Saturday, May 21, 2011

Want to lose that belly fat?

So, you’re eating right, you’re exercising, but you can’t seem to get rid of that gut? Check your stress.

I remember I used to think that stressing out about stuff, [especially with my subsequent fidgeting], would actually help keep me in shape. Little did I know that I was doing the exact opposite.

That is because when we are stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol, which protects the organs by storing fat around them. I’ve mentioned before, our bodies can’t tell the difference between a physical threat and an emotional threat; real or perceived, so it will respond the same.

In an experiment done with rats, the stressed out rats gained larger bellies. What was interesting was, that as the bellies expanded the stress levels decreased.

A friend of my dreamy boyfriend’s decided that he needed to change his lifestyle. Reducing stress was a huge part of it. So he intentionally decided to make a few schedule changes, which drastically improved his stress level, and his overall well-being.

One change he made was making sure that he was eating dinner at home. This ensured that he wasn’t over working himself and that he was eating right. It also gave him more time with his family. The second thing was that he made sure that he fit exercise in. He had tried running, but that was largely contingent on the weather, so he picked indoor activities that he knew he could do at any time, such as swimming and yoga.

Not everyone is free to make such drastic changes, but here are a few to get you started.

Tricks to lessen stress:
• You may want to try limiting caffeine intake: Some studies have shown caffeine to be a culprit in this phenomenon. This is not for me.
• Exercise. When you are stressed about too much to do, exercise often is the first thing given up. This is the last thing you should cut out. Exercise changes the way you respond to stress, so by all means, make sure you are getting exercise of some sort.

Of course a lot of factors play in to a person’s weight gain, or loss, diet, metabolism, genes, etc. This is just one aspect, but one that many perhaps don’t realize.


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