How Stress Can Make You Fat

If you are like most people you’ve probably gone through difficult periods in your life, if you have, you may have noticed that you put on weight, even if you were actually eating less. The fact is that stress can make you fat.

Here’s Why…

Research scientists have discovered that the hormone cortisol, loves stress and basically the main job of cortisol is to degrade your muscles and cause you to put on weight. It is impossible to stop cortisol from being released from your body and it would be unwise to do so. However there are a few things that you can do to help keep cortisol levels in check and under control.

So What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol is actually released from the pituitary gland in the brain; its primary role is to help regulate your blood pressure. So when you get stressed, cortisol is released in large levels to help keep your blood pressure under check. The bad thing however is that is also breaks down protein and converts it into fat. It does so by breaking down the protein to amino acids, these are then broken down to give you energy. The problem is, if you are stressed over nothing, then you aren’t using the energy, so it gets converted to fat and you lose muscle as well.

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Ways To Control Cortisol Levels

There are a number of ways in which you can control cortisol levels; the easiest is simply by thinking positive and thinking happy thoughts. Don’t forget that stress is physical as well as mental, so if you are overtraining you are putting extra stress on your body and muscles which can induce your body to release more cortisol.

It is quite uncommon for your body not to be able to control cortisol levels or to consistently produce too much. However you can get medicines to help control cortisol levels for people who blame their weight gain on cortisol. But before you try these, give the natural methods a try first as you’ll be much healthier for it. Just relax, chill out or even try yoga or meditation.

It is almost impossible to avoid stress and if you do find yourself stressed don’t stop eating. Eat healthy snacks to provide your body with the energy it needs in these stressful situations, which should help reduce excessive cortisol release. If you maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits you should be able to reduce your stress levels. If you still think that your cortisol levels might be excessively high, speak to your doctor and get a proper consultation.

How Positive Emotions Affect Your Health

Our perception and response to our environment and community plays influences our mindset, behavior, and perception about other people and the world we live in. We can be pessimistic, allowing gloom and negativity to haunt our every waking hour; or we can choose to be optimistic and see our stress and anxiety as normal human reaction to life’s challenges. But there is more to human response to stress and anxiety than just having a “bad day.” Our disposition not only affects our behavior but the state of our health, as well.

Extensive research has shown that people who are are suffering from depression and anxiety are at greater risk of having heart disease and other illnesses. Further studies also proved that people who are under extreme prolonged stress are more susceptible to infections like the flu and the viral cold.

In recent years, researches have reinforced the theory that the human mind plays a major role in influencing the way that our body works. Attitudes and emotions directly impact health and well-being. Being too negative in terms of one’s thoughts or emotions somehow weaken an individual’s immune system, which also confirms the mind-and-body link of health and well-being. The same study showed that people who are more optimistic have a 50% lower risk of untimely death than those who are pessimistic. Aside from a lower risk of premature death, having a positive attitude increases a person’s energy and ability to handle life’s difficulties. Having a positive attitude helps us deal with emotional pain and helps us attain peace, calm, and joy.

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Although we cannot will ourselves to feel positive all the time, a number of techniques can be learned to help us reduce the impact of stress and anxiety. Using relaxation techniques based on Western, Eastern, and other traditional forms of meditation can help us reclaim a positive outlook. These techniques not only alleviate but also prevent psychological problems such as depression, anxiety attacks, aggression, and other stress-related illnesses like chronic pain, tension headaches,and hypertension.

