Could Stress be Behind Your Weight Loss Failures?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I can do everything right, eat healthy, portion control, go to the gym three times a week, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I have been interval training several times a week for over a year now and I have only lost six pounds. I eat a lot of fish, vegetables and whole grains, try to limit my carbs and never indulge in seconds, but none of it seems to matter. How can this be?

I went to the gym today to do my interval training and decided I was going to take it a little easier just to be on the safe side. I recently had the flu, which I think is usually a sign from your body that you need to slow down. Yesterday, I woke up with a lot of neck and back pain, which had improved today, but was far from gone. And I happened to read my horoscope for the day which said to be careful not to hurt yourself from too much physical activity. I took these things as a sign and let my body dictate how fast it wanted to go during the intense periods of the interval training.

When I was done, I realized how good I felt when I didn’t push my body to the breaking point. Then I realized how stressed I must normally be when I am forcing myself to keep going at the max speed possible. How my body yells at me that it is sore and tired and needs to stop and I tell it to keep going. If just activating the stress chemicals in our body can stimulate the fight or flight response of running from a predator, how much worse it must be when you are actually RUNNING and not allowing yourself to stop! It probably convinces your body you are in immediate danger and not just wary of a possible threat.

When we exercise because we want to get healthy or want to lose weight and are not just doing it out of sheer love and desire, it can be rather stressful. But we are told that we must force ourselves to do it and persevere. So when our body doesn’t seem to want to cooperate, we remind ourselves that it is “mind over matter”, but what we really mean is “mind over body” and we want to prove that our brain is in charge and we have enough will power to push our body to continue.

Meanwhile, I wonder how with all of this exercise, my belly fat just will not go down. Probably because of all of the cortisol resulting from the stress of the exercise itself! I’m not saying that the answer is to stop going to the gym. But maybe if I allow my body to dictate how fast is fast enough, instead of just pushing it as far as it will go, time after time, I just might start seeing a better result.

With all that stress from simply exercising, image how much more stress dieting must cause. We all know that panicky feeling when our stomach starts growling and we don’t have immediate access to food. Our survival instincts kick in. Which obviously, is no way to live. But even if you are not on a starvation diet and don’t experience that constantly, it’s stressful if you do not allow yourself to eat what you want. You resist that donut at work and then stress so much about not eating it, that you might as well have just eaten it. Because all of that cortisol has now flooded your body and is at work creating more body fat.

I think EFT can be helpful for these things, as well. When I was reflecting on how much stress I was putting on my body all of the time with the interval training, I had a memory flash from my childhood. I pictured how awful it was when I had to run in a race on “field day” each year. Forget about always being last, but it took all of my strength even just to finish. My side would feel like someone was stabbing me and my legs wouldn’t want to move anymore, but the teachers would make me go the whole distance. There was nothing I hated more than running. And now I am voluntarily running on an elliptical, pushing myself to the limit. No wonder my stress is high and I can’t seem to rid myself of my belly fat. I will definitely have to do some “tapping” on those childhood experiences.

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