How Do You Know If Youve Built Enough Trust To Go There
In truth: Theres no definitive test that will allow you to know, for sure, how your client will respond when you bring up their big upstream problem.
But youre probably in a good space if your client is no longer showing signs of resistance. In other words, during your sessions together, your client continually nods, saying things like, Yes! Yes! Yes! Thats exactly how it is for me! And when you go over action steps together, your client consistently puts them right into practice.
If all of thats happening on a regular basis: Youre ready to try the 3-step process below.
If thats nothappening: Stay with nutrition-centered practices a bit longer. Maybe instead of addressing emotional stress directly, you do it indirectly by helping your client deal with physical stressors such as nutrient deficiencies, food intolerances, or over-training.
Also consider what you might be doing to trigger any resistance. What can you do to help your client feel seen and heard? Are there ways to empathize more with your clients situation? Could you spend more time listening and restating and less time lecturing?
The Challenge Of Coaching Stressed Out People
Most people know that too much stress is bad for them.
But their stressors often live so far upstream that they dont connect them with their stalled fat loss.
They might blame it all on a lack of willpower, assuming they just need to try harder, stop being so lazy, eat even less food, or exercise even more.
And as their coach, its easy to become trapped in the this person just needs a little accountability mindset.
But as you probably know, serving as their nutritional drill sergeant doesnt generally workat least not long term.
So, what can you do?
Start by considering whether your client has any of these signs of stress.
Why You Crave Comfort Food When Youre Stressed
Chronic stress has an almost diabolical effect on the metabolism. Chronic stress may influence our brains reward system in areas such as the amygdala and hippocampus, which may promote food cravings, says Chao.
The secretion of cortisol in response to a stressor also tells your body to store belly fat, says Shawn Talbott, PhD, an exercise physiologist and nutritional biochemist in Salt Lake City, and author of The Cortisol Connection. A review published in July 2018 in the journal Medicine found that belly fat not only adds pounds but increases your risk for heart attack.
In addition, a study published in February 2017 in the European Journal of Neurology revealed a connection between belly fat and ischemic stroke in women. At the same time, hormones released in response to chronic stress can prompt the loss of skeletal muscle, according to a study published in January 2014 in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research. Muscle tissue is the largest calorie burner in the body, so overall metabolism drops, Dr. Talbott says.
Research has repeatedly found that social support can help decrease stress levels and thus lower the likelihood of weight gain. In a study published in May 2017 in the journal Behavior Modification, researchers found that while most first-year college students gained weight, students with lower levels of social support at the beginning of college had greater increases in body mass index .
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What Causes Stress Or Anxiety That Affects Weight Loss
There are two kinds of stress: immediate stress and prolonged stress. Immediate stress occurs when you’re overwhelmed, surprised, or afraid. Prolonged stress occurs when ongoing stressors affect your emotional, physical, and mental health. Some things that cause prolonged stress include:
- Work, employment, and career stress
- Academic stress
- Mental health and chronic illness
- Financial stress
Youre Not Drinking Enough Water
Can drinking water really help with weight loss, or is that just an urban legend? Its for real: A 2014 review of studies published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found several links between water consumption and weight-loss results.
Basically? Yeah, you should be drinking more water.
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Take Some Deep Breaths
Getting a handle on your stress could be as easy as taking a few deep breaths. Slow, deliberate breathing fills your lungs with oxygen, decreasing the anxious feelings that often accompany being out of breath, and can slow a racing heart in the process. Researchers at the University of the Basque Country have even found that deep breathing exercises helped reduce cortisol levels in both male and female study subjects, suggesting that those deep breathing exercises may help you slim down, too.
Eat Foods That Fight Stress And Improve Mood
Food is truly medicine, and while its a healing tool for the body, its also a healing tool for the mind.
Many foods can help reduce stress and get you in a better mood, like Vitamin B. Vitamin B helps reduce stress, and can be found in whole grains, seeds and nuts, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, avocado, bananas, and more.
And a simple bowl of Oatmeal can reduce stress and release serotonin.
But my favorite pick me up is all-natural, pure cacao. Pure cacao or chocolate that isnt full of artificial ingredients and too much sugar has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, memory, and immunity and can reduce depression.
Speaking of cacao, if you ever have the opportunity to join a cacao ceremony, do it! I promise you wont regret it.
Stressed Out Why Stress Might Be Stopping You From Losing Weight And What To Do About It
The idea that too much stress is bad for long-term health is not news to anyone. The media provides constant reminders that stress is linked to heart disease, mood disorders, and other chronic conditions.
Stress can also lead to weight gain or impede weight loss efforts. If you find yourself gaining weight despite eating healthy foods and exercising, stress may be the culprit.