The following are some of the useful methods that promote peace and relaxation:

l Visual Imagery – It involves visualizing oneself in the midst of a soothing and peaceful scene— a forest, a beach, a stream, a lake, or being in the mountains. The important thing is that you visualize a scene that is beautiful and calm. Aside from picturing nature scenes in your head, you could also try recalling a special, happy moment in your life. The practice of visualization slows down the heart rate and breathing patterns.

l Meditation – This requires concentration or focusing one’s thoughts. It is a often referred to as the act of “emptying one’s thoughts of all negative thoughts and emotions.” Meditation helps cultivate calmness and promotes the development of new and fresh insights into a problem and about life itself.

l Exercise – A good relaxation therapy that is mixed with physical exercise is called isometric squeeze technique. This technique is used as part of a systematic desensitization therapy for people who suffer from anxiety and panic disorders. The technique entails the application of alternate tension and relaxation on the body’s 16 different muscle groups.

There are other practical steps towards building a more positive life. These steps include the following:

1. Reduce Stress
2. Get Plenty of Rest
3. Get Organized
4. Exercise
5. Eat Well

By cultivating a more positive attitude and frame of mind, we can overcome life’s many challenges. Having a calm disposition entails the development of a coping mechanism that enables as to face life’s many obstacles and occasional heartaches. Through the application of stress management techniques and a commitment to overcome one’s personal problems, life can be more meaningful, worthwhile, and of course, happy as happy can be.

How Diet Affects Your Sleep

What you eat during the day and evening can affect your sleeping patterns. If your diet consists of a high amount of processed foods you may want to try eating more wholesome products.

You may want to eliminate, reduce, or substitute the amount of sugars, fats, and preservatives from your daily intake of food. This may benefit your ability to fall asleep at night as well as improve your general health.

Eat a well balanced diet by following the recommended daily food allowance.

Make sure you are meeting the daily requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat complex carbohydrates and choose protein that is low in fat. You can also choose healthy meat substitutes, such at tofu and vegetarian burgers.

Become aware of any food allergies that you have and try to avoid them. If your body is allergic to certain foods it may affect the way you think and feel.

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This could be a contributing factor to your sleep problem. Some common food allergies that are known to contribute to insomnia are corn, dairy products, wheat, and chocolate.

Try to schedule your last evening meal at least four hours before bed. Eat a healthy, well balanced meal. Try not to overeat as this may cause you to become tired after your meal.

You want to avoid feeling tired or napping in the early evening hours as this will greatly hinder your ability to fall asleep at bedtime. As well, try to eat enough so that you are not hungry later and find yourself reaching for foods that are high in fat or sugars.

If you find that you are hungry before bed you may find that a small snack an hour or two before bedtime will help. Avoid foods that are high in protein, fats, and sugars.

You should also avoid foods that are too heavy or spicy. Try a bit of cereal and milk or one serving of low-fat yogurt. The key idea is to provide your body with a bit of nourishment to avoid hunger pangs and not overindulge in an evening snack.

The goal is to reduce your hunger and allow your body to rest and relax.

Make sure that you drink enough water during the day. Studies show that your daily recommended water intake should be around 8 glasses, or 2 liters.

If your body is well hydrated it won’t signal you to wake up during the night. Try to avoid drinking water or other liquids one hour before bed if the need to urinate wakes you up during the night.

The healthier you eat the more balanced you will feel both physically and emotionally.

The target here is to get you to sleep regularly and deeply without waking during the night.

Healthy Eating To Cure Insomnia

Not being able to fall asleep is a problem that has plagued almost everyone at some point in their lives. You toss and turn while you watch the clock slowly tick the minutes away. Just as you feel the tug of sleep, you hear the sound of the alarm clock and you have to get up and face your day without any rest.

There are many contributing factors to the problem of insomnia. One of those factors might be what you are eating during the day. Your breakfast, lunch or dinner could be the culprit behind that insomnia. Our bodies absorb certain foods and those foods could be working against your desire to sleep.

Changing our diets is one of the healthiest ways to fix a sleeping problem. Choosing foods that enhance the body’s ability to relax and fall asleep is the most natural cure you can find.

There are foods that naturally work with the body’s chemistry to promote sleep. If you find yourself struggling to get a full night’s rest it might be worth considering adjusting your diet to incorporate some of the foods listed below.

