When you first began your weight loss plan, you probably spent a lot of time learning about healthy nutrition and making meal plans. You may have joined a gym or created a workout routine. But after all that hard work, you may not be seeing the results you wanted. Why? It’s possible that stressing out over your results is actually impeding your progress toward your goals.

When you’re under stress, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This is a helpful adaptation in times of famine or war, because it causes your fat cells to bulk up and retain their mass. It also slows your metabolism and tells your body to retain water. Not to mention, when we’re stressed we tend to crave comfort foods and make poor nutritional choices. In other words, stress makes you likely to gain weight, particularly around the midsection.

But in modern life, this adaptation doesn’t serve us too well. In times of peace and prosperity, we generally have ready access to food from the supermarket right down the street. Our stress comes from other life factors, like busy schedules, raising a family, and career demands. So we hardly need excess abdominal fat to deal with all of that! Yet, our bodies are programmed by nature, so this causes a complication for those of us who live high-stress lives but want to lose weight.

In order to support your weight loss goals, it’s important to find ways to combat stress. Some popular methods include

  • deep breathing or guided relaxation
  • simplifying your daily schedule
  • learning to say no to extra demands
  • wearing headphones and listening to soothing nature sounds
  • professional counseling

The above methods are just some ideas, and you may need to experiment to find out what works for you. Make dealing with stress a priority just as you would meal planning and exercise, and you will get your weight loss plan back on track.