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The Reason You Can’t Lose Weight Might Surprise You

By Kristen Fischer.

Can’t manage to lose weight? Can’t keep it off? Have you tried getting a handle on your nerves? It turns out, that stress could be sabotaging your healthy eating efforts. Here’s how chill so you can finally lose that pesky belly fat.

So stressed you could scream? It’s time to take a chill pill, guys! Not only will getting a handle on your stress help you feel better, it will help you look better, too. As it turns out, being under constant tension could be negating all the health and weight loss benefits of your healthy eating plan, according to a study recently published in Molecular Psychiatry.

Stress & Weight Loss

To come to this finding, Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, who heads up the Institute for Behavioral Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, evaluated 58 women who ate meals with either saturated fat or better-for-you sunflower oil. She then measured levels of inflammation (a chronic condition that can cause weight gain) and markers that predict the likelihood of arterial plaque. Overall, those who ate meals rich in saturated fats were more likely than their counterparts to have markers for inflammation and clogged arteries. However, after controlling for other factors, she found that subjects who ate the healthier fat but reported being under major stress, showed similar results to those who ate the less healthy meals. According to Kiecolt-Glaser, this study is the first to show that stress has the power to cancel out the benefits of choosing healthy fats. Scary stuff!

Is this a go-ahead to eat whatever you want when you are under duress? Not quite. It does, however, highlight the importance of stress management—not only for the sake of your mental health—but for your waistline, too. If you’re not sure how to best unwind so all of your healthy eating efforts don’t go to waste, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out the very best way to get your zen on.

1. Just Breathe – Literally

Next time it feels like you just can’t deal with your nightmare of a boss anymore, find a quiet place to sit comfortably and breathe for three to five minutes, suggests Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine and author of Meditate Your Weight. “Think of yourself as an unbiased observer to the natural process of the breath. Try not to change or regulate the breath but instead notice all the textures and qualities and at the same time try not to judge or put any positive or negative context to what you are experiencing,” says Cruikshank. It may not seem like a simple exercise like this can do much to help, but it’s super simple so it’s 100 percent worth a shot. And how relaxed it leaves you feeling may just shock you

2. Nix Sugar & Caffeine 

You may love your daily sweetened coffee, but caffeine and sugar are both stimulants that give us a false sense of energy, leaving us more exhausted and frazzled than we were before we indulged. You don’t have to quit them cold turkey—cutting back can be favorable, too. “For stress and anxiety, having a stable blood sugar level and cortisol rhythm is key, and sugar and caffeine will throw off both of those,” Cruikshank said.

Read more tips in the original article on

About the Author

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Yoga Medicine® is a thorough, anatomically based training system that trains teachers across the globe to work more powerfully with their students. Yoga Medicine® is a community of teachers who are trained to understand the function and dysfunction of the human body in order to work more effectively with healthcare practitioners. Yoga Medicine loves to post articles based on yoga teacher's experiences, yoga-related research, the relationship between yoga and healthcare, and much more. We welcome guest submissions as well - please contact to discuss further details.

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