How Managing Your Stress Can Lead To PCOS Weight Loss Success

Many women don’t fully understand how much stress is a silent roadblock that can directly impact their ability to lose weight, especially those with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

Cortisol is a key stress response hormone, which increases cravings for certain foods such as carbohydrates, sugars, starches and grains. When you eat them, instead of getting used for energy, they are instead getting turned into and stored as fat because of the already existing hormonal imbalance PCOS causes. In particular, stress magnifies the body’s already impaired response to eating which can be a weight loss disaster.

For some people, even people without PCOS, stress can cause enough of a disruption in their hormonal balance that they gain weight even if they are not overeating and when they are exercising regularly.

There are two kinds of stress; eustress and distress. Eustress is what we experience when we feel excitement or we are energized by good news or events that we are looking forward to such as am upcoming wedding, graduation, job promotion or party. This kind of stress does not seem to harm health and wellbeing. However, distress does have a negative impact on your health and wellness and it can increase feelings of anxiety, depression, and interfere with your weight loss.

Our response to stress matters a lot especially if you want success in losing PCOS related weight because it is such a challenge to begin with. For success with PCOS weight loss it is critically important to have healthy ways to deal with stress. When it comes to stress management, there are many options to fit even the busiest of schedules.

One path is to use specific herbs and supplements along with certain nutrition and diet choices, good sleep habits, and other lifestyle elements that we can control about how we live that can help a PCOS sufferer to better handle stress.

One obvious way to deal with stress is exercise. Not only is it beneficial for PCOS weight loss benefits, but it can be a really great way to reduce stress. Exercise literally helps to burn the chemicals released in response to stress and this helps to minimize the damage that can be done.

Another way is to just take a moment to consciously and intentionally relax such as meditation. Deep breathing is a simple easy way to release some stress that you could build into your day. These can both help to contradict any feelings of stress.

Stretching is another great was to help melt away stress and you can do this while standing in line, behind a desk at work, or while in your car in a traffic jam. You might be limited in how you can stretch but you can still stretch pretty much anywhere.

Sexual expression and intimate contact can relieve stress especially when shared with a partner whom you really care about. So consider sexual activity as a possible way to release stress provided that that is part of a healthy relationship.

Other ways to help relieve stress are to get a massage, take a warm bath, or simply have a cup of tea.

So basically, bottom line is this there are numerous ways to effectively tame stress. It’s essential to find what works for your needs and situation so that you can get on that path that will increase your chances of PCOS weight loss success. If you get off track, it’s okay, just get right back to managing your stress as quickly as you can so it doesn’t wreck your weight loss goals and success.

Weight Loss Success Includes Dealing With Trigger Foods

Often in our goal to have weight loss success we vow to not have certain foods in the house. These foods are the ones over which we seem to have no control. They are our comfort foods…what we reach for when we are stressed, sad, angry… or even joyful. By keeping the foods out of the house we think we won’t think about them…after all, “out of sight, out of mind,” right?

Not having our trigger foods around does put a time buffer between the urge to eat and the ability to fulfill that urge. Placing a barrier of time between you and food can stop a binge or merely delay it.

The time barrier is just one aspect of changing a long standing pattern. The second step is choosing to use the time to shift your focus. You must decide to change your mindset to one of health. Otherwise we can choose to use the time to increase the desire by thinking about the food and the lack of it.

Shifting our focus is the most important part of weight loss success. You now have the chance to ask yourself if this is what you really want, or if there is something else you can do to “feed” what you really want-because frequently when we have these urges it isn’t really about the food at all!

Have a set of questions that you can walk through in the event of an urge to eat unhealthy foods in mass quantities. Think of it as your desire extinguisher…in case of emergency, read this (no need to break the glass!)

The right questions to ask yourself will vary person by person, below are some sample questions you might use.

  • Is eating this the best choice for me right now?
  • Am I hungry?
  • What am I really trying to feed?
  • If I eat this, will I feel better or worse?
  • Will eating this move me closer toward my health goals?
  • What am I feeling right now?

After you answer the questions it is possible that you will decide to eat. The point of these questions is to get you thinking about why you are reaching for the food and making a conscious choice about whether or not you will eat it. It is NOT the goal of this exercise to not eat, or to make you feel bad if you choose to eat. It is all about stopping a pattern of unconscious eating.

When we eat consciously we are in control and then it is much less likely that we will have a binge fest. A binge is always a result of unconscious eating!

Putting a barrier of time between you and foods that tempt you is a good thing because it gives your conscious mind time to kick in… but remember you have to use the time to shift your focus towards health. The time-barrier may be that you have to go to the store to buy the food because you don’t keep it in the house… and this may be a great option when you are first starting to retrain your mind. However, it may not be necessary in the long-run, or even practical now if you have other members of the family who don’t have an issue with their weight and that food.

In that case, having a note taped to the food item-so you can’t open the container without seeing the note-can do the trick. You can write one or all of your questions on that note, or simply “Stop. Think before you eat.”

You Can Eat Chocolate and Have Weight Loss Success

Yes, chocolate can have a place in your weight loss plan…you can indeed eat chocolate and have weight loss success. No food should be off-limits completely in a healthy life for most people.

When we think about losing weight, or going on a diet, we tend to think we cannot have our favorite foods. These foods then become “forbidden fruit”…although rarely are fruits in question. I do not believe any foods should be forbidden. First of all, that is just no fun. More than that though, by placing certain foods off-limits it actually increases the emotional pull they have…it can lead to feeling deprived which then tends to prompt us to binge.

To really succeed at losing weight we don’t want to be in that cycle of craving foods, using will power to not eat them and then finally succumbing in a binge. We want to be in a healthy cycle where we feel good about ourselves and the progress we are making towards achieving our ideal health goals.

