01.05.2021 Weight Loss

De-stress to manage your weight

The stress of our work and personal lives can have a huge impact on our ability to maintain a healthy weight, says weight management psychologist Dr Katie Richard.

Here she outlines 10 ways you can help change your mind about your body:

1. Manage stress, manage abdominal fat

A study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology reported that stress has been linked to increased abdominal fat due to repeated activation of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress eating may also increase visceral fat even without weight gain. Visceral fat is body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity, around the liver, pancreas and intestines, and therefore is the fat that is also linked to illnesses. Thus, if you manage your stress, you’re preventing not only major illnesses related to fat accumulation.

2. Manage stress, manage hormone levels

If your hormones are not balanced, you are likely to experience increased hunger, an increased desire to eat sweets and generally increased food intake.

3. Manage stress, manage nutritional balance

Research has shown that stress draws out vital vitamins and nutrients. This, in turn, could make you feel tired. When tired, you may eat sugary foods to lift your energy. Or, you may eat more food to get enough nutrients.

4. Manage stress, manage attraction to fatty, salty and sugary foods

According to an article in Appetite, stressed-out eaters were more likely to consume fatty, salty and sugary foods.

Thus, it makes sense to de-stress to de-grease!

5. Manage stress, manage binge eating

According to research, binge eaters tend to have a deficit in stress management skills. The good news, however, is that you can learn to manage your stress which, in turn, decreases your tendency to binge eat.

6. Manage stress with meditation

Several studies have proven that meditation can assist in alleviating the urge to binge eat. Dr Sara Lazar, a leading neuroscientist and meditation researcher at the Massachussets General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, has focused her research on the neurobiological underpinnings of meditation. She has been able to identify how meditation changes the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Take a look at the book about meditation: In Stillness Conquer Fear (McKinnon) or the meditation CD: ‘Experiencing Stillness Meditation’, available on iTunes. Alternatively websites: www.drwaynedyer.com www.stillnessmeditation.com.au www.meditation.org.au or www.manifestinatisse.com

7. Manage stress with yoga

Several studies have shown that adding yoga workouts provides an added benefit for those seeking treatment for binge eating. Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, Kristal and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle led a trial involving 15,500 adults. They found that practising one 30 minute yoga session per week for at least four years helped people lose 2.25 kg (five pounds) compared to those who didn’t practise yoga—they gained more than six kg (14 pounds).

8. Manage stress with massage

The University of Miami Medical School’s Touch Research Institute has proven in multiple studies that touch—whether through a hug or a massage— is an effective strategy to reduce stress.

9. Manage stress with laughter

Several studies— like one published in the American Journal of Medical Science —have confirmed that laughter actually decreases cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and a major dopamine catabolite which reduces stress. The website www.laughteryoga.org reports that, ‘one minute of mirthful laugher is the equivalent to a 10 minute cardiac workout on a rowing machine.’ Laughter Yoga drastically reduces belly fat, which is difficult to shed even with the most intense exercise regime. Just a few laughs have the capacity to exercise the mind-body.

An hour of laughter can shed as many as 500 calories!

See how you can slim down with: Carl Barron (stand-up comedian) www.carlbarron.com ‘One Ended Stick’ (Auslan version).

10. Manage stress with work/life balance

Just like kids, adults need to have ‘play time’. Even a simple thing like reading for just six minutes, for example, can reduce stress levels by 68%, according to research at the University of Sussex. If you’re finding it difficult to manage your time, address time management issues with the help of a professional organiser, or sticking to the main time management strategies: writing things in a calendar, minimising time wasters (e.g. to limit TV or Facebook time to 2 hours maximum per day) , delegating tasks others can do, and doing things while you’re waiting (e.g. in a queue). Stress management classes can also be helpful. A holiday—even just a weekend away—can also do wonders. I’ve also found that patients report that my advice is helpful.

Dr Katie Richard

Psychologist Dr Katie Richard is the author of the new book, Weight Off Your Mind, a step-by-step guideline to stop binge eating, lose weight and improve body image. www.weightoffyourmind.net