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10 Tips To Reduce Stress and Weight Gain

We all have stress! We can’t escape it! We need to learn how to effectively manage our stress. It will play a big part in influencing your overall health.

Your body pays a heavy physiological price for every moment you feel anxious, tense, frustrated or angry.

The danger is in experiencing these emotions on a chronic basis! Some things it does along with weight gain:

  • Speeds up your heart rate
  • Diverts most of your blood supply to your large muscles to run or fight
  • Slow down digestive system or shut it down
  • Stimulates release of extra glucose into your blood for energy
  • Causes adrenal glands to increase cortisol which will increase blood sugar and other chemicals in the body

This can cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation & Upset Stomach
  • Low sex drive
  • More susceptible to colds, flu and other diseases like cancer

There is hope! There are skills you can learn that will reduce the output of stress hormones, limiting the effects of chronic stress. Chronic stress causes increased cortisol levels and weight gain around the belly. We all have stress in our lives and just need to learn to handle it differently. Eating a balanced diet and getting rid of foods that cause inflammation helps immensely. You can learn what to eat step by step with the help of a Health Coach.

Of course, none of these things will help unless you do them. Learning to manage stress takes action! Here’s some tips:

1. Breathe deep and regularly! By deliberately breathing slowly and deeply, you will begin to immediately counteract the effects of stress and will be able to face your problems with a clear head. Practice deep breathing for at least 5 min. twice daily. It will make a difference in your stress level and promote relaxation and good digestion!

2. Spend some quiet time every day in prayer, meditation, or a purposeful relaxation session. This can help decrease blood pressure, pulse rate, and improve blood circulation. There are many CD’s out there. Try some and use on a regular basis. You can listen at night while going to sleep or in the day at the computer or while doing things like walking, etc.

3. Practice Visualization. Almost all great athletes do this. Spend time daily visualizing yourself going about your day in a balanced and emotionally poised manner. You can include this in your prayer/meditation/relaxation exercise.

4. Make sure you’re getting the nutrients that you need for a healthy nervous system. Your nutritional status makes all the difference when you are handling stress so you don’t suffer health problems. Eat well balanced diet and get adequate B vitamins, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Drink your stress and anxiety away! It’s not what you think. I’m talking about water. Even slight dehydration affects your nervous system, increasing your level of anxiety and nervousness. Drinking more pure water will help you fell calmer and sleep better. Skip the sodas, coffee, and energy drinks. All the sugar and caffeine will just add to your feelings of stress and anxiety. So will alcohol, as it rapidly turns to sugar in your body. Drown your troubles with water!

6. Move your body. Regular exercise is one of the best habits to help avoid depression and stay balanced. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do. Ever notice how just taking a walk when you feel stressed helps you to clear your mind? Any enjoyable activity like yoga, swimming, golf, walking, etc. will help you burn off stress hormones and relax! Use your muscles and joints on a regular basis. Use it or lose it!

7. Be honest about your feelings. One of the best methods to increase awareness of what you are truly feeling is journal writing. Just write down whatever you feel. Pure thoughts from your mind and heart onto a piece of paper or computer even work. Regular journaling can be extremely beneficial to your emotional health.

8. Relax and get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is vital to our health and ability to deal with life’s problems. Think of how much better you feel after a good night’s sleep. Use some natural supplements if necessary. Turn off lights, computers, etc. before bed to give your body time to unwind and avoid the stimulation of these things.

9. Pamper yourself a little. A pleasurable experience does more good for the body than a stressful experience does harm. Pleasure enhances health, energy and emotional well-being. It causes our muscles to relax and even triggers healing. So, instead of focusing on avoiding stress, plan time for pleasure, instead. Get a massage, engage in a pleasurable hobby or activity, take a relaxing bath, soak in a hot tub, listen to beautiful music, and surround yourself with pleasant fragrances, colors and sounds. Doing these things will counteract the harmful effects of stress on your body and mind.

10. Do these things for yourself. You deserve it. Put them on your “To Do List!”

About The Author

Karen Russell

Certified Health Coach and Nutritionist

Karen received her training to practice health coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in conjunction with Columbia University and also has a degree in Dietetics. She’s a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and believes that you can heal your body holistically with food and natural supplements. She offers saliva testing for hormones, adrenal issues, hidden food sensitivities or infections. She does cooking classes, educational seminars, movie nights and other fun events like chocolate tastings!

Working in hospitals, nursing homes and weight loss centers for over 20 years has given her lots of experience with helping people manage their weight and increase energy. It’s never too late to change the road you’re on. Her passion in life is to help people to learn to eat better, step by step, with delicious food, for the best quality of life possible.

Karen recently expanded her business to Sedona, Arizona and works with clients nationwide.

For more information on Karen, visit