Battling your weight can cause stress

Wednesday, April 30th 2008, 2:26 pm
By: News 9

For some people, weight loss requires making several lifestyle changes, which can cause physical and emotional stress. Too much physical and emotional stress on the body can cause the body to react in a way that's counterproductive to losing weight, health officials say. 

According to Tracee Cornforth, author of  Health's Disease and Condition: Stress Busters, when stress makes us feel anxious our adrenal glands secrete adrenaline in the body, preparing us for the fight, fright and flight reactions. This can cause an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscles strains, even shallow breathing. Once physical strain sets in, you could be looking at a host of psychological problems[1].

Several approaches are used to deal with mental strain including relaxation exercises, deep breathing techniques, or by changing your thinking patterns. But first, before you  assess whether your cup is half full or half empty, it is also a good idea to make sure you being objective about your goal setting.

On top of that, excessive work, inadequate sleep, a lack of regular exercise, a poor diet schedule or behavioral problem can single handedly sabotage your efforts to lose weight. So it is extremely important to seek balance in all areas of your life. 

Instead, people often just compensate for strain with common stress busters that can be dangerous to your health. A common de-stressor is unwinding in front of the TV. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association states for every two-hour increase in TV watching there is a 23 percent increase in obesity and a 14 percent increase in the risk of diabetes.

If you prefer to kick back and relax playing video games.. think again. "Constant gaming helps program the brain to expect instant rewards, shortens the expected time between cause and effect, and makes long-term planning and nuanced thinking difficult," according health and nutrition expert and AOL Body contributor Dr. Jonny Bowden.

Alcohol consumption is another big one used to reduce stress or temporarily ward off problems. The fact is alcohol is addictive, depletes nutrients, shortens lives, damages relationships, and can bring out the worst in people. So if you are using alcohol to deal with anxiety or a strenuous situation, find a better way because it will not help with keeping off the weight[2].

Your best bet -- a calm, peaceful attitude towards life. You should always try to maintain an organized living space. A cluttered environment can literally drain your energy and cause additional stress. Ask yourself, are you taking care of your body? A healthy diet, exercise, getting those 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily - all these things help to reduce unnecessary physical and emotional strain on your body[3].  And again, don't forget the little things.. invest in a stress ball, take deep breaths or go outside, sometimes you may just need a 10 minute break.

The above report was compiled with information from the following sources:

[1] Health's Disease and Condition: Stress Busters, By Tracee Cornforth, your guide to Women's Health (2007).

[2] AOL body: Dangerous De-Stressors, by Dr. Jonny Bowman, PhD, CNS. 

[3]Stress, by Medical Author: Peter J. Panzarino Jr., MD, FAPA