The dangers of stress have sparked a conversation about reducing stress and pursuing more balanced lifestyles to avoid long-term impacts. Taking control of stress is of course easier said than done!
Even with all of this attention on stress reduction and prevention, finding your zen can be difficult. Not to mention if you are trying to lose weight and think that stress is preventing your success, you may feel even more discouraged and stressed out.
Learning about why stress can prevent weight loss may help you address the root causes of your stress and see more results.
Read on to learn more about the connection between stress and weight loss, and how you can start using simple techniques for stress relief!
How My Anxiety Caused Rapid Weight Loss
Anxiety is cyclical in nature, as was rapid weight loss from anxiety for me. I felt like no matter what I did to try to solve the problem I couldn’t stop losing weight. My daily challenges felt insurmountable:
- Loss of appetite — Foods I previously found irresistible weren’t even remotely desirable.
- Digestive problems — When I managed to choke food down, it went right through me.
- Severe insomnia — I was barely sleeping, so I was burning more calories from being awake.1
- Elevated heart rate2 — My heart was beating as if I was working out even when I was sitting still.
Even when I was able to eat, I couldn’t get enough fuel in my body to keep up with how fast I was burning calories. At the height of my anxiety, I lost 10 pounds in a week.
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Youre Drinking Sugary Beverages
Gonna hit you with something totally shocking here: If youre drinking even one soda per day, you will never lose weight, says Dr. Weiner. Ummm, back up for a sec. Is soda really that bad for you? Sorry, but yes: Dr. Weiner says when you drink sugar, it drives up weight gain far more than when you eat it.
If youre hungry and eat a cookie, you will be less hungry, or youll eat less at lunch but when you drink 150 calories, it doesnt impact your hunger at all, he explains. So you drink a soda, then you still eat a normal lunch, and all youve done is add 150 calories to your daily intake .
If youre really craving a sweet drink, Gans recommends making your own by adding a splash of 100 percent fruit juice or fresh fruit to plain seltzer. You can also buy a flavored sparkling waterjust read the label first to make sure there isnt a lot of added sugar and calories.
What Is Making You Stressed
Ask yourself this question: what is making you stressed?
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmedand anxiouswithout actually knowing what is making us feel this way. By identifying what is causing you stress you can work towards reducing and overcoming the anxiety associated with it.
Is it work? Family? Relationship? Health? Perhaps it is multiple things.
While you cannot change everything, once you know what is causing some stress in your life you can look at ways to fix the problem
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When Is Weight Loss Cause For Concern
Although dropping a pound or two typically isnt cause for concern, unexpected or undesired weight loss takes a toll on your body.
See a doctor or other healthcare professional if youve lost five percent or more of your overall body weight in any 6- to 12-month period.
You should also see a doctor if you:
- are losing weight without trying
- have chronic headaches
- feel persistently on edge
- find yourself using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope
Your doctor can determine whether your symptoms are related to stress or due to another underlying condition. Whatever the cause, your provider can work with you to develop healthy coping strategies and prescribe medication, if needed.
Get To The Root Of The Problem
While all of these tips will help you fight off weight loss from stress, you must get to the root of your stress. Usually, to be stressed out long enough to cause stress weight loss, something has to be having a pretty big impact on your life.
Is it a long term project for work? A new living situation? An unhealthy relationship? Constantly having too much on your plate?
Whatever it is, identify it, and start working on how you can make it less intense. Remember, while some stress in life is inevitable, you dont have to be stressed all the time, and its always okay to ask for help.
If the tips above and other lifestyle changes and stress management methods dont help, it might be time to consider other potential causes of weight loss.
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Youre Eating Less But Still Picking Unhealthy Foods
If you consume fewer calories than you expend, Dr. Weiner says its definitely possible to lose about 10 percent of your total body weight through dieting alone. But if you want to lose more, you cant just keep cutting calories. You have to change the type of food you eat, he says, focusing more on the quality of calories versus the quantity.
Foods digest differently in our bodysome slower, some more quickly, explains Keri Gans, RD, the author of The Small Change Diet. Sugary foods digest quickly, leaving you hungry sooner than later, versus foods rich in fiber, she says. Fiber-rich foods, like fruits, veggies, 100 percent whole grains, and legumes, help promote satiety and can be an easy weight loss tool.
For example, if you order in delivery for dinner every night, eating fewer restaurant-prepared meals every week for lunch will probably help you shed some pounds at first, but eventually, the weight loss is going to stop unless you make the switch to even healthier lunches on a consistent basis. Once youve changed the quality of your caloriesand are consuming better-for-you foods with more satiating poweryoull also naturally eat less, which can help weight loss continue past the 10 percent point.
