Are your stress levels contributing to your weight gain…

Posted by  on 0 Comments

For a long time conventional wisdom taught us that dieting was the solution to excess weight; just move more and eat less, right?

Researchers are now widening the picture on what contributes to the obesity epidemic seen in many western countries.

No doubt the temptation of food everywhere in our affluent societies is an issue and we also tend to move less than in previous decades because of our lifestyle.

Then there is the dopamine theory that correctly identifies overeating as an addiction to the ‘feel good rush’ that junk food in particular brings us. 

Additionally, more of us live alone and our addiction to the ‘electronic net’ often means we don’t feel connected in a deep and meaningful way to other people. As a result, we tend to feel lonely and yearning for quality connection. The bandaid solution that is readily at hand is often food or alcohol.

Food is not only used to emotionally regulate; it is our comfort, our way to celebrate, to reward and our way look after ourselves.

One of the states we often feel the need to regulate away from is the ‘stress state’, the sense of being overwhelmed, disconnected and continually under pressure in our work and personal lives.

When we are stressed we don’t care about ‘being’ good, we just want to feel good right now! So give me those Tim Tams and pass me that wine! This makes changing our diet and starting to exercise very difficult.

The physiological effects of stress also affect our metabolism in many ways. When stressed we tend to crave carbohydrates and sugar (often highly processed food). The carbohydrates generate a higher insulin level because insulin is ‘brought in’ to deal with high levels of glucose. Insulin is our fat storing hormone. The message in our bodily system when there are high levels of glucose is ‘store fat!’

So even though a bottle of coke and an avocado may have the same calories they do not have the same effect on our metabolism. The coke will give the system a boost of glucose and we now know the consequences of that.

When we are stressed our stress hormone cortisol messages the body system, ‘we need energy, release glucose’. With high glucose levels, in comes again the insulin to deal with it. 

In other words, you might not eat too many calories, but if they are the wrong ones and/or you experience stress, then you might still gain weight.

So to reduce our stress levels:

  • We can rid the body of the stress hormone cortisol through regular and consistent movement.
  • MIND TRAIN. Research categorically shows that engaging in mindfulness practice reduces stress levels. Macquarie University research on our Mindful Leadership program shows a reduction in stress levels of 28%.

Both of these simple rituals will change your stress levels significantly and a side effect is likely to be weight loss!

You can begin mind training by yourself by following this mind training audio and doing it daily – (it only takes ten minutes)  

If you would like more you can also check this out. This video was part of International Mindful Eating Day:

Or join us for a Mindful Eating retreat at Golden Door

With Love, 

Charlotte Thaarup-Owen Xx

Charlotte Thaarup-Owen

Charlotte Thaarup-Owen is an internationally experienced consultant and transformative educator. She facilitates mindfulness and mindfulness based workshops both locally and abroad. She is trained in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and is an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Charlotte is a mediator and coach with over 20 years experience in facilitating change and personal and interpersonal development. Charlotte is a public speaker, does mindfulness coaching as well as training and has produced the “Ten Minute Wonders”, a meditation CD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *