Keeping stress levels at bay is a great way to improve your metabolism and lose weight. It may be easier said than done but learning how to de-stress and getting enough sleep and rest will help your body relax. Relaxation can turn “off” the steady flow of cortisol and epinephrine (hormones that will interfere with weight loss). For adults 6-8 hours of sleep can help boost your immune system, optimize critical thinking and concentration, improve your mood and your waistline.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, reaction times, focus and memory are not the only things affected by inadequate sleep. Lack of sleep may cause an increase in your appetite and put you at risk for being overweight, developing diabetes, heart disease, depression or substance abuse and increase your chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
There are a few ways you can prepare yourself for a good night’s rest:
1. Consistency is important with eating habits and sleep times, you should have a consistent time to sleep and wake-up.
2. Determine what time you need to wake up in the morning, allow yourself 6-7 hours of sleep and another hour to participate in a relaxing bedtime routine.
3. Be sure to create a restful sleeping environment, i.e. dark, quiet and comfortable.
4. Exercise during the day.
5. Avoid exercise, eating and drinking (especially caffeine and alcohol) as it gets closer to your scheduled sleep time.
6. Do not watch TV or use your bedroom for anything else but what I call S and S (sleep and sex).
Sleep is a necessity and so is peacefulness. If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, learn how to handle stress differently so that your body can work in harmony. Lowering stress levels will lower cortisol levels. When cortisol levels return to normal, your body will stop stockpiling fat in your abdomen. Your cravings for sweets will also diminish, and you’ll develop the consistent energy you will need to exercise.
Think of activities that help relax you and put you in a positive state of mind. Is it reading a book, looking at old photos, taking a drive? Maybe all you need to do is to tune everything out except for your favorite music? Have you always wanted to start a hobby? Maybe you just need to take a walk to get away from some of the things that are causing you stress.
Whatever it is that seems to be causing you stress, think about how you can minimize or avoid it all together. Remember stress is not caused by others. Stress is your reaction to a particular event. If you can change your stressful reactions to a calm or positive reaction, you will lessen your body’s response to stress, boost the effectiveness of your nutrition plan, see better weight loss results and improve your health.
Get to the bottom of your stress; rest, relax and reach your highest potential for weight loss and improved health.