Relax to lose weight? Could it really be as simple as that? Should Weight Watchers try to relax more to lose weight?
The more I practice yoga, study mind-body medicine, and learn about the negative effects of stress, the more convinced I become. And the science is beginning to pile up. (Do You Want to Lose Weight? Learn to Relax)
Have you ever taken a vacation where you indulged more than usual and lost weight? I have. And so have my friends. They ate more, drank more and either lost weight or maintained their weight.
Ask your family and friends if they have ever lost weight on vacation. I bet someone will have a story to share about living it up and losing weight.
Why is Relaxing Important for Weight Loss?
Stress is a major contributor to our struggles with weight.
We are in a chronic state of overload with too much to do, over-scheduled days, information coming at us via email, voicemail, television, and the internet. We are overwhelmed.
When we take a vacation we get out of the chronic stress mode of everyday life and we relax. The stress hormones stop pumping and our parasympathetic nervous system kicks in causing a relaxation response that is much more conducive to optimal digestion and metabolism. We make our bodies happy and they respond positively.
I experienced this when I took my first trip to France. It was a weeklong culinary focused exploration of Paris. I ate croissants for breakfast and indulged in all variety of wonderful food - cheese, bread, wine, chocolate, cassoulet and crepes. I didn't deny myself anything. I was happy, exploring a beautiful city with a fun group of people and completely relaxed. I came home 3 pounds slimmer! It was liked I'd died and gone to heaven.
Clinical studies back up the connection between increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, insulin and fat accumulation. And when you are stressed it is common to crave highly refined carbohydrate snacks which only magnifies the problem.
How can we translate this information into everyday life if more vacations aren't a practical solution?
If you are living your life in the fast lane while trying to lose weight, it is time to think about ways to slow down and relax. It is probably one of the most difficult things to contemplate but the health and weight benefits are worth it. Here are three easy ways to relax that could lead to weight loss.
3 Simple Ways to Relax
1. Stop several times during the day and take several deep breaths. It is a quick effective way to induce your body's relaxation mechanisms.
2. Try meditation or yoga. Just 10 -15 minutes a day can make a big difference. Both are proven stress busters.
3. Take a time out to focus on all the blessings in your life. It is virtually impossible to feel stressed when you are focusing on the positive!
Do you have another favorite healthy way to relax and unwind? Take time to engage in it as often as you can. The more you can relax in your life, the easier it will be to lose weight. How wonderful is that?
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