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  • Dr. Nancy

The Key to Sustainable Weight Loss

We have all been conditioned to think that diet and exercise are the answer to weight loss. Workout harder and longer. Eat less.

This conventional wisdom implies that weight loss is simply math. Unfortunately, it is much more complicated.

The problem with this equation is that is does not take into account the impact and influence of stress on the body, especially on a hormonal and cellular level. Our metabolism is really designed to do one thing: react to stress.

The key to weight management is stress management.

Weight management has more to do with chemistry, and less to do with math. And your mindset and bio-individuality play an important part in optimizing your metabolism.

After all, everybody has different genetics, different environments, different nutrition, and different lifestyle habits. And these different factors result in one unique and vital factor that’s absolutely crucial to take into consideration for your health: your bio- individuality.

Think of it as your body's fingerprint. No two people are exactly the same, including resilience or how they respond and react to stress.

Women are far more sensitive to stress than men. It is an evolutionary survival mechanism that helped to clue women into whether it was a good time to get pregnant or not. High stress leads to no babies.

The problem is not quick bouts of stress. It is the sustained, chronic high-stress lifestyle that deteriorates our health on a cellular level.

Stress can sabotage your good intentions. Here are just a few examples of how stress can erode your health:

  • It invokes a hormonal cascade that influences hunger and cravings, especially sweets and fatty foods.

  • It forces your body to pile on fat, especially around the middle.

  • It disrupts your sleep, which can lead to weight gain.

  • It increases inflammation, oxidative stress and immune system compromise.

  • It interferes with your body’s energy production, leaving you tired and unmotivated.

Your mindset around stress is so important because we tend to focus on all of the things we need to do and change in order to lose weight, which by the way elevate of our stress level. We don’t tend to focus on relaxation and recovery.

When you shift your mind to stress reduction, you support your master metabolic control system (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). Recovery and relaxation help to lower the constant onslaught of cortisol and the associated hormonal cascade in your body.

Mindset around stress reduction, relaxation and recovery (and a commitment to master the stress in your life) is the key to sustainable weight loss. It is crucial that you take action to reduce your stress load.

Steps You Can Take

1. Calm Your Brain

We've all heard about it, and yes, it is true - meditation benefits your body in many different ways including reduced stress. I like Holosync to achieve the benefits of meditation and calm my mind.

2. Keep Moving

This is NOT exercise. Movement is walking and other activities that are not exercise, e.g. gardening, taking the stairs, vacuuming, restorative yoga and tai chi. Movement helps to sensitize the body to your hormonal system and reduce cortisol.

3. Get Those Zzz’s

Sleep is really the unsung hero when it comes to reclaiming your health and combatting the effects of chronic stress. Aim to get at least 8-9 hours of good quality sleep each and every night.

4. Soak it up

Taking a warm bath is especially effective at reducing stress. Add in some Epsom salts, lavender essential oil and candles to take your bath to the next level.

5. Socialize

Laughing lowers cortisol, as do petting your fur baby, snuggling and communing with nature. A community of family and friends give us the sense of connection that helps to keep stress at bay.

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