So you decide that it’s time to shed a few kilos and start a diet. After struggling to decide between the lemon water diet, the Atkins diet, a paleo diet or the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, you finally commit to one and begin your process.
It’s tough but you push yourself through it. To speed up the process you book yourself in with the best personal trainer in the area and after being yelled at “there’s no pain with no gain” and to "give it 110%” you feel you are getting somewhere.
Then comes the telling time- scale time! "Oh crikey…how is this possible? I haven’t even lost any weight!"
Sounds impossible right, but it can actually happen and there’s a very good reason for this. I’ve seen many students in the past come to me complaining of stress and poor health. They complain that they have tried everything from diets to personal trainers, yet they can’t seem to get their health in order or lose that excess weight around the gut.
However in a matter of weeks after starting their meditation course and doing less strenuous training, they have managed to shed more weight than when they were dieting and turning up to heavy personal training sessions.
When we are stressed, we function in a state known as fight/flight, or sympathetic nervous system mode. In this state, our body does some remarkable things. For instance:
- It stores fat because when you are running from a marauding tribe for days there will be no time to stop for food.
- Your blood thickens to prevent it gushing out of you in case you are bitten or stabbed.
- It releases high levels of glucose into the blood for energy
- It changes the breathing to increase the intake of oxygen
- It produces the biochemical’s cortisol and adrenalin into your system
These are just some the changes that occur when you are stressed, and all just because you have a deadline at work. When we add to this already stressed state, extreme physical exertion from a personal trainer at 7am, and reduced food intake from our diet, our body interprets this as even more of a stress state and increases the fight/flight response. Yes, your mind knows that you are with a top personal trainer that you are paying $100 an hour for and you are on some trendy diet, but all your body knows is its hungry, tired, and in an extreme physical state…. READ STRESS!
You may have heard the mantra “Do Less Achieve More”? Well this can certainly be relevant when it comes to your diet. For some people the more we diet and workout, the harder it can be to lose weight simply because they have failed to address the high levels of stress in their life. When the stress dissolves the body no longer feels compelled to store fat and regulates blood sugar levels among other things.
If you would like to reduce stress, it has been scientifically proven that meditation will help. It reverse the effects of fight/flight and restores balance in the rest and digest state known as parasympathetic nervous system. Here is a simple meditation that you can do for 5 minutes at a time in a quiet space or on your way home from work:
- Sit comfortably in a chair
- Close your eyes
- Observe the natural breath moving in and out through your nostrils
- As the mind drifts away, bring it back to the centre of it moving through your nostrils
- After five minutes or longer, you can open your eyes
See how you go with this as a start to reducing stress and perhaps leading to a healthier, happier life… PLUS you can go back to eating regularly and not get yelled at first thing in the morning.