Stress Less, Lose Body Fat

Stress is a word often thrown around the office in relation to workload or relationships. We often don’t even realize that we’re stressed or what we are doing in relation to our stress in life. Many women may realize that they eat more when stressed or reach for fat loaded foods full of sugar in response to their stresses. Men also tend to eat when stressed. There are also those people who eat less when they are stressed. No matter which type of person you are, stress levels have an impact on the body and often times they are negative impacts.

For those of you, who desire a six pack, think again. If you’re suffering from chronic stress you can forget about it. Without going into too much technical detail, the body releases a chemical compound called cortisol in response to stress. It is believed that cortisol actually increases the body’s fat storage mechanism. Carol A. Shively, PhD, professor of pathology and comparative medicine at Wake University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, NC states that cortisol causes visceral (belly) fat to accumulate. In a study that she published in the Journal of Obesity, she found that animals that had more social stress developed more fat in the abdominal cavity. (Oxygen Magazine, Spring 2010).

But there is hope. It all starts with identifying the culprits of your stress and dealing with them head on. Once you have identified your source of stress you can best pinpoint how to deal with them; either through elimination, management or acceptance. Elimination is the easiest of the three as you discard whatever it is in your life that stresses you. Unfortunately, this is not always that easy to do so we’re left with management and acceptance.

To better manage your stress levels, try eating a cleaner diet for one. A diet rich in essential fats and balanced nutrients will help your body manage mood better and energy levels. The body will also function better and the increased function will pay dividends to your health and fat loss.

Breathe deeply. Often times we breathe quite shallow and don’t use our entire diaphragm. When we are stressed we tend to tense even further and this lack of deep breathes reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain. Not only that, but the tension build up that we often don’t notice brings added stress, creating an unnecessary fight or flight reaction in the body.

Acceptance can sometimes be hard to do, but if we accept the things that are out of our control as parts of life, we can move forward and focus on the things that really matter. To summarize Maya Angelou, if you don’t like something then change it, if you cannot change it then change yourself.

Your fat loss is closer than you think and it all begins with you. Pay attention to your body and learn to understand its needs. You are the captain of your vessel so by better understanding the finer points of your vessel, you can better guide your ship through the waters of life.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions or your own personal input in the comments section below.

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By Rich Thurman, B.Sc., MA, CSCS, CPT

Health & Performance Coach

Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd

With a degree in Physiology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Sports & Fitness Management, Rich combines his knowledge of rehabilitation and sports performance as well as nutritional studies to provide a complete and holistic approach to training clients. The focus is on lifestyle change which creates long term health.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

One Response to Stress Less, Lose Body Fat

  1. Peter P says:

    ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain’ – Maya Angelou

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