Do you ever feel stress in your stomach? Ever had a stomach ache or felt nauseous on a stressful day? That’s because stress is connected to your gut.
Stress can come in many different forms and creep up on you in unsuspecting ways. When your body is in a state of stress, you’re in what’s called stressmode.
Being in stress mode takes a toll on your emotional and physical body. When left unaddressed or poorly managed, stress can cause greater long-term effects.
You may be in stress mode and not know it. Not to worry, because being able to recognize it is already one step in the right direction.
5 things you didn't know about stress mode:
- Stress is a weight loss block.
- Your body cannot distinguish between actual (real) stress and perceived stress (see more below).
- Stress decreases nutrient absorption and increases salt retention.
- Stress interrupts your digestive process. It’s a survival skill in the human body to pause digestion in order to activate ‘fight or flight’ mode.
- Stress mode encourages your body to hold on to extra weight through slowing down your metabolism.
What is stress mode?
Stress mode can be characterized as being in an emotional or mental state of pressure or tension.
You are stressed if you feel rushed (time stress), worried (anticipatory stress), triggered (situational stress), or confronted (encounter stress).
Stress signals to your brain the production of stress hormones. One of these hormones is called cortisol, which helps the body manage stress and regulate its use of sugar (carbs) and fat for energy.
In other words, stress impacts your metabolism.
Increased cortisol is associated with weight gain (especially in the belly), and an inability to lose weight or gain muscle.
Actual vs. perceived stress
2. Your body cannot distinguish between actual (real) stress and perceived stress
Your body may recognize stress differently than you do. For example, while you may not consider eating quickly as stress, all your body perceives is the pressure that comes with time stress. It will then signal to your brain for the appropriate hormonal and digestive responses to stress.
Another example would be on a day when you are feeling particularly anxious about an event or future outcome (anticipatory stress). Your body picks up on this as stress, even though at the time of eating you may not be consciously thinking about whatever it is that was causing you anxiety.
How can I get out of stress mode?
- Practice raising your level of awareness of your emotional and mental state. Upon detecting stress, do an unrelated activity that resets and refocuses you. Sometimes a quick walk, even a bathroom break, or getting a cup of tea can make all the difference.
- Develop healthy habits for regular de-stressing (reading, going for walks, playing with pets, spending time with people you love, doing fun things that give you joy and laughter).
- Incorporate into your regular schedule exercise and meditation. Even 20 minutes of cardio at a time would only help to improve your mood and emotional well-being. YouTube is a great resource for guided meditations of any duration.
- Eat mindfully. Don’t eat in a rush or on the go. Carve out 20 minutes for a proper, seated meal where can focus on your food and not on your computer or phone.
- Consider diving deeper into identifying the root cause of what’s stressing you out. We all experience stress as a part of life, but if stress ends up holding back you and your health, then it needs to be confronted head-on.
You always have the option of booking a 1:1 private coaching session with mefor help with uncovering your weight loss blocks and understanding how you can clear them from your path to becoming a happier, healthier you.
Stay tuned for more in this series on clearing your weight loss blocks.
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