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Weight Loss | Relax and Lose Weight

From the Fitness & Wellness After Hysterectomy Articles List

Relax! It helps with weight lossI heard somewhere that stress induces weight gain. Is that true?

Yes! This doesn't mean you can plop down in your recliner and expect to drop the pounds, but it does mean that reducing stress in your life will also help you lose weight. Actually, the tip is to lower cortisol. The stress hormone cortisol increases appetite and pumps out the command to want sweets and simple carbs—the foods that make insulin spike and then plummet—which leaves you hungrier than ever and messes up your cholesterol. The cortisol "stress fat" goes right to your belly, too. It increases a lot with depression. Some people are more likely to pump out cortisol than others. If you eat more when under stress or feeling blue, you're probably one of them. So this tip might really help you.

Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone, so exercise helps; pumping iron is like "fight" and aerobic exercise is like "flight.” So a little of both helps to turn that appetite for carbs off and burn off that belly. Studies suggest that early morning is the best time to exercise to use cortisol and lower it.

Here's the part about relaxing to lose weight: Yoga, meditation or tai chi are ways to lower cortisol levels. If those are too complicated, you can achieve some of the same effect by simply breathing deeply and slowly through your nose while repeating a soothing word like "peace." You can even lower your cortisol levels with a massage, laughter, or good sex.

Other sleep and eating habits effect cortisol levels too. Lack of sleep causes cortisol levels to soar, and eating small meals throughout the day, as opposed to three large ones, helps keep cortisol levels down.

So, to sum up:
  • Lift weights and do aerobic exercise.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning.
  • Try yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques.
  • Laugh, have fun, get a massage, pamper the princess.
  • Spread calories throughout the day.
  • Get eight hours of sleep.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

07-17-2003 - 02:42 PM


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