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Fruits – one fruit that seems to have a stronger effect on treating insomnia is lemons.

Breads – any type of bread including muffins and bagels seem to be effective, but whole grain breads are preferable over other types.

Milk – a glass of warm milk has been said to help a person fall asleep and that is true, there is a chemical found in milk that actually promotes sleep.

Everyone’s body chemistry is different. Therefore each individual person has to do their own research into what foods work for them. If having a bowl of strawberries before bed makes you sleepy, than you need to consider that strawberries might be a trigger for you. If however, you have an apple and two hours later you are tossing and turning in bed, the natural sugar in the apple might be the reason you are suffering from insomnia.

A good way to keep track of what foods you are eating and how they impact your sleep pattern is to keep a journal. The premise is simple – you just write down each thing that you eat during the day and the time that you ate it. Then each night you mark down what time you go to bed and after waking jot down a quick note or two on how you slept and how long you slept.

Before long you will probably notice a pattern developing – your body will react to certain foods and after consuming them, you may experience insomnia. At the same time you will see clear patterns developing that tell you what foods are helping you to sleep better. With this knowledge you’ll be able to carefully plan your meals and snacks while taking into consideration what foods you need to avoid and which you should include in your diet so that you get a full and restful night’s sleep.

Healthy Aging and a Good Nights Sleep

As we grow older, we need to stay active to keep our bodies and system in shape. The older a person gets the less our bodies want to function so keeping it in shape is very important for all of us, even the younger people.

Sleeping is very important to all of us as we are aging. Aging brings on a different sleep pattern and we need to learn how to control it so when it is time to sleep we sleep well. It is normal as we age that it becomes harder to get a good nights sleep and feel rested when we wake up. Sleeping is as important as our diet and activities.

Did you know that it is hard for woman to sleep more so than men in their aging years? Women have more tendencies to feel stressed out more and they sometimes are just too busy to get themselves into an exercising routine. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, it will reduce your alertness during the day because you’re tired. Long periods of sleepless nights can cause high blood pressure and isn’t good for the heart either.

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There are many reasons why some people can’t achieve a restful nights sleep. Sometimes you might sleep but it is a light sleep and we need to have a deep restful REM sleep. Sometimes you may awaken during the night from pain perhaps caused from arthritis. Sometimes you may experience heartburn, which causes you to get less sleep. Snoring or feeling depressed sometimes can also cause you to loose sleep. You may have a stressful day followed by the lack of sleep. Muscles spasms can also cause a person to loose sleep.

How you can reduce the problems that cause you to loose sleep:
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can cause us to lose sleep. Try not to drink liquids before going to bed, and stop smoking. Smoking not only harmful to your body but it can cause you to lose sleep. Excessive noise in the house, the TV or radio in the bedroom and snoring are some more reasons that can keep us from sleeping. Don’t try to go to bed and watch TV or listen to the radio; this will only keep you awake longer. You can learn to enjoy exercises to reduce muscles spasms and/or arthritic symptoms. You can also reduce eating unhealthy foods that cause heartburn, or drinking caffeine-based substances before you go to bed to improve your sleeping pattern.

Do you have a pet that sleeps with you? Even though you think they are giving you comfort it could cause you to lose that precious sleep you need. You may not realize it but everytime your pet moves, maybe snores; you can hear this while sleeping. Maybe you might have to get your pet a bed and let him sleep on the floor next to you. If you have allergies, your pet may be the cause, which can make you loose sleep as well.

Napping is not good if you take one during the day for more than 25 minutes. I realize that maybe your not getting enough sleep during the night and you get tired in the afternoon. However, when you lie down during the day and sleep for a long time, when it is time to go to bed, you’ve had just enough sleep that you’re not as tired.

Before you lie down to rest, you should also consider drinking a warm glass of milk. Studies have shown that warm milk helps a person to relax.