So incorporating some of your favorite foods, in small portions can actually help you lose weight in the long run-including chocolate!

Now–don’t let that lead you to believe you can just eat bon-bons all day long! Nor does it mean that we should eat large quantities of the “healthy chocolate” that you see advertised.

It is important that we change our thinking–not just what we eat. Focusing just on the food we eat will always backfire! A lot of people will suggest you substitute a low calorie or low fat version of whatever your favorite food is.

The biggest problem with substituting foods is that you aren’t changing your thought process or behavior-the things that allowed you to gain weight in the first place! If you swap eating a dozen chocolate chip cookies for low-cal cookies you are engaging in the same behavior and will not have weight loss success…the low-cal version won’t always be available or someday it won’t be enough!

I contend that even if what you swap for is carrot sticks you are still not changing the thinking. Because if you still stuff yourself, at some point you will decide the carrot sticks just aren’t cutting it and look out baby–then a super-binge is on the way!

When we change our thinking about food and our bodies and begin to really love ourselves we want to truly take care of these wonderful bodies we have. One of the ways we take care of them is to fuel them properly rather than stuffing them with food because something is “eating us” emotionally! Instead we learn other ways to deal with issues and no longer feel the need to self-medicate with food.

But fueling properly doesn’t mean you never get to have a treat…and chocolate is a great treat AND can actually have some health benefits. Be sure to eat dark chocolate for maximum heart benefits. And take small pieces–you only need 1/4 oz to achieve the benefits–that means a standard size chocolate bar will pretty much last you a week. Savor the chocolate and enjoy using chocolate as part of your recipe for weight loss success.

Weight Loss Success and Bike Riding

No, I’m not going to launch in to a tirade about how great bicycles are for exercise (although they certainly are one option for moving your body more and having fun at the same time)…no, I’m talking about the similarities between learning to ride a bicycle and have real weight loss success.

Almost everyone has had the experience of learning to ride a bike. During that process we experience a myriad of emotions–fear, trepidation, anger, nervousness, excitement, exhilaration, joy, freedom…not in a straight line, but a zig-zag or swirling of emotions.

And we are not typically thrust on a 2 wheeler without any warning…we grow into it. We start by watching others on their bicycles and we get a tricycle, then we move to a bike with training wheels, and then one day we are on our bike…untethered by excess wheels.

Weight loss success–meaning permanently dropping excess fat–is like getting rid of those excess wheels. And it too is filled with emotions-scary and exhilarating…sometimes bouncing back and forth between these two as well as many other feelings.

We can’t do it all in one fell swoop. In learning to ride our bikes we had to gain certain skills, like balance, how to hold our bodies and the bike so we don’t fall, how to get on the bike, how to pedal, how to stop, and even how to get off.

Some of these skills came easily to us, others…not so much. Our friends and siblings may have had very similar experiences-or ones that were extremely different. And our perception of their experience may have been quite different from what they actually experienced. For example, my brother was two years older than I, and so it seemed to me that he learned to ride his bike quite easily…as if by magic. In reality, I suspect he fell almost as many times as I did. Now, he had a big advantage-when he was learning to ride we lived on a flat street and he had a big area in which to practice. When I learned to ride we lived on a hill so I was, for safety reasons, restricted to our own long, narrow, driveway for practice.

Similarly, we have to learn skills in order to successfully lose weight. Some of these skills will come easily-or we have already acquired them. Others may be quite challenging for us. And it does us no good to compare our skill level with anyone else’s…because we don’t really have a full picture of where anyone else is on their journey to health.

Some of the skills we must learn in our weight loss journey deal with basic nutrition. That is like learning to pedal…what foods fuel us, allow us to move efficiently forward, and what foods slow us down. This is where most diets focus-on the pedaling-but pedaling won’t do you any good if you can’t first get on the bicycle and if once you are on the bike you can’t stay on because you are out of balance.
Instead of putting all the emphasis on pedaling, let’s get on the bike! That is dealing with our mindset…we have to get over our fears, our past failures, our hesitancies…we have to believe that we can have success. Other kids learn to ride bikes, and so did we…other people can lose weight, and so can we! It doesn’t matter if we haven’t been able to get on the bike in the past-at some point, we will get on it successfully as long as we believe we can!

Once we are on the bicycle we must have some balance while we move forward, otherwise we will fall again. We must encourage ourselves repeatedly that we can do it…over and over, day after day, until we just do! We believe we can, and we begin to pedal. Learning to pedal is one of the easiest, most natural steps in learning to ride…we learn to pedal long before we get on a two-wheeler.

We can also learn about nutrition right now…while we are still on our tricycle, before we have our balance figured out. Learning about nutrition can help guide us as we shift from walking to pedaling…but the biggest challenge in achieving weight loss success is getting on the right track and maintaining balance. This is what mindset is…and that is where we must focus in order to have permanent weight loss. Once we have the proper mindset and we believe we can lose weight then we will begin to make more healthy food choices-because they feel good…we feel energized, thrilled, joyful with these choices…it becomes the most natural thing to do, not an effort at all!

Once we learn to ride a bike, we never forget how. It may be scary at first if it has been years since we last got on a bike…we may think we will crash and burn…but generally, we get back on and after a few bobbles we are moving along at a wonderful pace once again.

The weight loss success journey can be like that, too. Once we acquire the mindset of success we never really forget it. It may be rusty from lack of practice, but we can dust it off by repeating to ourselves again that we can. We’ll swerve a bit here and there, but quickly we will be back on track and on the path to the healthy body we want and deserve!