What’s the biggest barrier standing in between you and successful medical weight loss? No, it isn’t overeating, motivation issues or even low self-esteem. Stress is an ever-present threat to our mental and physical health that can cause all of these things.
Stress can ruin our resolve to lose weight. It can give us sleepless nights and anxious days, or it can lead to high blood pressure and harmful habits. When we’re stressed out, increased levels of the hormone cortisol cause our bodies to naturally crave foods that are high in sugar and fat, then store this excess fat around our waistlines in unflattering belly flab. During your medical weight loss program, you’ll learn all sorts of ways to improve your health with proper diet and regular exercise, but learning how to manage stress will help you keep your whole life healthy and happy for years to come.
Our modern lives are full of stressful factors. But whatever’s making you anxious—work responsibilities, duties at home, your weight loss progress—stress is something you can overcome. There are tons of different therapies to reduce stress, including treatments like acupuncture, but you can also do many things on your own to reduce stress and stay on the path to successful weight loss.
Ready to banish stress from your daily life? Try these three simple methods of relaxation:
- Take a breath. Breathing is such an automatic function of our bodies that we often don’t take the time to notice it, but focusing more on how you breathe can be a huge help in reducing stress. Sit in a relaxed position, close your eyes and take ten deep breaths, filling your lungs to their limit each time before exhaling slowly. Focus on voiding your mind of all worries and troubles, instead paying attention exclusively to your breathing. With each progressive breath, you’ll feel your muscles relax and tensions dissolve.
- Relax your muscles. Stay in the relaxed position of your deep breathing exercise and get ready for progressive muscular relaxation (PMR), another easy method of tension relief you can do at home. To begin, sit comfortably with eyes closed and tighten one group of muscles as much as you can. Try starting with your fists—clench them and hold the tension for a couple seconds, then let the muscles relax. As you release the tension, focus on relaxing the muscles as much as you can, sinking into the soft comfort of completely loose muscles, then move on to the next muscle group. You can do this for your entire body in less than 20 minutes. Try combining PMR with deep breathing for a relaxation double whammy.
- Play some meditative music. Music can affect us in profound ways. Though an energetic track may be just what you need to power through a workout, a soothing track can have opposite effect. Next time you’re feeling anxious, try listening to one of your favorite tracks, preferably something slow and calming. If you make a playlist or mix CD of some of your most beloved chill-out songs, you’ll have a go-to relaxation tool whenever you need it most.
Stress is a reality we all have to face in this modern, fast-moving world, but you don’t have to live with the pain and anxiety it causes! Give these easy relaxation strategies a shot during your medical weight management program and you’ll make it easier to stay on track towards your goal.