Exercise To Relieve Stress And Lose Weight

If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you have probably noticed two things: people are getting heavier, and they are experiencing a lot more stress. It’s hard to imagine that this is a simple coincidence. In fact, a lot of of the complications of obesity and stress are the same. The good news is that there may be a single solution to both problems, and that is exercise. Exercise can help you lose weight by burning calories, and it can also help relieve stress by releasing feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. Let’s look at both of these benefits of exercise in a bit more detail.

The more you weigh, the more physical stress you will put on your body. The question is whether or not that physical stress translates into mental stress. Unfortunately, there is no solid answer to that question yet. However, there is plenty of evidence that losing weight is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. And you can only lose weight by burning more calories than you take in. One way to accomplish this is through exercise. You don’t even have to do that much of it. As few as 30 minutes per day, most days of the week, can start to add up. What you do for exercise isn’t all that important. What counts is that you are getting active and burning off some of those extra calories.

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Exercise can also reduce your level of stress by releasing endorphins. These are chemical that make you feel good, and are responsible for what’s known as “runner’s high”. Endorphins are somewhat similar to morphine, and will help to relieve stress.

When you make exercise a part of your normal routine, the endorphins will be released more often, and you will get the stress-relieving benefits more often, too. This good feeling isn’t just there during the workout, but it can last for several hours after you are finished exercising. There is also something therapeutic about exercise, as it helps you blow of steam. All of those little frustrations you face every day suddenly start to vanish. This beats the alternative of letting all of the frustration build up until you explode in an uncontrollable (and potentially dangerous) fit of rage.

Getting rid of frustration in a healthy manner is so much better than doing other things. Exercise is a natural way to handle stress, so there’s no need to take questionable medications or engage in risky behaviors to forget about your troubles. If you have a lot of stress to get rid of, then have a more intensive workout. On the other hand, if you would just like to have a lower level of stress overall, then regular exercise is a smart choice. It can help you lose weight, relieve stress and be healthier, too.

3 Easy Ways To Relieve Insomnia Starting Tonight

If you are one of the millions of people that are suffering from insomnia, then you should know that there are some things you can do to make it less of a problem. While many turn to prescription medications, they don’t always work and they can have a big impact on your health and your pocketbook. Not to worry, there are other ways to combat sleeplessness and we will look at some of the best ones in this article.

There are many causes of insomnia, with hormonal imbalance and stress being two of the biggest culprits. While the items below will help in a lot of cases, your case may be more severe. If so, then see your doctor as a prescription may be your best alternative. But, before you go that route, try these things first:

1. Loosen up – Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that this is easier said than done, but it is the first step to beating insomnia. We all have things to worry about, but you have to find a way to let those things go before bedtime. In fact, by purposely forgetting them before retiring for the evening, you may actually solve those problems while you sleep. However, if you go to bed with the intention of solving a hard problem, then your subconscious will work differently by trying to keep you awake to solve. It all sounds counter-intuitive, but you have the best chance of solving your problems by not worrying about them before bed. At the same time, it’s vital that you don’t worry about how much sleep you will or won’t get. Focusing on your insomnia is about the surest way to have insomnia. The key is to do things to help you unwind, to help you shift from the cares of the day to preparing to sleep.

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2. Stay healthy – Exercising too close to bedtime will only serve to make it harder to fall asleep. However if you exercise several hours earlier, your body will be more ready to sleep. Eating well is important to your overall health, and this extends to how well sleep. The healthier you are, the better you will sleep. Also, sleeping well is part of being healthy, so you will see a difference if you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

3. Learn relaxation techniques – There are many different techniques designed to help people relax and sleep better. You can purchase audio programs that use a form of guided meditation to help you drift off into a deep and restorative sleep. You can also try the following technique on your own: As you lie in bed start at your toes and release all of the energy from them, letting them melt right into your mattress. Then move up to your feet, ankles, calves, knees, and all the way up to the top of your head. As you do this, you will be letting go of the tension you have built up over the course of your day and drifting off to sleep before you know it.