Did you know that stress and anxiety can significantly impact on your weight? It can prevent your ability to maintain a healthy weight as well as preventing you from losing weight.
Why is this?
Well, there are a number of reasons, but for now I’m just going to focus on the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol, along with adrenaline, is released when we are in a stress response (flight or fight). When this happens glucose is then released into your bloodstream to give you the energy to run from the danger. Once the adrenaline wears off and the glucose returns to normal, the sugar cravings begin. Because sugar supplies your body with the quick energy it thinks it needs, when we are stressed it is often the first thing we reach for. And even if we aren’t eating sugary or high fat foods, excess cortisol can slow down our metabolisms making it difficult to lose weight.
Unfortunately for us, we can elicit a stress response when our lives are really not in danger. When our anxiety goes up, and it can be a gradual process, to a lesser or greater extent our primitive mind takes over and we can produce the same chemicals as if we were in a life-threatening situation.
When excess cortisol is produced, it stops fat processing and favours the storage of fat in the abdomen. The fat stored in the abdomen has more cortisol receptors so allows you to produce more of the stress hormone, thus storing more fat. It is one big vicious circle.
So, what can we do about it?
Well, firstly we need to reduce our anxiety, reduce the amount we are putting in our ‘stress bucket’. We need to be getting 7-8 hours sleep a night, as REM is nature’s way of processing all the little anxieties we put in to our ‘stress bucket’ throughout the day. Positive action, positive interaction and positive thinking will help us to get a healthy flow of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that acts as a catalyst for mentally healthy behaviour. All this will help us make more informed decisions using our intellectual mind instead of our primitive mind. It’s our primitive mind which will come up with every excuse not to go to the gym, or to finish the last donut before starting the diet tomorrow, so we really don’t want it making our decisions for us! And if we are in our primitive mind, we are lacking the flow of good chemicals in our brains which causes us to over eat and drink etc.
Solution focused hypnotherapy is a fantastic resource to help reduce your anxiety and therefore reduce the cortisol production in our brains. It is a natural and effective way to enable us to use our intellectual mind properly. We use trance in a positive and uplifting way to make indirect suggestions to your subconscious mind. And if anxiety is lowered, cortisol production is lowered and weight loss will follow.