Yesterday I heard a TV news report about how lowering your stress levels can help you lose weight, or keep the excess weight off.  Here are my suggestions about this subject.

In order to examine this issue, we need ot go back in our evolutionary history.  Way back. About one hundred thousand years ago, our ancestors were as much hunted as they were hunters.  This situation continued until the invention of agriculture about ten thousand years ago.  Since then, we have slowly evolved our lifestyles to be what it is today.

So, when we are in a stressful situation, our body goes into its fight or flight response.  The main goal of this fight or flight response is survival.  Above all else.  Part of this fight or flight response is the body's release of a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol is the body's stress hormone.  Its function is to break down muscle tissue into its protein building blocks, called amino acids.  These amino acids are pumped into the bloodstream in a fight or flight response situation.  The reason for this is that should we be injured or cut, the body will need to go into repair mode to injure the wounds.  And the amino acids from the breakdown of muscle tissue are used as the bulding blocks to repair our body's wounds suffered from a fight. 

So, you may ask, how does breaking down muscle tissue make me fat?  Here's how:  When that muscle tissue is broken down by cortisol released by stress, it circulates in the bloodstream. When there is no wound to repair, and no extra energy expenditure of these nutrients in the bloodstream, the amino acids and accompanying carbohydrates are redeposited as fat!  So, we don't want this.

So, the lesson of this is to keep the levels of the stress hormone cortisol to the lowest levels we can.  Even excessive exercise releases cortisol.  So it is my recommendation to keep your workouts to less than half an hour.  Even better, 20 minutes or less.

When we undergo stress from work or other sources, our bodies release cortisol.  It is important to do something preferably before, during, and after work to release this stress.  And exercise and stretching is the best way to do this.  But as I said above, not too much.

So, when we undergo long periods of elevated stress levels, our bodies release elevated levels of cortisol for long periods of time.  That is why too much stress makes you fat.  Even stress from hard work.

I suggest you find a way to unwind every day from work related stress.  A good way to do this is to visit our sandbag workouts page and read our fitness strategy and find something to do for exercise you both like and can do with your work schedule.  Also, find a way to play, no matter how old you are.  It may only be walking your dog.  I do that every day and swear by it.  Should you need workout sandbags, we can help you with that.  Find a way short of drinking to release your stress.  You will be happier, slimmer, and live longer.  Here's to your health.