Remember being able to lose weight super quick when you were younger? You thought it was because of your age and now with an older body, everything is just….well, slow. But how do you explain younger people who have piled on the pounds in the last year and are not really able to shed it off that quickly?
The past year has shed light on our health, healthcare system, health policies, and so much more. If we have used this time wisely, we know that the only way around it is acceptance, resilience, and a calm mind. But, something that simple can be exceedingly hard to do at times.
The key to understanding so much of what we are going through collectively is just one word. Stress. What the doctor tells you is the reason behind 90% of health issues (the rest is genetics and toxicity). It is also the reason for most anxiety, panic, fear, and feelings of depression which in turn causes even more stress. So, if stress creates all this, what is its connection to weight gain and weight loss stalling?
Stress has a direct impact on your body weight and its inability to shed it quickly. It puts the body into a fight or flight mode, which sends all of our body’s biochemistry into a tailspin. We were all anyway leading super-fast lives before 2020 hit us in the gut. In the last year, it has only exacerbated our stress levels. There’s no scientific way to measure stress, but there are numerous ways to see the effects of it. Physically, mentally and emotionally.
Stress causes the fight or flight mode, which releases cortisol and adrenaline. When you are not approaching life with a peaceful and calm mind and body, you slide into the effects of these two hormones. Ordinarily, these two could potentially save your life. But you aren’t living in the jungles anymore with wild animals looking to snack on you. Cortisol is a regulated hormone that your body releases in supreme control and in doses that are just enough to move into action. Adrenaline is also in short bursts to get the body muscles to burn energy at lightning speed and to move to save your life if need be. So, from this you know that you don’t need your life to be saved on a daily basis (useful in the jungle no?). All fear, panic, anxiety, life and death situations create the right environment for cortisol to be released. Your body does not know the difference between thinking about death and an actual life or death situation. It releases cortisol anyway. And that is where the issue is. In the current environment, with all of us functioning at various stress levels, we are living in imaginary danger (unless some of us are in an actual crisis).
Let’s see what happens in the body with all this going on outside of it. A steadily high level of cortisol in the body over a significant period of time can start to change the biochemistry of your body. Your body starts to become insulin resistant. Larger doses of insulin are produced then to compensate and this inhibits natural fat burn. Inhibited fat burn slows down metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories). This in turn starts to gather up fat deposits in unwanted places. Which then further changes the chemistry in your blood. Stress also deprives a person of sleep, either produce the urge to eat more or eat very little, both of which again create stress within the system and the cycle starts all over again. Add to this poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, trying to juggle too many things at one time, and overextending yourself with no rest. Now that’s a super stressful and toxic mix. No wonder we have piled on the pounds and they won’t come up. We are literally geared up for a fight with high stores of fat for something the body feels it needs to do in order to save itself.
What I am trying to establish here is simple. We are living in a war zone for the past year and for many years prior to that. Our minds are inundated with scary life and death situation information 24/7. Our bodies, not knowing the difference, are in a constant fight or flight response, producing cortisol and adrenaline to fight off danger when we are actually sitting on the couch consuming the news on TV. All of this, day after day results in adrenal fatigue, exhaustion, low energy, mood swings, loss of appetite, binge eating, poor sleep or insomnia or oversleeping (to compensate), weight gain, and inability to lose weight.
Phew. That’s a LOT going on inside that doesn’t look like much on the outside and you are wondering why the weight won’t come off. This is of course under the circumstances that you do not have any other predisposition to any genetic or environment-related illnesses, syndromes, or disorders. This is just under what we now consider the “new normal”. Nothing normal about it. It’s a full-blown crisis.
So what is the way out?
You will need to seriously manage yourself now. Where you had to manage just your life and family, finances, etc. Your entire focus needs to turn inwards. Towards yourself. If you have been desperately trying to control everything, that can be one of the most stressed-out things you can do. Control gives us a false sense of safety.
Need to control ——–>> Need to Let Go
Need to Stress ——–>> Need to Relax
These are the only two things you need to do. The Relaxation Response turns everything around. It undoes what stress does to you. It detoxes the way you think about things and how you approach any crisis. You needn’t become part of any crisis, you can still choose to stand outside it and not let it touch you, while you also deal with it at the same time.
There are simple ways to the Relaxation Response which I have outlined in my latest FREE EBook, 10 Days to Stress-Reducing Diet. You can download it here. Read it, follow it, and share it with people you love.
Foods that Reduce Stress + Mindfulness + Self Care + Simple old-fashioned daily habits = happy healthy body and mind.
Within these 10 days, you will start to lay a blueprint for a new way of living. This is a template you have before you exercise or eat the right foods. Add that into this mix and you start to create a new mind and body that flourishes in any crisis.
Meanwhile, do head to my Instagram account,@aditinirvaan. I do videos and posts on this kinda stuff a lot lately and I hope to know from you what else I can do for you.
In these times, people can be our greatest support and strength.