Stress Management and Weight

There is a definite connection between stress management and weight.  Carrying excess weight is a stressor on your body since your skeleton has to support a heavier load than it was intended to. This can lead to inflammation and chronic pain in the feet, knees, back, and hips.

Another connection between stress management and weight concerns being well-rested. When you’re overweight, it can really hinder the quality of sleep you get. At my heaviest, I found that I could no longer comfortably sleep on my back. My stomach fat was weighing too heavily on my diaphragm so that I couldn’t get a full breath in certain reclining positions. I would actually wake up gasping for breath sometimes, having developed sleep apnea which is a potentially dangerous condition. But I’m happy to say that when I lost 30 pounds, I found that this problem disappeared completely. Other conditions have reportedly been cured by losing excess weight such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Then there is the emotional aspect to the stress management and weight connection. Body image issues can really weigh a person’s psyche down. I know first-hand that it can be depressing to try and go shopping for clothes when it seems like nothing cute ever fits you. Granted, there are some great Plus Size retailers out there and I believe the situation is improving. But I feel that there is still a limited selection that is readily available.

When you’re uncomfortably overweight, you have an extra challenge to maintaining a positive self-image. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not advocating the continuation of an unrealistic body image that is so widely emphasized in the entertainment and fashion industries. Beautiful people come in many sizes for sure! And even if you are carrying excess weight, it’s important to know that you have value and you are lovable no matter what. But at the same time, it is an important part of your personal growth to be as healthy as possible in mind, spirit, and body.

Being overweight and stressed go hand in hand due to the so-called “fat hormone” cortisol. First of all, one can become stressed out because of the excess weight, but then that stress then adds to the cycle of being overweight by boosting the release of cortisol in the body causing fat to be stored around the belly instead of being burned. This can become a vicious cycle.

I must share with you what worked for me that led me to be able to lose 30 pounds and feel great. Number one, I made a commitment to myself to practice different natural relaxation techniques like I’ve described to you here on this website. This helped me with the discipline to choose what I ate wisely and with thought rather than impulsively eating due to negative thinking and stressed-out neediness like I had done in the past. And then on top of that, I decided to try Weight Watchers even though I had never stuck to any specific diets before. It just seemed like a realistic method for me to lose weight because I could still choose any types of food I wanted. I never liked the kind of diets that limit what you eat, those are set-ups for failure for me! Also, I was so inspired by Jennifer Hudson’s transformation, I just thought that maybe I’d like to try and have results like that! I highly recommend Weight Watchers - I did it online because I’m not a big meeting fan - and it really got to be fun and challenging to figure out how many points my favorite foods were. There is such a built-in success factor to it because even if you eat a little too much, you can earn points back by exercising! If you overeat one day, you can easily make up for it the next day, so you don’t just fail. This is another way that stress management and weight are interrelated because being free from the feeling of failure eased my mind and allowed me to not give up, and to go ahead and lose my excess weight.