We are more stressed and more obese than ever before. Joy Martina explains the link between the two and discusses how reducing stress can help you lose weight.
We are a culture of busy bees. Even as children we are encouraged to be active, productive and purposeful: going the extra mile is rewarded and laziness is generally frowned upon. We work hard, play little and free time has become a luxury we dream of having more of.
As we move into adulthood and our responsibilities and financial needs become more and more demanding, our general stress levels rise and our health suffers. In this article, I will show you how these stress levels have contributed to our current obesity crises and give 5 tips to help you de-stress and lose weight.
There is just so much to do and keep up with!
Jobs are scarce, life is expensive and competition is high! Add a family and children into the equation and you certainly know what it’s like to be a busy beaver. Not only do you have yourself to care for but you must also consider the needs of your loved ones. However, as a species, we learn to adapt so we create products that help us cope with the various stresses and ailments of our busy lifestyle. In particular, the food and pharmaceutical industries have an enormous variety of quick fixes on offer. Ready-made meals, snacks and pills for every common ailment are readily available at most supermarkets.
- Feeling peckish at midnight? No worries! There is bound to be a fast-food joint nearby.
- Feeling low in energy? Take an energy-boosting pill.
- Can’t fall asleep at night? We have pills for that too.
- Need to shed some weight? Get the latest diet meal, drink or pill and we’ll get you sorted.
Now most of us know in our heart of hearts that just treating the symptoms without dealing with the cause, is not the ideal way to go. But since we are bombarded with clever marketing day in and day out it is tempting to reach for these advertised quick fixes – even if they don’t really work and often get us addicted.
Stuck in a vicious stress cycle
The more pressure we face, the more stressed we get, the more we feel the need to be even busier and get even more things done thus increasing our stress levels. It’s easy to get stuck in this vicious cycle and become overwhelmed and then, it’s only a matter of time until we start showing symptoms of chronic stress such as:
- Weight gain
- Frequent headaches
- Body aches or tension
- Restlessness, such as tapping your foot or hand
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Increased sweating
- Insomnia, nightmares, sleepwalking, or disturbed sleep
- Frequent illnesses
- Decreased interest in sex, sexual arousal problems, reduced fertility
- Mood swings, difficulties with concentration, decision-making and memory
If you are regularly experiencing more than two of these symptoms, it is vital you find effective ways of reducing your stress levels.
Our kids are stressed
But we are not taught how to deal with stress. While we teach children how to be more productive and efficient, we do not teach them ways to relax and de-stress. It saddens me to see primary school children already showing symptoms of stress and hyperactivity. According to several new studies, average kids today are more stressed and anxious than children of the same age who were treated for a variety of psychiatric issues in previous generations.
In our attempt to create high achievers we tend to only focus on test results and exam scores. We forget that we are also dealing with very emotional human beings. If only we would educate our children in matters of their psyche and how to deal with their emotional state, we could save them a good deal of unnecessary suffering, they would be less stressed and perform better at school. It’s time we adapted our educational system to the needs of the 21st century and, luckily there are some schools that have realized this. Interestingly, schools where kids are encouraged to nap at lunchtime, are taught ways of relaxation, and emotional management boast happier pupils and high test scores.
The Art of the Cat Nap
But of course, it’s not just children who need to relax, adults would also greatly benefit from some regular time out. Companies that promote power naps are shown to have less sick leave, higher productivity and more motivated employees. Just 20 minutes of power napping can have a great positive effect on health, vitality and weight.
You see, if we lack sleep and/or are stressed, we tend to overeat. Most people gain weight when they are stressed because, when we are stressed, we are more likely to opt for industrially processed food (junk food), foods that are high in sugar, salt, fat and carbohydrates (i.e. doughnuts, ice cream, cake, deep-fried foods). Additionally, in this tired, stressed state we will be prone to eating too fast and in a distracted way, which automatically leads to overeating. So once you learn how to handle stress effectively, it is also much easier to make healthier food choices. The key is, learning how to manage your stress levels. Here are some tips that might help.
5 Tips to De-Stress and Lose Weight
The key to de-stressing is to recognize when you are falling into the trap of chronic stress and know how to help yourself – without popping pills! It’s tricky so here are some things you can do:
- Take breaks, indulge in power naps and celebrate timeouts
Just 15-20 minutes of daytime rest will boost your vitality and creativity, improve your memory, strengthen your immune system and help you lose weight. If you listen to a guided meditation or subliminal affirmations, you can even train your brain at the same time. You can learn more about this effect here.
- Teach your children the art of relaxation
Children are quick learners and will greatly benefit from learning to relax at an early age. Especially in our society of constant stimulation and distraction (video and online games, tv etc.), being able to do “nothing” (some call it meditation) is an essential skill, which improves focus and concentration.
- Tap your stress point
This acupressure point (it is located in that little dent above your lip and under your nose) goes back to the ancient Chinese science of Acupuncture and has been proven to promote health for centuries. Whenever you feel overwhelmed (and tempted to reach for an unhealthy snack), tap this acupressure point and take a few deep breaths. Watch a free video demonstration here.
- Tap your stress point with your kids!
Share this trick with them, so they can do it whenever they feel stressed or anxious, especially before exams and they’ll notice the calming effect of this exercise. And the added benefit of tips #3 and #4 is that the less stressed your kids are, the less stressed you will be!
- Drink a glass of water and breathe!
Often, we confuse emotional stress and dehydration with hunger. Avoid eating the empty, fat-promoting calories of processed snacks like high-sugar granola bars, muffins, and chips by drinking lots of water and taking some full, deep breaths. Research has shown that the more stressed we get, the shallower our breathing gets. So next time you think you feel hungry before you reach for a snack: take at least 3 deep breaths and drink a big glass of water. Wait a few minutes and then decide if you really need to eat.
We encourage you to follow the above tips for 3 weeks and look forward to hearing about the changes you notice! Please join our Facebook group to let us know! Subscribe to our blog for more tips on healthy weight management and personal development.
24th November 2014
JOY AND ROY MARTINA are amongst the world’s leaders in helping people get back into their power. Joy Martina is a Rapid Change Coach, the creator of the Christallin Oracle Training, a master hypnotist, a trainer of trainers and a co-author of six books. World-renowned holistic medical doctor and European thought leader Roy Martina M.D. is the creator of the Omega Healing Method and author of over 70 books (currently translated into more than 10 languages) including the international #1 bestseller Emotional Balance (Hay House). For nearly three decades, he has trained over 250,000 people worldwide, including doctors, professors, therapists, coaches and managers. Both Joy and Roy are passionate about health, longevity and fitness. They say, “We are health food lovers, exercise maniacs, happiness addicts and never go to bed angry or stressed.” Together, they have co-created a groundbreaking approach to weight loss called ‘Sleep Your Fat Away’. Their comprehensive, step-by-step guidebook entitled Sleep Your Fat Away (Morgan James) is coming to Amazon in April 2015.