Stress less = Weigh Less

Stress can actually hinder your weight loss

stress less weigh less

A looming deadline, an upcoming dentist appointment, carting kids around from pre-school to the pool to a play date… all (and more) can put stresses on you that diminish your motivation and morale—and your weight loss efforts. But these tips will help you stay on track.

De-stressing 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 10 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. When you’re relaxed, you're literally putting yourself in the mode of positive thinking.

 

Reveling in feel-good and proud moments can also help you stay true to your weight loss vows, three recent studies found. In each, dieters agreed to make lifestyle changes, but only half of them got instructions on how to use affirmations—phrases or statements to focus on or say out loud to encourage themselves. Examples: “Each morning, think of something that makes you feel good—playing with your dog, finding a bonus in your paycheck, singing your favorite song (even if it’s only to yourself)—and continue to recall that pleasure throughout the day.” Or: “If you hit a block in your weight-loss efforts—you’re getting bored cooking at home, or you don’t like walking in the cold—think of a time of pride, such as your wedding day, your graduation, or the birth of your children.” After a year, those who practiced affirmations walked an average of 3.4 more miles a week and burned more calories than a group of dieters who didn’t use affirmations. “Recalling accomplishments empowers you to confront challenges,” explains researcher Mary E. Charlson, M.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

 

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