The amount of stress and the kinds of stress in your life has a huge impact on what you should eat and also how you should exercise. Ignoring stress can be the crucial missing link to losing weight successfully.
Through my years as an exercise physiologist to A-List celebrities such as Emma Watson, the first thing I do with a new celebrity client is get them to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire to assess the level and type of stress in their life. Only after analysing the results of a stress assessment can I tailor an exercise plan and nutrition strategy that will be perfect for them.
Most people think there is only really one type of stress out there – psychological. Unfortunately in this fast-paced world we are all too well aware of mental and emotional angst and fatigue. <b>But there are actually 6 types of stressors to the human body and mind.</b> There is psychological/emotional stress, sleep deprivation stress, inflammation-induced stress, chemical stress, dietary routine and physical stress. That’s a lot of stress! Well, there is good news. We can reduce these all through smart choices and clever life hacks.
1. Emotional Stress
Emotional stress corrodes the joy of life. It can flood your body with adrenaline and cortisol, which can reduce your energy levels and sex drive whilst increasing fatigue, depression and anxiety. I’ve found that Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or “tapping” as it’s also known, is a fantastic way to release negative emotions that drag you down. And of course meditation is a must. Studies show that all types of meditation have been associated with blood pressure control, enhancement in insulin resistance and having beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Research also shows that emotional distress and elevated cortisol secretion promote abdominal fat, while improvements in mindfulness and lowered cortisol levels were associated with reductions in abdominal fat.
Through my years as an exercise physiologist to A-List celebrities such as Emma Watson, the first thing I do with a new celebrity client is get them to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire to assess the level and type of stress in their life.
2. Sleep Deprivation Stress
Let’s be honest…who gets enough sleep these days? It’s really difficult to be disciplined and soak up 8 hours per night. But if you have a sleep debt then small stresses at work and at home can seem overwhelming. Life becomes a hard slog mentally and emotionally. Studies also show that lack of sleep makes you eat more, age faster and hold on to fat. So turn off artificial lights an hour before bedtime, light a candle or three, have a bath with lavender, and hide the mobile phone (its ambient light overstimulates your tired brain) and slip into bed by 10/10:30pm.
3. Inflammation-induced Stress
If you’re like most people in the Western world then you’re diet is stressing your body out! We’re eating far too much high-salt, high-sugar processed foods like white breads and pastas, so-called convenience foods, and those Australian favourites; coffee and alcohol. Try replacing these acidic nasties with whole, clean, organic food and filtered water.
Fresh fruits and vegetables and grass-fed meat and eggs will provide sustained energy levels and provide your body with the nutrients it craves. I highly recommend you follow an alkaline eating plan to combat bloating and inflammation while aiding weight loss.
4. Chemical Stress
Reducing your intake of foods that are full of additives, preservatives and numbers is a great start. But many people are unaware of how many chemicals they soak up every day through common things like body care products and make-up. Unless your skin care is natural and certified organic you are marinating in toxic chemicals (4,5). It’s not uncommon for lipsticks to contain the heavy metal lead. Be aware of the ingredients of what you put in and on your body.
5. Dietary Routine Stress
Skipping meals, avoiding fats, eating carbs without protein and trying diets which are intense and limiting will cause stress to your metabolism. Eat every four hours to keep your metabolism steady otherwise you will likely struggle with cravings for sugar and caffeine. Eating for your own particular Metabolic Type is a fantastic way to eliminate cravings, lose weight, increase your energy and speed up your metabolism. The Metabolic Typing work by William Wolcott has been so successful with my clients, allowing them to finally understand whether their body uses mainly protein and good fats as fuel or mainly carbohydrates, and then eating accordingly.
4. Physical Stress
If you have a job which requires manual labour then be extra careful to avoid further stressing your body. Teachers who are on their feet all day or nurses who have to pick up patients should monitor how their body is coping. Exercise is a physical stress, so if you are already overly stressed, working out is just going to add more stress and use up vital nutrients. Scheduling in gentle exercise like walking or gardening to keep the body limber, hot baths at the end of a long day or even regular massages could reduce this exhausting stress.
Here is a 30 minute yoga class you can do at home which energises you and reduces cortisol in the body.
I became fascinated with how stress and exercise are linked when I did my Masters in Exercise Rehabilitation in Oxford as well as becoming a Chek Practitioner. <b>I discovered that the wrong exercise can actually super-charge the stress hormones in your body, resulting in abdominal fat and weight gain.</b><em>6</em> So when A-List celebrities or any woman wanting to know which type of exercise complements her body come to me, I check out the results of their stress assessment. This forms the basis of what diet plan and what exercise regime I advise. <b>I highly encourage you to get informed about how the stress in your life is impacted by your choice of diet and exercise.</b> What works well for others may not suit your individual body. So don’t just guess, assess and then you will learn the valuable combination that will be perfect for you.
Follow the link here to do a FREE version of the Stress and Lifestyle Assessment so you can start living a more calm and rejuvenated life today!
1. Koike M & Cardoso R, ‘Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease’, Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, vol. 18, no.3, 2014, pp. 137-143.
2. Daubenmier J, Kristeller J, FM. Hecht, et al., ‘Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study,’ Journal of Obesity, vol. 2011, Article ID 651936, 2011,13 pages.
3. Beccuti G & Silvana P “Sleep and Obesity” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, vol.14, no. 4, 2011, pp 402–412. PMC.
4. Schettler T, ‘Human exposure to phthalates via consumer products’, International Journal of Andrology, vol.29, no.1, 2006, pp 134-9, 181-5.
5. Koo HJ & Lee BM, Human monitoring of phthalates and risk assessment’, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health A, vol. 68, no.16, 2005, pp 1379-92.
6. Paredes S & Ribeiro L, ‘Cortisol: the villain in Metabolic Syndrome?’, Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras, vol.60, no.1, 2014, pp. 84-92 .
Were You Aware Of These Types Of Stress? How Do you Manage Your Stress-Levels?