When the body is chronically stressed, it pushes back against this by doing a number of things and one of those things is storing fat.
Fat is fuel. It's a good thing. In fact we NEED fat!
It’s a resource. I know we don’t always love the look of it, but it does have a purpose and if your body is storing larger and larger volutes of it, that’s because your body thinks that it needs it.
When you are mentally, emotionally, or physically stressed the body is like, “Wait, what’s happening? I need to stockpile emergency rations! Something is wrong.”
Your body is designed to keep you ALIVE, not to bend to whatever aesthetic goals that you have for it.
If your body is uncomfortable and senses that are you are in distress, the only thing that it can do to help you is to save energy in the form of fat.
This energy can then be used by your muscles, your brain cells, whatever cells in your body that are going to be potentially doing some extra work, the energy will be there for it.
And here’s the thing, serial dieting, lack of sleep, gut distress, histories of under-eating or eating chemically-laden processed food, these are all stressors.
The body responds to these activities, these signals with cravings and the hormonal environment necessary to store fat AND to keep telling your body that it's hungry.
So if you want to lose fat, you definitely need to move your body and you definitely need to start choosing good nutrition (most of the time), but your progress is going to be slow-going if you don’t ALSO deal with your stress.
You have to tell you body that everything is ok.
How do we do this?
We change our lifestyles and when we can NOT change things, we change our response to them.
I know, a lot easier said than done, but we really have no choice.
This process can be imperfect.
It will take some time, but it's a direction work moving in.
We also have to understand that IF the body has been stressed for a while, then it’s going to take some time for it to finally believe you that the stress is gone and release those fat-stores that it’s been holding on to.
So you have to be little patient with it, which is why you REALLY want to cultivate a lifestyle that not only moves you closer to your physique goals,but ALSO one that makes you feel better.
One that makes you content and happy.
So what do we do?
Exercise just enough, but not too much.
Eat loads of protein and vegetables and not a lot of processed foods.
Sleep, meditate, pray, relax.
Change what you can in your life to alleviate stress **there’s almost always some action that you CAN take.
Take risks, move out of that comfort zone, your health depends on it!
Think of leisure time with friends and family or alone as just as important for your fat-loss goals as is your exercise.
Your metabolism is basically a stubborn mule, actually pig, I have more experience with stubborn pigs.
You will not get a pig to budge by using lots of force or threats.
Trust me, I know. This novice pig farmer has tried to move one many a times.
You have to make it feel safe and gently coax it into doing what you want it to do and when it feels safe, not stressed, then it will acquiesce.
Realize that your body needs a consistent supply of nutrition to feel comfortable letting go of it's fat stores.
Not only does this mean eating nutritionally dense foods like pastured eggs, leafy greens, grass-fed meats and organ meats and good quality fats, it also means supporting the gut and the brain with prebiotics.
Screentime is fine in moderation, but lots of time on the phone or watching the TV/Netflix will negatively impact sleep and can cause cravings.
PLUS, if you're watching a screen, then that usually means that you’re not moving, which is what the body really really needs.
Walking 10-15K steps a day will DRAMATICALLY reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome.
We know that spending time in nature positively impacts our sleep habits, stress levels, gut health, posture and mental health!
If you want to learn more about healing your metabolism and gently letting it know that it's time to start reducing fat stores, then sign up here to receive my Five Day Metabolism School : Metabolism and Movement Memos
Starting August 7th, for five days, each day you will receive an email memo on one aspect of healing the metabolism to support fat-loss, complete with some manageable action steps for you to begin to work on!
It's free, easy-to-understand and a great way to get started on working towards healing your body and cultivating a new metabolism-healing lifestyle!
I'm Sarah. I'm a personal trainer and lifestyle coach. I help clients build strength, confidence, capability in their bodies and their lives.
I'm also a mom of 3 raucous boys, a small scale farmer and soil scientist living in Raleigh, North Carolina.