Is Stress Literally WEIGHING You Down?
Dieting can only take you so far if your mental state can’t create or sustain good habits. Moreover, if you live in constant stress, you probably simply don’t have the energy to do what’s right. January, a couple of years ago, a new client came to me because she wanted to release some excess weight. At some point during the conversation she said, “I just need to lose the baby weight.” I replied, “Congratulations! When did you have the baby?” Turns out, her little bundle of joy is now 7 years old.
This happens so often. We want to lose the weight, but we fail at making it a priority. We are so engrossed in, well, life itself, that we forget that in order to be a caring, loving person, we first need to care for and love ourselves and our bodies. Now, this is nothing you haven’t heard a thousand times before. But how about we take a moment to truly stop and think about it? This January, instead of once again making never fulfilled resolutions, we actually get to create real sustainable change in our lives and the lives of the people around us.
How long have you been wanting to get rid of your excess weight? How long has the idea of losing the weight been on the back burner of your mind? How stress inducing is the fact that you have, time and time again, failed to make that goal a priority? Because that’s the problem with important goals that haven’t yet made it to the top of the list, they keep nagging at our mind. They always occupy and drain a little bit of our awareness. That’s how you end up in a catch 22; the idea of (being incapable of) releasing the weight becomes a source of constant stress. And you know what stress does to your waistline? Hint: it’s not helping it. Do you want more hints, or would you prefer cold hard facts?
1. Stress increases cortisol levels, which then increases your appetite.
Some people when faced with stress can’t eat anything. And frankly, I’m sure that has its down side but sometimes, I still do envy those people. When faced with stress, I used to eat until my body was so full that it’s all I could feel. I ate to numb my fears which is exactly what stress is. My practice of hypnosis and mindfulness have allowed me to truly reconnect to my body. They have taught me tools to drop in and really explore (sometimes even re-create) the mind-body connection.
These days before eating I’m able to ask myself whether what I’m feeling is real hunger or if I’m trying to fill a void created by feelings: fear, anxiety, boredom. If a specific feeling is the recurring trigger, hypnosis can then potentially heal the root cause of the issue and help implement better eating habits. Some people, for example, might have gained weight for the illusion of safety the weight might bring, or as punishment for something. A client was recently able to trace back her weight gain to the feeling of powerlessness she had felt when her mother got diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After identifying the root cause and the feeling, she was then able to make better lifestyle decisions and maintain them.
2. Stress causes you to lose sight of your priorities.
This one is a two for one. By learning to manage your stress you will learn how to set and attain priorities. You’ll also realize that the way you feel in your own skin has to be at the top of the list. Moreover, learning to get your priorities straight is a sure solution to reduce stress and to feel less overwhelmed. Because you know what overwhelmed people do? They eat that extra cookie/bag of chips/sugary drink/insert your poison here.
Remember the mom at the beginning of this story ? She spent 7+ years not listening to her body; that amazing body who had created a baby. When she finally decided to make a change she had to re-learn and re-listen to her own inner voice. That’s what hypnosis can do for you, by accessing your subconscious mind, you get to a place that’s highly suggestible and where true, life-long change can take place.
3. Stress makes you more susceptible to the ravage of sugar.
Sugar is poison. Most of us know that. What we don’t always realize is all the places where sugar hides and how to get rid of a sugar addiction once and for all. Because, make no mistake about it, sugar is an addiction. Some research even shows that it’s more addictive than hard drugs like cocaine. It’s been a conscious daily effort but I’ve been off sugar for 3 years now. Some people can do things in moderation, I’m not one of those people. To me, quitting sugar completely was easier than to “just do it a little bit”.
Last spring, I went to a birthday dinner at a “comfort food” restaurant. I must have eaten something I didn’t realize was spiked with sugar because I remember going to bed feeling an intense sensation of dread, just overall unease. My heart was racing, I felt restless. I remember getting to bed and tossing and turning for an hour, then two hours. Then when the clock marked midnight, I started to remember my long-gone years of insomnia and anxiety kicked in. It must have been 2 am when, still wide awake, I realized what had happened; my body was just experiencing a sugar rush.
Through that experience, I gained a new understanding about how sugar impacts us. For me, this was a one meal fluke and yet it derailed my body and mood for days. There are millions of people still on the stuff, feeling terrible in their own skin, every single day. So many of those people fail at making the connection between sugar and the way they feel, and even then, to do something about it. Ì feel very fortunate to have tools to help me conquer my old sugar addiction. The truth is, without hypnosis, I would have been back on the cake a long time ago.
A few months ago, after a hypnosis session, a client’s first sentence was, “This is amazing, it’s like a brain massage”. This was, by far, one of the greatest analogies I ever heard about the practice. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the things I hear the most; how after a session, sometimes for the first time in ages, clients truly feel relaxed. The beauty is that the feeling of relaxation will follow you in your daily life and will increase with every session. My wish is that you will let me teach you the tools you need to live a more stress-free life. Keep the pounds off by implementing long lasting change. Because it’s not (only) about showing you a blissful state, it’s about helping you regain agency over your own body.
Calypso Portugaels is a certified consulting hypnotist at Mind Matters Hypnosis Centers in Guilford, CT and New York City. As a meditation and movement teacher, she has learned to integrate mindfulness into her practice to work with clients toward their goals. She’s results driven and believes in implementing long term solutions. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, lecture, workshop, call Mind Matters Hypnosis Center at (860) 693-6448 or visit: MindMattersHypnosis.com.