I finished work for a year about five weeks ago, and after years of trying to lose and maintain weight, I have found that 10.5 pounds has just come off naturally. As much as I am very pleased with this little triumph, I am also a little annoyed that its happened without me massively trying. And that it is basically proving right all of the knowledge I learnt through my personal training qualifications and experience – stress and lack of self worth leads to weight gain (or lack of weight loss).
Yes, it matters what you put into your body, and yes it matters what exercise and movement to do. Both will aid your weight loss/gain and maintenance goals. But essentially, if you’re not looking after your whole lifestyle, and letting other factors influence how you treat yourself, you won’t get the results you really want.
I’ve realised that I was letting my work take over, and as much as I love my job, it does place a lot of demands on me, and subsequently my life in general. This means that I was stressed, didn’t have as much time for the things I love, or indeed the people I love. And as we know, the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ can lead to weight gain. It affects people in different ways and is something of which we should all be aware.Unfortunately (and definitely in my case), even if you eat well and exercise, high levels of stress can prevent you from losing weight.
In the run up to my leave from work, I had a lot going on in my life: family and friends’ weddings; short breaks; formal personal procedures (more on those in another post); work and travel. I managed to keep up with my fitness and healthy eating so just kept getting frustrated with myself when the weight was going up or not coming off. Once I stopped work and stopped worrying about some of the other things, and really started caring about myself, the weight came off. Yes I have carried on with the fitness and yes I have been eating well. But the difference with my eating has been less snacking (not emotional eating anymore), more control on portion size, and not stressing about what I’m eating – I’ve had double cream in my chicken pie, and the odd takeaway, but I left some on the plate, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve eaten. I’m also less critical of myself and more thoughtful about what I’m doing and what I’m eating. It seems to be working for me – now I just need to work on the stress levels when I return to work. But there’s plenty of time to work on that!
So in summary, don’t just focus on the fitness and food, take a look at the other influences in your life that are impacting your stress levels.