How Does Stress Affect Your Weight Loss Goals?

Whether it is a deadline, too much on your plate or a two headed monster breathing down your neck the systems in our bodies called “fight or flight” triggers the same bodily response. I am going to explain how this plays a crucial role in your personal weight loss journey.

Whether it is a deadline, too much on your plate or a two headed monster breathing down your neck the systems in our bodies called “fight or flight” triggers the same bodily response.  I am going to explain how this plays a crucial role in your personal weight loss journey.  

Your adrenal glands secretes a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol’s main aim is to protect us from physical harm coming to our bodies and equips us to physically spend all our energy where it is needed most.  To either stand and fight or to run away to safety.  Even though we can’t (we wish we could) run away from a deadline your body does not know how to differentiate.    

Elevated cortisol levels disrupt the body’s blood glucose control by stimulating glucose secretion from stores in the liver and limiting the release of the hormone responsible for removing excess glucose from the blood stream, insulin.

This results in high blood sugar levels. Eventually, more insulin is secreted to remove the excess glucose once cortisol levels have dropped, but this cycle results in poor glucose control which also makes losing weight very difficult as the excess glucose can be stored as fat. Therefore, managing cortisol and insulin levels are both important when trying to lose weight. This is but merely one reason why stress makes it difficult for you to lose weight.

This information was really a game changer for me.   I am by nature quite anxiety prone and very stressed about silly things and big things.  I have recently after doing a bit of re-search realised that the stress I am constantly under is not healthy.  We hear this all the time but rarely listen.  Knowing the science behind it made me really want to explore the alternative.  My perception was that being stressed and busy will make me successful and drive me to achieve more.  The reality is that stress fogs your brain and what should be a short problem solving process gets elongated as we procrastinate and make things worse than it is.   The truth is that if you are calm, you make better calculated decisions and solve problems with a clear mind.  Prioritising, planning weekly instead of daily and focussing on completing 3 things in a day is a better strategy than focussing to complete 20. 

The other really helpful tool (and I read this book about 4 times a year) is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  It really puts things into perspective and helps with my efficiency and stress.  Putting the things that matter first and getting that done efficiently is the key to stressing less.   

And then lastly I have a couple of things I constantly do to avoid getting into the thick of thin things.  (and I am an amateur in all of these things by the way it takes daily practice) I say “No” more to things that are not important to me in the long run.  I wake up early, 4am to get all my admin and training out of the way so that when business starts I am pro-active and not reactive.  The 4am thing is something I do religiously.  It was really tough in the beginning but I have managed to get the hang of it.  It is also a life changer.  What I do need to do a little bit better is rest more, play more do more creative work.  

In closing I want to say that being busy is a choice.  Being busy is not necessarily being productive.  This article is not about being or not being busy it is about stress and weight loss but ultimately there is a thread that binds all these things together.  I am talking about my own very personal experience of course.  What has been your challenges with regards to losing weight and stress?

I also wrote another article more related to work stress

This article is also quite informative but please read mine first! 😛


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