Week 7: Is stress making you fat?

Friday, April 3, 2009
Is stress making you fat?

In week seven of our fitness plan, A New You!, personal trainer James Menage shows you how you can beat your emotional eating and curb high-kilojoule cravings...


Once you've got the exercise sorted, don't miss dietician Geraldine Georgeou's stress-busting diet

You're swamped with work and bills... and the stress sends you reaching for the chips or chocolate. But stress could actually make that comfort food even more fattening for you.

One study from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that a special molecule the body releases when stressed (called neuropeptide Y) can stimulate fat cells to grow in size and number.

In another study, it was found that when stressed mice and unstressed mice were fed high-kilojoule or "comfort food" diets, the stressed mice gained twice as much weight.

"There are millions of people around the world who have lived with high levels of stress for so long, their bodies think it's normal," says Professor Herbert Herzog from Garvan's Neuroscience Program. "If these people also eat a high-fat and high-sugar diet when stressed, they'll become obese."

Professor Herzog says that while we can reduce everyday stress in our life, sometimes it's all but impossible to reduce chronic stress, such as that caused by a sick child.

But for some types of stress, we can help ourselves. Read on to find out how.

Fitness expert James Menage

60 second stress buster

Breathe life into your workout with fitness expert James Menage.

Did you know that stress affects your workout? According to a US study, when people with low and high stress levels did the same weight training program for three months, the less stressed lifters increased their strength by 15 per cent more than the worriers.

As a former British paratrooper, I've been in some pretty stressful situations myself, but whether your stress is acute or chronic, the good news is there are some instant weight-loss stress busters you can try.

Try nostril breathing — it works instantly. According to yoga expert Mathew Bergan, from Dancing Warrior Yoga in Sydney, you simply need to sit in a comfortable position.

"Firstly, place the right index finger and third finger onto the "third eye", just between the eyebrows. Then place the thumb firmly on top of the right nostril and press gently against it, inhaling through the left nostril. Keep the breath slow and steady. Do this for three seconds. Then do the same with the left nostril, this time exhaling slowly, also for three seconds. Do this each side, 10 times," says Mathew.

For more anti-stress yoga exercises, visit www.dancingwarrioryoga.com.au

See www.precisionhealthandfitness.wordpress.com for more advice from James Menage.


Now you've got the exercises sorted, don't miss dietician Geraldine Georgeou's stress-busting diet

Do you have a weight loss story to share with us? We'd love to hear about it. Email: womansday@acpmagazines.com.au

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