Long term, chronic stress is horrible for your body. Aside from the impact on your immune system, disruption to your sleeping patterns, and raising your blood pressure, there are negative consequences on your fat loss goals too.
Being able to manage your life stressors effectively is vital to your general health as well as specific fitness and fat loss goals. Before starting a fat loss regime, you might want to consider getting your stress levels in check. This way, you can achieve a more effective base and speed up weight loss when you begin to diet. Here are 10 tips to help you with just that!
Tip 1. Go For A Walk
Stress levels can be made worse by being stuck indoors and not taking any exercise. Gentle physical activity, like a 15-minute walk, is often enough to generate feelings of well being.
Sometimes, this time spent walking can develop new, creative ideas, help solve problems, and you're able to return to the stressful task with fresh eyes. It has the benefit of taking you out of the stressful situation while it's at its peak, allowing you to make a rational and intentional choice. For fat loss, this is essential.
Tip 2. Take Some Deep Breaths
For some people, this could be a moment of mindful "breathwork" where you put your focus on your breath only for 10 deep breaths. For other people, this could be as simple as just taking 3 large inhales and exhales. Taking time aside to do nothing but focusing on your breathing can ease feelings of anxiety and slow a racing heart, reducing cortisol production. Lower cortisol levels are associated with improved fat loss.
Tip 3. Smile
This advice is particularly useful because it works even if you have to fake it until you feel it. When doing a stressful task with a smile, it reduces the perceived difficulty and the physiological stress response. If you're able to share a laugh with a friend while stressed, this effect is even more pronounced.
Tip 4. Use Positive Affirmations
A positive affirmation is a statement that is spoken or written. These are words of encouragement or confidence to support you through a stressful time. Advocates of this stress management method claim the benefits are even more pronounced when coupled with a "power stance": a way of standing, sort of like a superhero, which gives you a sense of postural confidence. This trick can be used whenever you feel yourself losing faith with your dietary choices or feeling like you have to defend them in front of others.
Tip 5. Reduce Screen Time
Devices are a fantastic way to feel connected to friends and family, but they must be used intentionally. The media you consume can harm your anxiety if you're not mindful about how you use it. Internalizing stress in this way can slow your weight loss goals.
Tip 6. Playlist Magic
Making a playlist of uplifting music not only reduces stress levels but also increases your desire to move. Like music, movement can be a fantastic way to manage stress levels and boost fat loss results. The greatest part of this tip is that there are no rules. You can listen to whatever music gets your mojo going and move in any way you feel you want to.
Tip 7. Stretching
While stretching doesn't burn many calories, it does feel good. Especially if your work has you stuck at a desk. Consider this a self-care exercise that feels amazing and reduces your stress as a bonus. And when you're ready to exercise, this is a great way to take care of your soft tissues to reduce soreness after you're finished. If you want to take it up a notch, find a yoga or Pilates practice near you or online to help you identify and work on areas that need your attention.
Tip 8. Socializing
Social support from family and friends is precious to mental health. Even when we can't be physically together, just a text, a video call, or even a posted letter can make a massive difference in feeling connected. Arranging your physical activity like a social event (virtually or in-person) is also a brilliant way to look forward to it, too, if this is something you've struggled to enjoy in the past.
Tip 9. Alone Time
Being with friends and family is essential, but so is taking time for yourself. No spouse, no kids, no colleagues: just you. It's not selfish; it's vital to recharge your batteries. This time is just for you - it's not about work, or chores, just something you enjoy and find relaxing.
Tip 10. Spend Time Outdoors
Lastly, getting out in the fresh air is one of the most useful activities to reduce the physiological stress response. The combination of fresh air and exercise seems to have magical properties in reducing anxiety and boosting fat loss. Not to mention the sounds of nature on your mental health. And it's free!