Without stress management, it’s almost impossible to have successful weight management. When stress rears its ugly head, even the best-laid healthy diet plans can fly out the window. The next time your busy life is threatening to derail your diet program, try these strategies to stay on track.
Healthy weight management can go a long way toward boosting your overall happiness, but the journey can also include occasional bouts of frustration. Being aware of pesky mood disruptors and knowing how to keep them in check can help you stick to your diet plan, while also improving your overall health and wellness.
PROBLEM: You have too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it, and thinking about it has you craving chips and cookies.
SOLUTION: EAT WHOLE FOODS
It’s easy to reach for junk food to cope with stress, but heavily processed, fat or sugar filled foods may not be appropriate mood-boosters, as some research suggests they can impact the body’s management of stress and emotional well-being.
When you’re feeling stressed, opt for foods high in protein, fiber and healthy fats. Some options to consider include probiotic-containing foods (kefir, yogurt), vegetables, fruits, olive or coconut oil, and lean protein like eggs and fish.
PROBLEM: You don’t have time to go to the gym because a heavy workload and deadlines have you chained to your desk.
SOLUTION: WORK OUT FOR 10 MINUTES
Physical exertion boosts adrenaline and cortisol production, and then brings levels back down. This cycle trains your body to better cope with stress, because the next time those hormones rise, you’re primed to bring them back down quickly.
Regular exercise for 30-60 minutes most days is one of the best ways to manage stress because it supports healthy sleeping patterns and helps regulate blood sugar levels. But, if you’re strapped for time, you don’t have to get all your physical activity in at once. Research has shown that those 30-60 minutes can be broken out into several 10-minute sessions and still bring benefits. Bursts of activity during the natural pauses in your day can energize you, and some research suggests even just getting out of your chair a few times a day can be a metabolism-booster.
PROBLEM: You’re overwhelmed, overworked and your stress levels are through the roof—you can’t seem to catch a break…or your breath.
SOLUTION: PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Meditation, focus and awareness have been shown to help train your brain and body to shut off stress responses and support healthy cortisol levels. A simple daily practice can merely mean setting aside a couple of minutes to close your eyes, empty your mind and focus on your breathing.
Meditate with your morning coffee, find a quiet room in the office or apply intensive focus to brushing your teeth or your hair. Fitting soothing mindfulness into your schedule is easier than you think—you just have to make it a point to do so.