Stress and food & drink have always been linked.
Wether that be comfort eating, drinking to forget or even feeling so sick with worry that you can’t stomach a thing.
We now know that certain foods and drinks can aggravate stress. Coffee, sugar and processed foods all interfere with our bodies natural ability to deal with stress.
Did you know that how you eat can aggravate your stress levels too?
Most people think of “stress” as emotional stress like anger or anxiety, but really stress has a much broader definition. Anything that raises stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can be thought of as stress.
The body loves to be in balance, in fact it is always trying to regain this balance at all times, you shiver when you are cold telling you to put a sweater on, your mouth feels dry when you are dehydrated telling you to drink water and when your body needs energy it sends you a clear message through your hunger pangs to eat.
The body needs fuel to perform its basic metabolic functions. When there is no answer to its call for energy the brain starts to reduce the energy you expend, so you start to feel a bit tired and weary. While at the same time it is looking for back up energy sources and can start to release stress hormones to give the “Umph” you need to go out there and score some calories.
The brain really doesn’t like diets. It views restrictive diets, those that recommend the regular intake of less than 1200 calls for a woman, as being the signs of imminent famine. Survival mechanism kicks and and slows down your metabolism so that you do not use all the energy you take in, then when it detects a feast, for example when someone falls off the diet cycle and has a blow out, the body in its infinite wisdom lays down these extra calories as fat for your future survival.
At the same time being on a diet can be an emotional roller coaster, lots of Must Do’s, Should Nots and Can’t Haves to cope with. The guilt and the shame of what’s allowed and what isn’t and the pressure of breaking the diet add yet another negative emotion for your brain to process.
This is why diets fail.
Going on a diet changes how your body responds to the fuel it receives, how the hormones responsible for all your basic metabolic functions work and may even change the way that your brain reacts to stress, changing both how you express stress and whether you start eating more because of it.
Signs of Being Caught in The Vicious Diet Stress Cycle
Here are a few common warning signs that your stress hormone levels are out of balance:
- Tired all the time.
- Digestive Problems, like IBS, yeast infections, food intolerance etc
- Little aches and pains that have no real source
- Constant colds and bugs.
- Low sex drive
- Brain Fog.
- Poor Sleep
- Craving carbs and high sugar foods
- A tyre of fat around your middle that never seems to shift
If you have more than one of these symptoms for any length of time its your body’s way of telling you something isn’t working for you.
Breaking Free from The Diet Stress Cycle
Ditch The Diet!
Let’s be honest: life is stressful enough without us worrying over every bite we eat. Yes it is prudent to watch what you eat, to choose clean healthy foods most of the time to provide your body with the energy and nutrition it needs and yes if you are looking to shed some unnecessary weight then you will want to look at what you have been eating and may need to make some changes to support your goal. But following a rigid and restrictive diet is not the answer, listening to your body and looking at your current behaviours from a holistic health and wellbeing approach is key.
Take time to Relax.
When was the last time you really relaxed? I don’t just meant sat and mindless watched TV. I mean really took time out, slowed down and had some time when you were able to switch off and allow your body and your brain to rest. Many women we see at The Body Retreat have become very good at putting their own needs to the bottom of the To Do List. There is always something or someone with a prior claim on their time. But you can be stretched too thin, just like pulling an elastic band… there may seem like a lot of give but eventually there will be a snap! So commit to yourself that you will no long wait to find the time to relax but that you will make the time to relax. It really doesn’t take long, we recommend you start with a simple 3 minute mindfulness exercise…. 3 short minutes out of 24 hours really can make a huge differnece.
The Body Retreat Answer
Stress can be a major trigger for weight gain, emotional eating and ill health.
The answer to breaking this vicious diet stress cycle is a very personal one.
At The Body Retreat we discuss each guests personal situation and their requirements to make sure that they get the result they want and need. For some that might be attending our Weight Loss Retreat but for many others we are now recommending that they join us at the Stress Reset Retreat in order to balance their mind and body before beginning their weight loss journey.
While the Stress Reset Retreat is aimed at rebalancing body and mind and providing you with new resources to support you in your day to day life as a bonus on this retreat , you can lose up to 7 lbs in just 5 days as well see your mood, skin and muscle tone improve.