Weight Loss and Stress: Your Breaking Point
More than 1/3 of American adults are obese (34.9%), and roughly 2/3 of American Adults are overweight or obese. 15.5% of American teenagers are obese, and 30.4% of American teenagers are overweight or obese. As of 2012, 18% of kids ages 6-11 were obese, and more than 1/3 of kids and adolescents were overweight and obese.
Do you see a pattern here? We are definitely not getting healthier, at least in a big enough way to make a dent in these statistics. “In the last three decades, not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates,” according to Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and a founder of the Global Burden of Disease approach. It is no secret either, stress is rampant in the American culture. 60-90% of doctor visits are related to stress. Chronic stress may contribute to an increased risk of obesity. During times of physical or psychological stress, our bodies secrete excess cortisol, which can promote weight gain. The amount of cortisol secreted depends on each individual person.
This begs the question. How do you respond to and manage stress? Are you aware of what your triggers and symptoms are?
Do you get irritable? Anxious? Do you withdraw? How much alone time do you need? Do you need to be surrounded by people?
Most people have a threshold – a breaking point – to how much they can take. This breaking point can coincide with weight loss. For instance, are you someone who can easily lose 15 pounds but getting past 15 pounds is difficult or near impossible? Is it the case that once you break 15 pounds, you can lose more weight, but you inevitably revert back to the same old 15 pounds?
This is the spot I am talking about. This is the spot I want you to get familiar with and confront.
This might require some reflection. Think about how you handle stress. Bring a few examples to mind of when a stressful situation really got to you. Now get really honest about what you experienced. Can you remember what was going through your mind? What physical symptoms did you experience? How many times have you been through the same cycle?
The key here is to identify your response, and put some space around it. Then create a new response.
Allowing your mind to relax will give you some space to re-think how you will handle stress the next time it occurs. Let the ideas and solutions come to you as you relax your mind. Mastering this breaking point could be the key to breaking your weight loss struggle.
The statistics are clear. Stress has devastating effects on our physical health, and certainly does not help our motivation to lose weight. Nor does it tend to lead to successful weight loss results.
See if you can naturally relax into a new healthy way to manage stress and your weight. Release the pressure, and watch what happens!
Time to start bringing those statistics down – beginning with you!