List: Ten steps to lower your stress and lose weight

Checklist

Ten stress relief tips to help you lose weight

  1. Meditate to lose weight.  Sitting in a quiet room and focusing on anything other than the stress of your day will reduce the stress and cortisol that is putting yours at an elevated risk of obesity. When practicing meditation or mindful thought, you can release emotions that may have been causing you physical stress.  It can be as simple as sitting in the dark and concentrating on your breathing.  I try to schedule mindful breathing exercises throughout the day to relax.  There are other forms of meditation but mindful breathing is a great place to start.  
  2. Take a walk. Walking is more than exercise.  A lack of physical activity and elevated stress are directly connected.  Taking a scheduled walk or a stroll between meetings will both burn a few calories, garner from steps, and lower your stress.  What are you waiting for?  Hit the pavement and get a little exercise.  
  3. Schedule a break during the workday.  I set the alarm to remind me every 1-2 hours to relax. It is a great time management method and will make you both more productive and less stressed.  You will return refreshed and ready to concentrate on the project that you have been struggling to complete.  
  4. Take a nap.  Shut and lock the door.  Turn down the lights.  Relax and take a nap. Short naps, during the workday, have been shown to improve your cognitive capacity and focus.   The best nap is 20 minutes or less.  These short breaks for sleep have bee shown to improve productivity.   
  5. Have a protein power snack.  Protein can lower your stress and keep you full longer than grazing the candy bowl.  While stress may make you think to graze the nearest sugary snack, protein is more likely to provide the satiety and stress relief you desire.  I keep some jerky or nuts in a drawer for this very purpose.  
  6. Take an electronics break. Checking email or social media may make you feel connected, but ti compounding your stress.  We all have a phone or tablet addiction.  I see people ignoring their families at dinner to text and surf.  Check them at the door to the dining room or restaurant and enjoy your family or friends.  
  7. Smile or laugh about something.  Laughter truly can be medicine for stress in these situations.  Smiling and laughter lead to endorphin release and less stress.  Endorphins suppress cortisol and reduce abdominal obesity.  Stress may make it hard to find things to smile, but the effort is worth the energy expenditure.  
  8. Cut the Caffeine.  Caffeine is the nectar of the gods, but it can also increase stress. Caffeine combined with stress and raises cortisol levels even more than stress alone.  I recommend you cut the cup of coffee when you are stressed and instead have cup of herbal tea. 
  9. Talk to a friend or your spouse.  For some, this can be a stress release.  Talking about your stressors can be therapeutic.  Getting it off your chest can be a way to control it.  Don’t be afraid to open up to others.  Often my spouse helps me realize it is not as bad as I think it is.  
  10. Plan your day ahead of time.  Don’t wait till the last minute to rush out the door.  Making an agenda or schedule with a to-do list can develop good habits that increase productivity and reduce stress.  I check to make sure everything is ready before bed, and this saves me the rush to find things right before I am supposed to go out the door.  This mindful preparation reduces anxiety and stress at the start of the day. 

The bottom line:  Stress reduction can reduce your chance of weight gain and help weight loss.  Ideally, we would never experience stress and anxiety, but here in the real work, they are a part of everyday life.  Develop healthy habits to control them, and they will help you stay slim and less stressed.

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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