How doing less, could make you lose more.
When it comes to losing weight, could doing less really help you lose more?
Believe it or not, sometimes the enemy of weight loss is overtraining. That’s right, what we are about to tell you may well be – “Do less and lose more!” As always there is a BUT though!
So how does this crazy theory work?
Let’s start with the “but”. Our individual physiology behavior deeply affects the way we store body fat. So, if you are reading this as someone that is constantly relaxed about life and believe in a mantra of “slow and steady wins the race” then you can probably just look away now. For all you stress heads out there though, take heed.
Stressed? Living at 100 miles an hour? Training every day? But not losing weight? Read on…
If you answered yes to all these questions, then one word (or specifically chemical) might be the key to learning how to lose weight. But what is this magic word? Well, it is Cortisol.
What is Cortisol and how does it affect your ability to lose weight?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism, the immune response and importantly in the context of this blog, in helping the body respond to stress.
When we are stressed, we call on Cortisol to raise our blood sugar levels in anticipation of a ‘fight or flight’ response. In preparing for this response, we need to be able to quickly turn energy into action so we can think and act effectively. But what’s this got to do with our weight?
Well, if we are constantly on the go, or get ourselves unnecessarily worked up, we constantly produce Cortisol. However, if we don’t then affect a response all that blood sugar that builds up in our bodies converts to fat! Imagine that, putting on weight without eating and drinking, but just because we are stressing ourselves out!
Now, here’s the sting. One of the ways we are told to reduce stress is to exercise, which is fine, but guess what? Aerobic exercise encourages us to release Cortisol as we call on the body to raise our blood sugar. And if you are prone to stress, then it is highly likely that your physiology will lead to an over production of Cortisol during aerobic exercise.
So how can we reduce our Cortisol production to help reduce our weight loss?
A good start is to try and take a deep breath before stressful situations and rationalize your options before you need to make a decision. By slowing down and taking stock you will be less likely to produce this weight inducing hormone and probably be a whole lot happier in general.
If you manage to master your mind and slow down your decision making, it’s then time to teach yourself to slow down in general. Walk a little slower, give yourself a little more time to complete tasks and be more realistic about what is achievable in a day. Living life at 100 miles an hour won’t help you in the long run. Guaranteed!
Finally, if you are trying to run off your stress but aren’t losing weight, then consider some slow exercise, like yoga, tai chi or pilates, upping your anaerobic training or even just training less, and use the time to meditate.
We know this may sound crazy, but you can’t argue with the science behind it. Doing less really can help you achieve more! But remember, if you are going to change up your training regime and include some new exercises, make sure you wrap up and protect your muscles and joints to avoid injury, which if you found this blog useful we know will stress you out! And you know what that means now… Cortisol.
So compress for success and de-stress!