While it's common to feel some stress in life, chronic stress may prevent weight loss. 

Understanding stress.

Stress is caused by any real or imagined fear, feeling overwhelmed, worried or run-down. Stress can affect people of all ages, genders and circumstances and can lead to both physical and psychological health issues. 

Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.

Chronic stress triggers the endocrine system response in which corticosteroids are released. While the brain is the core of the enteric nervous system (ENS), the gut is commonly considered as “the second” brain because it helps to determine mood and anxiety levels. Hence, the saying “making gut decisions.”

When your brain receives a message that you’re overly stressed, the body responds by working overtime to fight off the impending stressor. This negatively affect your body’s blood sugar, energy, and mood levels. Fatigue, gut disorders, changes in mood, and weight gain are common signs experienced when stressed.

What happens when the body experiences chronic stress?

The fine line when healthy stress becomes harmful is if you let it build up over a long period of time. Chronic stress is unhealthy and can have some pretty serious implications - heart disease, memory loss, decrease in fertility, and changes in appetite, just to name a few.

If stress levels continue to stay high, they can develop into chronic stress which can trigger long-term harmful emotions like anger, depression, and anxiety.  When the body is constantly battling these negative symptoms, the gut cannot properly function, and you may experience a lack of nutrient absorption, decreased enzymatic output, and reduced levels of oxygenation.  

Healthy ways to handle stress

Although it’s almost impossible to eliminate stress entirely, here are a few tips that will help you cope with stressful situations.

Sleep: If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, it’s probably an indicator that you are overly stressed.  Our bodies need rest to be able to properly function the next day, and if you can’t get enough sleep you’re depriving it of essential energy.

Nurture your body: The saying “you are what is eat” couldn’t be more true! Low-nutritious might taste good and are quick and easy, but they will damage our bodies in the long-term. By not putting the right nutrients into our system, our bodies cannot function effectively. Therefore, make sure that you consume foods high in fiber and nutrients to fuel your power machine!

Meditate: Take a deep breath in and out. Doing yoga or meditating is not only fun, but can also help you better cope with stressful situations. You don’t have to spend 90 minutes at a hot yoga class - just take 15 minutes out of your busy schedule and focus on deep breathing.

Time management: Avoid being stressed in the first pace by better managing your time. Don’t wait until the last minute to get stuff done, instead, plan ahead and do little by little. Even planning out what you will be buying at the grocery store ahead of time can help you reduce stress so you aren’t scrambling at the checkout line!

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