Before you try to hold yourself to a New Year’s Resolution that tells you to cut back on your favorite foods, it’s a good idea to ask yourself whether food is really the problem. Your problem might be hormonal: namely, a function of the stress hormone cortisol, which could be lingering in your body in excessive amounts.
77% of the population regularly experiences symptoms as a result of stress. It’s would be more surprising to hear you’re not stressed out than to hear you are.
And the amount of cortisol you have in your system can have a far bigger impact than the calories you’re consuming.
So what can you do?
Recognize the role stress plays in your diet and exercise profile.
Diet and exercise are not divorced from stress. Being stressed out can prompt you to crave the kinds of high-fat, high-sugar, and high-carbohydrate meals which can lead to weight gain.
Stress can also keep you from exercising as you should, since it saps your energy and keeps you from performing at your best.
Realize exercise still matters.
You need to try to exercise even when your energy is low, however. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to spinal problems, which can lead to pain, which can leave you even more stressed. Of course, our goal is to help you relieve pain whenever you visit us, but we also want to help you avoid pain in the first place.
Exercise also increases endorphins in the body while lowering cortisol levels. So forget taking that walk just to burn fat. Do it so you can clear your head and get some space from your extremely trying day.
Consciously look for ways to reduce stress in your life.
Maybe it’s time for a career change. Maybe your house is a cluttered mess, and needs to be cleaned up so you can enjoy a clean, nice environment. Maybe you really do just need to sit and meditate for twenty minutes every day.
Stress relief doesn’t look the same to all people. Ask any ten people how they relieve stress, and you’ll get ten answers. But it should be something you love, something that instantly eases the tension, and something you can repeat on a regular basis.
Try to get enough sleep.
It’s hard to be at your best when you’re exhausted and irritable. Remember, the whole of the body is an interconnected system. It probably shouldn’t surprise you to learn there’s a big link between sleep deprivation and weight gain, too.
You’ll be surprised how much easier life looks when you have the energy to face it, and deal with it! If you have trouble sleeping, steer clear of caffeine, turn off all your devices, and adopt a regular bedtime, just like you did as a child.
Bonus: sleeping and practicing good self-care are certainly a lot more fun than dieting.
They’re a lot easier, too. So stop beating yourself up, and start finding ways to enjoy your life more! You might just find the pounds melting away.