vitamin Bs, vitamin C and Omega 3.
Hope this was helpful!
In health & happiness,
Natalie McCrae R.H.N.
I transform women's body's by teaching them to eat balanced meals so that they can quickly lose weight, without giving up 🍫 & 🍷