De-stressing is an undervalued component of weight loss. I’ve had clients take up yoga and think that it must somehow be burning more calories than aerobics because they start to lose weight despite having been previously ‘stuck’!
The reality is this: when you are stressed you release cortisol, which blocks the fat-burning process. If you blast away like a bat out of hell on the treadmill after a hard day at the office, you put your body under a different kind of stress. Even if you enjoy it, it’s still a form of stress and can reduce the amount of fat you can burn after exercise.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t do aerobic exercise – far from it. You should do aerobic exercise and resistance training to maximize fat burning! But you must also find a way of exercising, or some other technique, such as meditation, that relaxes you and doesn’t over-stress your body. It may be that you do the aerobics class, but then finish with some yoga or meditation to relax and balance your hormones.
Believe me, when you do this you’ll not only burn more fat after your exercise, you’ll sleep better, and your body will be able to complete the valuable process of growth and repair undisturbed by stress hormones. Learning to meditate and doing it for just 10 minutes before you go to sleep, can be a great way to de-stress and balance your hormones for the body’s night-time processes. Some of the growth hormones responsible for fat burning are produced by your body at night, when you are in restful sleep. If you don’t achieve restful sleep, you produce very few of these hormones and long-term fat metabolism is impaired.
Try this breathing exercise to de-stress:
Think about and then write down three things you can do every day that will reduce your stress levels and therefore increase your ability to burn fat. For example, practice regular deep breathing. Take time for yourself.