Recent research shows that certain individuals lose weight when vacationing despite higher calorie intake & less exercise. It is a particular group that this applies to Those who live a very stressful life. These are e.g. those with small children, those who are under a lot of strain at work, or students in demanding studies. There is a strong relationship between weight gain and stress. The cortisol stress hormone increases significantly when we are under stress and affects our blood sugar and insulin levels. When the blood sugar then drops significantly, we crave fatty and sugary foods.
When we are experiencing stress and take a vacation, the stress usually decreases, and consequently, the levels of stress hormones drop. If you’re one of those who lost weight during your holiday it could be due to too much strain in your daily life. It is time to look at how you could reduce stress-inducing factors.
There are many simple ways to reduce stress hormones and promote weight loss. The simplest advice is to eat slower, but way too many eat too fast. What happens when people eat too fast is that food intake becomes greater as it usually takes the body around 20 minutes to feel full.
Additionally, have studies shown that for those who eat slowly, the body absorbs the nutrients better than those who, for example, eat the same food but eat it fast. Those who eat faster get hungry sooner and therefore absorb more calories than needed. Mindfulness eating (eating slow & being present) is probably the easiest, cheapest, and most effective “diet” available. Mindfulness eating has even helped certain individuals with food addiction.
Long term stress not only contributes to weight gain but can also trigger depression so there is always a need to balance your life and minimize stressful factors.
Symptoms of stress can be numerous and vary from one person to the next. Symptoms can include skin problems such as bumps or itching, dyspepsia, too little sleep, excessive heart rate or increased sweating to name a few. In addition, stress has a major effect on the immune system. Individuals who are often sick or have repeated infections should be especially aware of this.
It should be attractive for everyone to reduce stress. If finding a time to cope with your stress is a problem you can think about all the time that you spend on being sick, visiting the doctor, or running after medicines. By drastically reducing such wastes of time, you can gain time by reducing stressful factors in your life. Hence it will result in a long term investment for your mental and physical health.
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Picture by: Snæþór Sigurbjörn Halldórsson & Bill Oxford