Have you ever wondered why after a very long day at work or a particularly stressful experience, you find yourself opening your fridge door over and over? You may have been faithfully sticking to your meal plan. When life comes at you and bang just like that, you are craving all sorts of foods you set down weeks ago.
Well, a recent Ohio State study found that you burn less calories when under stress compared to someone who is eating the same thing but is not stressed out. The study was performed on a group of 58 women, whose average age was 53. After the same meal they were asked to fast. Their measured metabolic rate was compared between those who reported being under stress 24 hours before, against those who had not. What the Clinical Research Center demonstrated is that participants that expressed being under stress burned 104 fewer calories than the others who did not. What the research estimates is that this type of stress can add up to 11 pounds a year.
So now what? How are we to take care of ourselves, our families and avoid stress? For some the type of work they do outside the home is stressful by nature. Or what happens when problems come one after the other, what then?
Well, we need to start by doing some sort of exercise every day and it need not be anything outrageous. Just the routine of walking can help reduce stress and help us get the restorative sleep we need at night.
Some other things we can do to reduce our stress, is to have a good support system around us. Learn to share what’s bothering you. Keeping our emotions bottled up is a sure way to raise our stress level.
Take time to just laugh, it is one of the best ways to melt stress. Watch your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine can prevent you from relaxing. Replace some of those coffee breaks with decaffeinated teas and make it a daily ritual.
Spending time relaxing, unwinding is imperative. For me prayer and meditation on God’s word helps in releasing my stress.
What this study did for me was confirm what’s obvious to many of us. However, knowing that we must take measures to reduce our stress to avoid weight gain or stalls is key.