So you want to lose weight? The issue is not can you, for you can. The issue is how, and how effectively and easily.
I agree there are probably countless quick fix programmes around that may work for a few, but how many can you trust? Bear in mind that amongst these quick fixes there are genuine weight loss programmes that with the right attitude will keep you fit, trim and healthy.
My aim is a series of articles explaining reasons for weight gain and ways to lose it, and keep it lost, naturally.
You may try, lose some, then, it comes back with a rage. There are reasons why weight loss programmes fail.
Knowing a bit about the nature of our body can help understand these reasons.
Stress it not just a mental reaction but a physical condition. When placed under stress your body will produce adrenaline but it also produces a hormone called Cortisol. This hormone is responsible for sending sugar into the blood to fuel the adrenalin rush. Stress is then a natural bodily function, evolved in our prehistory, designed to help keep us alive and reactive to things in our environment.
Unfortunately there is then a negative by-product if you are not using this energy. The extra blood sugar that is being released has nowhere to go except settle around your stomach as fat to be used later. Stress in the modern world often takes the form of money worries, job worries, family problems and much more. These situations are not the energy burning fight or flight.
Because of this many people are keeping or gaining weight without even realising it. Of course, there are other factors but stress is one that very few people talk about. Stress however needs to be controlled and fought against such as an unhealthy diet needs to be. It may be the one thing stopping you from losing the pounds you so desperately want to.
Stress and anxiety is in fact a double edged sword. Not only does it produce the excess blood sugars that turn to fat but it also encourages you to use food as a comfort tool. You may tuck into chocolate or fast food for that instant hit that is the culinary equivalent of a warm hug from a loved one.
Eating these foods that are bad for you when you are stressed does not mean you are weak minded. You are just following your biological programming. Tests on rats have shown that under stress animals naturally engage in pleasure seeking behaviour, especially high calorie food.
Other tests have shown that men who only manage to get four hours sleep a night have on average a thirty seven percent higher level of Cortisol (the hormone that is responsible for energy - sugar) than those who get a full eight hours? And what is one of the biggest reasons for lack of sleep? Stress!
On top of that it is imperative you get a good night's sleep when trying to shed the pounds because a deep sleep leads to higher secretions of a natural occurring hormone called Human Growth Hormone. This protects your muscle mass and it is muscle that helps to maintain a steady burning metabolism. We're not talking bodybuilder type muscle here either. Just the natural kind we all have.
Of course if you are already stressed the chances are you are not getting enough sleep already and so are caught in a vicious circle that is affecting your weight loss. Prescription sleeping tablets are one option, but should be used alongside a healthy lifestyle not in place of one. Fortunately, despite stress being the silent diet killer, there are some easy ways to fight it.
Firstly with a little bit of exercise you can help yourself get an easier night's sleep which kills two birds with one stone. Some light exercise, like a brisk walk, every day will be enough for your body to fall to sleep naturally at the end of the day.
A good breakfast is also associated with reduced stress levels. Skipping breakfast is just asking for trouble and will actually have a negative effect on your weight loss. You need to eat breakfast to fuel your energy resources. This will also manage your Cortisol levels. Cereal is especially good for this.
Fish is another food that should be added to your diet to reduce stress and therefore help weight loss. Oily fish particularly are high in Omega 3. Sardines are delicious on toast. This alone contains a weeks worth of Omega 3 which is great for your diet plan. People in the Far East are normally thin because of food like this that we eat.
Finally learn to accept stress and use it. It's in us and we can't get rid of it. In other words make stress work for you. The trick is to put things into perspective and ask yourself "Are things really that bad?" Often we let every day things stress us out needlessly. Remember, combating stress with a healthy diet could just be the miracle weight loss plan you've been looking for.
By Dung Nguyen Ngoc
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