Last week I decided to take some much needed R&R time for myself. The last few months have been a hugely busy time for me, running a new business and easily clocking up 60-70 hours on a regular week, I had turned in to a complete workaholic. With the tell tale signs of my stress levels being at an all time high, I decided to call time out, down tools and RELAAAAAX!
I was suffering with chronic mouth ulcers, sugar cravings, weight gain and an insatiable appetite. For me, these are all symptoms of my stress levels running too high and impacting my body in a very undesirable way.
So, I spent 5 days completely relaxing and restoring my body, using all the best methods I know.
- I turned off all my emails
- Practiced yoga and meditation for 1 hour every morning and evening
- Took long Epsom salt baths and read books
- Went for long walks in nature
- Did adult colouring books
- Spent time with people who make me happy
- I drank herbal bedtime tea and went to bed every night at 10pm
- I didn't even workout once, which for a personal trainer was very hard not to do!
Note: You'll notice that none of these activities involve watching TV or films. Studies have shown that prolonged periods (more than 20 minutes) of sitting and watching TV actually drains us of energy, rather than relaxing and restoring us.
So what does all this have to do with weight loss?
I'll tell you why...
All the activities I listed above nurtured my parasympathetic nervous system and shut down my sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is what we know as our 'fight or flight response' and when over stimulated will release stress hormones - cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Too much of these hormones causes the exact symptoms I mentioned above - sugar cravings, increased appetite and weight gain. The parasympathetic system does the exact opposite, and is responsible for 'resting' the body.
So what happened to me?
By end of day 1, I was starting to switch off my busy mind and was feeling nicely relaxed.
By day 2 I was feeling totally zenned out already.
By day 3 I noticed my sugar cravings had gone and my appetite had reduced dramatically, which naturally led to me eating more of the right foods, and less of them.
By day 4 my tummy was visibly flatter and all my bloating had disappeared. Ulcers gone.
By day 5 I felt totally revived, energised and amazing.
Day 6 and back at work. Stepping on the scales, I had lost 1kg (or 2lbs) without any dieting and gruelling workouts. I simply rested and restored my body back to a natural state. And that is the power of relaxation if your struggling with sugar cravings, appetite and stubborn fat around the tummy.
How can this work for you?
It's not realistic to expect everyone to do what I did, but taking time each day to incorporate just one or two of these things in your life can make a big difference over time. And stress reduction isn't a quick fix, it's a journey which needs constant attention and monitoring. But if you're not factoring in stress reduction to your weight loss programme, you are missing out on some awesome tricks.