Ways To Calm Your Mind And Body
By no means is this list exhaustive. Merely think of it as a jumping-off point for brainstorming. Its more important to collaboratively explore what a client feels works for them and much less important to serve as a human encyclopedia of stress-relievers.
|Quick & free|
If youd like to learn more, consider the PN Level 1 Nutrition Coaching Certification.
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Stress And Weight Gain: Fast Facts
Can stress cause weight gain?
Yes, stress can make you gain weight for different reasons. Stress could cause you to seek comfort in unhealthy food habits. That can lead to unwanted weight gain. Stress-related weight gain could also be the effect of higher cortisol levels.
Whats the link between stress, cortisol, and weight gain?
When youre stressed, your body amps up production of cortisol. Cortisol can increase your blood sugar levels and increase your appetite. This can promote weight gain.
How to stop cortisol weight gain
Tackle stress with calming activities, including:
Hyperstimulation Can Lead To Gastrointestinal Distress
Your body slows digestion during the fight or flight response so it can focus on how to respond to the stressor.
This can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, such as:
- stomach pain
Chronic stress can amplify these symptoms and result in other underlying conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome.
These changes to your digestive system may cause you to eat less, subsequently losing weight.
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Breathe Before You Eat
We continuously breathe without thinking about it, but Spanish research showed that relaxed, controlled breathing can effectively reduce cortisol levels. Before each meal, take a few minutes to sit comfortably in a chair, and spend a few minutes focusing on breathing, slowly and deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. You may be amazed how quickly this technique can help relieve muscle tension and shift your mindset.
How Does Stress Cause Weight
Though stress can cause weight loss, it doesnt for everyone, and more often, stress causes weight gain or no change at all, says David H. Rosmarin, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and founder of theCenter for Anxiety.
If people are super busy and stressed out or going through a traumatic situation or feel like theyre totally under water, thats when weight loss, if it occurs, takes place, says Rosmarin. When youre really gunning it, you dont have time to eat and you dont have the appetite to eat.
Goodpastor explains, When one eats much less than usual, perhaps due to skipped meals when stressed, it can cause the metabolism to slow down. The body essentially goes into starvation mode, stores fat, and eats away at muscle, which leads to short-term weight loss.
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To Lose Weight Faster Control Your Stress Heres How To Do It Effectively
A busy lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with stress. And while stress is known to cause anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and exhaustion, among other things, it is also linked to weight gain. So, this may be the reason why you are not losing weight exercising and eating right.
A new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, shows how chronic exposure to stress is linked with obesity due to the relationship between fat cells and the timing of stress hormones. if you experience chronic, continuous stress or take glucocorticoids at night, the resulting loss of normal circadian glucocorticoid oscillations will result in significant weight gain, says Mary Teruel, assistant professor of chemical and systems biology at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
Nutrition and fitness consultant Munmun Ganeriwal says in times of stress, our body releases hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol is linked with insulin resistance, sugar cravings, and weight gain. The equation is higher stress equals higher cortisol which means a greater craving for junk food which leads to more belly fat, she says.
The effect of stress over time
What to do
The strategies to beat stress and associated weight gain involve relaxing the brain, calming the nerves and cells, as well as stimulating the production of repairing hormones- HGH and testosterone which counter the negative effects of cortisol. Heres a simple four-step approach suggested by Ganeriwal and Thacker to do so:
Don’t Jump To Blame The Pill
Contrary to popular belief, combination birth control pills aren’t proven to cause lasting weight gain. It is thought that some women taking the combination pill may experience some weight gain related to fluid retention, but this is usually short-term. If you’re still concerned about possible weight gain, talk to your doctor.
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The Role Of Cortisol In The Body
Stress can significantly impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent you from losing weight. Whether it’s the result of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, unhealthy stress-induced behaviors, or a combination of the two, the link between stress and weight gain is glaring.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
Always Fuel Up After Exercising
If you manage stress through exercise but arent eating enough, stress weight loss is very likely. So make sure to always eat something after your exercise.
Eat something as soon as you finish exercising, so you dont forget. This doesnt have to be a big meal but focus on high protein or carbohydrate foods, like avocado, nuts, yogurt, a banana, an apple with nut butter, rice cakes, or a protein smoothie.
You can even buy premade protein drinks at the store, to make it as easy as can be.
Eating after you exercise will help prevent stress weight loss, and has other benefits too, like increased muscle protein synthesis, reduced protein breakdown, and more effective muscle reconditioning.
Eating protein after you exercise can also help improve your performance the next day.
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