Relax in order to lose weight. If you need to lose weight, one of the best things you can do to help yourself is to relax. Integrative medicine expert and board certified functional medicine provider Dr. Keesha Ewers says that whether we’re running late or we’re running from a lion chasing us, our bodies react to stress the same by producing the hormone cortisol. Once that stress is gone, cortisol levels should fall, but as Dr. Heidi Hanna warns in her book Relax Your Fat Off, “If that stress persists, or if a person’s stress response gets stuck in the ‘on’ position, cortisol may remain elevated.” That means the brain is going to try to conserve energy by slowing down metabolism and by storing and protecting fat in our body. It’s also going to look for as many calories as possible so that we’ll have the energy needed to deal with whatever’s causing us stress. Again, fine for the short term, but devastating for our health and our waistline if it goes on for too long. That’s why, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s just as important to find time to relax as it is to exercise or to eat healthy foods.
For more on why this is the case and how you can learn to relax, feel free to check out Beyond Stress Eating: Why Stress Causes Weight Gain.