There is more than one reason to take it easy on occasion. Hormones play a massive role in your ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Acute (short term and high intensity) stress will lower your appetite, increase your metabolism, and increase your cognitive function. Chronic (longer term and moderate intensity) stress will cause you to store fat easily, disrupt your sleep, and impair your cognitive function.
The main hormone responsible for both responses to stress is cortisol.
In small doses, cortisol will trigger short bursts of energy, increase memory function, and increase immunity.
In long, sustained doses, cortisol can impair brain function, suppress the thyroid (which regulates metabolism), disrupt blood sugar balance, decrease bone density and muscle tissue. This usually leads to a simultaneous increase in abdominal fat, which increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Studies also show that people with high cortisol levels eat more, and more of what they eat is carbohydrate. This will also increase their fat-storing ability.
It is possible to manipulate your cortisol levels increase your well-being, weight loss, and longevity.
10 Top Tips for Keeping Cortisol in Balance:
1. Stress less! Learn stress management techniques. See http://www.stressmanagement.com.au/ for more information and tools.
2. Meditation - Holosync CD’s use sound tones to assist you in achieving a greater meditative state than experienced practitioners achieve. Go to http://www.centerpointe.com/ and get your free trial CD.
5. Deep breathing techniques.
6. Keep exercise sessions short, infrequent, and very hard - less than 25 minutes is ideal, with your heart rate regularly pushing over 85% of your max (you do not have to sustain it over there. Stop-start techniques such as intervals are useful). Galileo Personal Training at Brookvale specialise in 30 minute sessions. Go to http://www.galileopt.com.au for more information.
7. Exercise only when you’re healthy (REST when you’re sick or tired!!)
8. Make exercise fun! Get outside and do something you enjoy!
9. Take time to stretch or unwind after any exercise session, major deadline, or stressful event. Simply lying still (with a quiet mind) for a couple of minutes is enough to reduce your cortisol.
10. Vibrate your hormones into balance! Studies show that vibration training can reduce your cortisol levels after only a 11 minute stretch and massage session. You try this for free at http://www.galileopt.com.au or buy one for yourself at http://www.powerplate.com.au . Sessions performed on the vibration plate also increase the release of Serotonin, the “happy” hormone.
You can manipulate your hormones by your state of mind and behaviour. Take control, and give yourself the best chance of success.