By David Stache
As a society of time-poor individuals, most of us accept that a majority of our lives is spent under high levels of stress. However, whilst we are aware of how stress can make us feel and act, we often ignore the long-term detrimental impact stress can have on our body and physical health. Not only can stress contribute to sleep deprivation, digestive problems, anxiety, and illnesses, but it can also lead to unprecedented weight gain.
When you are managing multiple tasks with an ever-increasing workload, eating a healthy and nutritious meal can easily slip down your list of priorities. Whilst skipping meals might make you feel like you are saving time, all you are doing is delaying the inevitable and will be hit by cravings later in the day. These cravings will make you more inclined to snack on high-calorie sugary snacks that do not actually fill you up. To avoid falling into this trap, ensure you are keeping healthier comfort foods around you, such as fruit or vegetable sticks, to carry you through to your next meal. You could also try taking an all-natural weight management supplement, such as Instant Knockout Cut (RRP £35 for 120 capsules, available to buy from www.instantknockout.com), which combines essential fat-burning and performance enhancing ingredients to speed up metabolism, reduce hunger cravings, and increase energy levels.
During stressful periods, sleep can be extremely difficult as you have myriad thoughts running through your mind. Whilst you might get a few hours of shut eye, the quality of your sleep will likely be reduced, and you will still wake up feeling exhausted. Not only does sleep deprivation lead to slow metabolism, but it can also make you more inclined to skip your workouts and reach for high-sugar snacks to give you energy. If you find that your stress levels are impacting your sleep, try practicing breathing techniques and meditation before bed to help clear your mind of daily stress. This will greatly improve your quality of sleep.
After a stressful day at work, no one has ever craved a salad. When emotions get the better of us, our go-to comfort foods are rarely healthy, nutrient-dense options and can easily lead to overconsumption as you are mindlessly eating. Whilst this temporary relief from the stress may seem like a good idea, if it’s a common occurrence, it’s very likely that it will lead to weight gain. Take a mindful approach to eating, a little of what you fancy isn’t a bad thing, but ultimately, it’s important to be aware that your food choices when stressed may actually be causing you more stress and unhappiness if you are putting on weight.
Hormones are a funny thing – we know they’re there, and we know they have a huge power over us, but we don’t know what directly affects them. Stress has a huge impact on hormones as it leads to cortisol being released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. This is a fundamental problem as it increases your appetite, making you reach for comfort foods that are often high in calories. Not only that, when cortisol is elevated, you are more likely to store those over consumed calories as fat, due to our bodies metabolising them at a slower rate and an increase in insulin, the storage hormone.
Stress and the gut are very closely linked, with the gut brain axis firmly established. As stress levels increase, you will often experience higher levels of bad bacteria in the gut, which can lead to digestive troubles. In turn, the increase in bad bacteria has been shown to lead to an increase in anxiety and elevated stress response, causing a vicious cycle between gut health and managing stress. To combat this, try eating a wide variety of foods and plenty of fibre to keep a diverse and healthy microbiome.
David Stache has 15 years of experience working with elite athletes and people who want to be get the most out of their body, using the power of nutrition and exercise. His clients have included the likes of boxers Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders, Nicola Adams, Josh Taylor, Jamie McDonnell, Kid Galahad and British Hammer Champion, Jess Mayho. David’s goal is always to deliver results for those wanting to develop and realize their potential.
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