Fitness Camp Tip: Time to De-Stress
By Unite Fitness Retreat Nutritionist, Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN
Meetings, carpools, dinner, appointments, finding time to exercise, looming bills, challenges with family, kiddos or co-workers, work deadlines, the pressure of weight loss and revamping one’s lifestyle all mashed into the daily grind are stressful. Formulating a strategy to manage stress in healthier ways is key to losing weight faster.
How to Effectively Manage Stress in 8 Easy Steps
- Create a Plan – each week take a few minutes to plan for the week. Pencil in all the action items on your plate – work schedule, carpools, lessons for the kids, appointments and even your meal plan.
- Balancing days that are nuts with simple, healthy crock pot meals that are ready when you need them set you up for success. You know you can avoid the drive thru because something super tasty and healthy is waiting for you at home.
- Don’t exercise….PLAY! Incorporate more movement in you day doing things that are fun. Play will leave you with more energy, improve your ability to focus, improves your mood and your sleep. It also controls appetite.
- If being around people energizes you, trying new classes at the gym like yoga, spin or dance the night away to super fun music in a Zumba class. Have grown-up play dates with your friends and explore new trails hiking, snowshoeing and simply riding a bike again.
- On the flip side, have some alone time. Reflecting and processing the current climate of your life or simply taking the time to zone out and not have to keep up conversation can recharge one as well.
- Your brain on play is so much better. Play produces endorphins; chemicals that act as painkillers and they also improve the ability to sleep which in turn, reduces stress. Meditation, massage and deep breathing can also cause your body to produce endorphins.
- Sleep is necessary to allow our brain and our body to relax and heal each night. The lack of a good night’s rest can wreak havoc on your efforts to improve your health and lose weight. Not enough sleep can create insulin resistance and can lead to having an immune system that isn’t up to par, wreck your mood and even lower your life expectancy. Lack of sleep dulls your ability to make good decisions and control impulses. When you are over-tired it’s easy to turn to eating food that makes you feel good. Lack of sleep leads to increased cravings for high sugar junk food.
- Create a night-time routine to help your body get in a healthy rhythm. Evening yoga, meditation or simply turning off anything with a screen even 1 hour before bed will help your body prepare for a more restful nights sleep. Apps like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer can guide you through progressive relaxation techniques to help you shut off the day and fall into a deeper, more restful sleep.
Plan, balance, play, and sleep – these steps will lead you toward taking deeper breaths and seeing greater success as you continue to improve your health.