Did you know that stress and weight gain are interconnected? When we are stressed the body goes into survival mode, this means it holds on to fat deposits thinking it may need it as an extra energy source to face the threat.
More importantly, stress creates an overdrive in the adrenal glands, keeping us on high alert. In this state it is impossible to sleep well, you are restless, on edge, even though the body may be tired the mind doesn’t allow rest. So you’re awake longer and using up more energy, this should be good for weight loss, right? Wrong, sleep optimizes our metabolic rate, reduces water retention, and lowers inflammation. Sleep deprivation throws the hormonal system in flux, especially leptin and ghrelin, hormones regulating food consumption, the hormones change so that you feel hungry more often and you feel less satiated, meaning the hormonal skew actually has you eating more and more frequently– now that can’t be good for weight loss. Recollect a time you were stressed, you probably would run to the snack cabinet more, they even have a term for it ‘stress eating’, meaning you aren’t eating because you physically need it, it’s because you are in a psychological state of stress.
To curb cravings it’s important to recognize our triggers, most of the time we are emotionally driven to eat. We try to deal with our negative emotions through a physical act, that will not solve the problem, it takes courage to unpack our emotions, let go of what’s holding us back and find a clear in our hearts and minds. This calls for mindfulness, becoming aware of our present situation and what we truthfully need. Rather than ‘comfort foods’ like ice cream to conceal an upset, or cravings for sugar or salt when we are feeling shame, allow some time and awareness to process the emotion through meditation, journaling or breathing techniques helps us create a healthy outlet to absolve the negative feeling.
Food is a vital source of energy, let’s not demonize it or patronize ourselves by obsessively counting calories, honoring our food as nourishment helps us eat healthy and clean. Not sure what suits you? Notice how you feel after the meal, food is an energy source is we are eating the right foods in the right quantities then it lifts our energy, if we eat too much or too heavy we can fall into a ‘food coma’ where it in fact drains our energy. Listening to your body and being mindful of the cause and effect bring much more consciousness in your food habits. Each individual is different so you are the best informed in what works for you, it changes with time so notice if things come up, perhaps certain foods make you feel agitated, while others make you lazy, some may cause bloating and others could be harder for your system to digest. We have all the information it’s simply a question of, are you paying attention to what your body is communicating to you? We are routinized to eat 3 meals a day, and now there is so much research on intermittent fasting, is 3 meals really the golden number? Or is it 5 small meals a day? Advice from nutritionists keep changing, your body and it’s needs keep changing, mindful eating is to become aware of what your body needs without judgement or denial. If you are hungry eat, if you are not don’t. This fuels the digestive fire, many a time we eat out of social convention but not because we feel hunger, this quells the digestive fire and makes it even harder to process the food, when our eating habits are misaligned to our physical cues it causes fatigue, acidity and constipation.
The practice of yoga helps to regain a connection with our physical intelligence, we become more sensitive to our bodies and can be present wholly and not overthrown by our thoughts and opinions. Breathing techniques and mindfulness let’s us go deeper to explore any emotional baggage that we may be carrying and meditation is a magnificent tool in releasing stress naturally, when these factors integrate we are able to relax deeply, our hormones balance and our mind is calm, from this state when we make choices it is bound to be healthful. If you have been struggling with your weight or eating habits we are trained to holistically support you through a sustainable journey of healthy, mindful and contented version of yourself.