Less Stress = More Weight Loss!

Is a stress-filled life your “normal”? Our experts advise that lowering stress can help you whittle off weight. Here, easy ways to destress.

less stress more weight loss

Think “doable”
You don’t want to add more stress to your life. For example, if you typically walk into the house after work and everyone wants a part of you, take five to transition between work and home. Sit in the car and listen to music, meditate, or play a game on your smart phone. Then, take a deep breath before you walk through the door so that you can be ready to face whatever and whoever is waiting for you.

Connect with yourself
When you’re stressed, take five again—five seconds— before digging into the triple chocolate chip ice cream. “Ask yourself what’s going on and if there’s anything else you could do besides eat,” says Melissa McCreery, Ph.D., founder of the site toomuchonherplate.com, which explores how women’s busy lives contribute to emotional eating and weight gain . Make a list of small breaks that don’t involve chewing: calling a friend, throwing in a load of wash, tossing a toy for your dog. Destressing from everyday work and life issues can be a powerful psychological way to help keep your motivation on target. A study at Oregon Health and Science University found that overweight women who performed relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga lost an average of ten pounds in a year and a half. And here’s the clincher: They weren’t even consciously dieting. “We suspect that these techniques helped serve as a buffer to stress, so the women were less likely to overeat,” says study author Anne Nebrow, M.D.

Say it out loud
Greek researchers found that people who are trying to learn a new skill do better when they speak to themselves using cue words. When you’re stressed, voicing your plan to do something other than eat—“I’m going to sit down and read for five minutes”—will change the direction of your thoughts, taking you off autopilot and putting you more in control, says McCreery.

If that doesn’t work, instead of blaming yourself, be curious
Think about what caused you to grab that candy bar, and what you could do differently next time to either keep from problem solving with food or to avoid the situation entirely.

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