It’s annoying, isn’t it? This following the rules to the letter and nothing happens on the scale.
I know how awful that feels because I’ve been feeling it. Worse yet, I’m 51 days away from Rossi and I have gained weight.
Why is that? What cruel trick is your body playing on you and what can you do to change that? Why is broccoli making me fat and why is no amount of sweating-like-a-pig cardio helping me burn said fat?
Stress fat. It is a thing. Well, the medically correct term for it is Cortisol and if affects us in more ways that you realize.
In our high paced, traffic jam filled lifestyle, we are faced with stress on a constant basis. This also means that we’re teetering on the edge of chilled and stressed out every single day. Even though you eat really well and exercise every day, chronically high stress levels will prevent weight loss – or worse, make you gain weight. I know, this is now my life.
Your body responds to stress the same way, irrespective of the kind of stress it is faced with. So if you’re late for work or having the worst day, your brain tells your body to release potent hormones to deal with it. You’re getting bursts of adrenaline that taps into your energy levels, triggering a fight or flight response. This is your body’s way of keeping you safe and sane(ish).
While your body is doing this, it also releases cortisol, which is your body’s way of replacing that energy used while you’re stressed, the only problem though is that you aren’t burning any calories. So, you’re going to be hungry all of the time, your body keeps replacing energy levels with cortisol while you’re stressed and the scale isn’t budging.
Cue extra stress because of that! Add on another 5kgs to the scale in advance. Do not pass go. Go not feel good about yourself.
I’m not kidding though, stress is serious.
Your body goes into survival mode to protect you, like the bestie that is always embarrassing you, but who you can’t live without. So it’s doing you a favour, but not the one you’re wanting it to. Like the totes awkward friend who gently points out that you don’t need another tequila until it’s too late.
How to fix it…
What can you do about it? Stop stressing so much?
I know guys, that’s the dumbest thing you can say to someone who is stressed out, and I know because I am stressed out. But, here are some practical things that you can do to lower your stress levels (and the number on the scale).
Drink Less Coffee.
I know! I can’t believe I said that either! BUT caffeine and alcohol increase your anxiety levels and trigger panic attacks, which is the exact opposite of being chilled.
Good alternatives include Coconut Water or Green Tea.
This is a no brainer, but when we are stressed out we do reach for sugary carbs rather than fruits and veg. But, sugary carbs are the reason why you want to lose weight to begin with, so put that donut down.
Good alternatives include:
Anything fresh, clean and found in the produce section of your grocery store (washing chocolate doesn’t count).
Exercising releases feel good hormones called endorphins. Exactly what you want coursing through your brain when you’re stressed out. So get up off your bum and move.
Good Alternatives include:
- Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes at a time.
- Distract yourself with an iPod.
- Recruit a sweat buddy for extra support.
Make sure you are giving your body time to recover by getting your 7 to 8 hours of shut eye each night.
And while we’re at it, add meditation to the list, at least 20 minutes of downtime each day.
How do you cope with weight gain or being stuck in a cortisol time warp and not knowing what to do with yourself?
Drop a comment and let us know!