Instead of losing weight in 2013, commit to losing stress


January 11, 2013

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By Betty Murray

Stress is the new fat. It’s a nationwide epidemic rivaling that of obesity. Stress doesn’t just add frustration to life, it can lead to emotional disorders, hypertension and heart problems, headaches and even obesity.

While stress in and of itself isn’t a bad thing (as it helps us meet deadlines, perform athletically, etc.), prolonged stress is bad for your health. Adam Perlman, M.D. executive director of integrative medicine and wellness at Duke University says, “Experience elevated stress levels on a chronic basis wears down our body and our brain. It’s much like flooring the gas pedal with your car in park. If you do it for a prolonged period, something in your engine will break.”

People cope with stress in a variety of ways. Some turn to exercise or meditation to relieve stress, while others turn to food or alcohol. These are all common coping mechanisms, but they are not all healthy. By relying on food or alcohol to reduce stress, you are setting yourself up for addiction and the negative effects food or substance addiction can have on your body — including weight gain.

How to shred stress in the New Year

Much like you would begin a new diet to lose weight, when it comes to losing stress, the focus should be on making changes to your lifestyle and habits that induce stress. Incorporate stress-reducing behaviors and practices, such as yoga and relaxation techniques. Eliminate thought patterns and activities that create stress and focus on those behaviors and activities that leave you feeling refreshed and replenished, such as sleeping, exercising and spending time with family and friends.

If you’re ready to lose stress in 2013, here are a few questions to ask yourself to get started:

  • What activities create more stress for me? Are there activities I can let go of in order to reduce daily stress?
  • What activities or behaviors do I find most relaxing? How can I incorporate those into my daily life.
  • Who are the people in my life who can offer me support in my effort to shed stress?
  • Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

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