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Slowing down is one of the best habits we can ever create for ourselves. A less stressed you is going to be more motivated, more conscious, more considerate of those around you, and more available to your loved ones. Plus, not being stressed feels so freakin’ good, you’ll wonder how you made it so far as a frazzled chick when you start to chill out and smell the roses.

Stress is one of the biggest factors to consider in finding balance with food, and as such, finding your ideal weight. There is so much talk about stress in the media, and we all know it’s terrible for us, yet many of us don’t even understand what stress actually is.

Being ‘”stressed out,” as in having a high level of anxiety and maybe being curt with a customer or a barista at your local coffee shop, isn’t the end of it. Stress is a chemical cocktail of hormones running through your body, wreaking havoc and tossing books off of shelves.

Stress affects us physically, and also can cause alarming emotional and spiritual effects; rest assured, your stress affects the people around you, too.

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We are not meant to be in a constant state of stress, yet when we continue to tell ourselves that we are not good enough and that we always need to lose weight, we are drawing out a chemical process that acts in the exact opposite way we want it to.

Here’s why stress is so bad for “diet monsters,” and what to start doing about it:

First, there’s the physical component of how stress hormones create aging and decay, which re-enforces bad self image and self esteem.

Stress hormones are also detrimental to your weight loss efforts in the following ways:

1 – They keep blood sugar higher, which prevents using fat as fuel, and promotes weight gain.

2 – They promote fat storage around the abdomen to insulate your organs.

3 – Stress often promotes a desire for a state change, and many of us achieve state change through eating when we’re not hungry, and eating foods which elicit a pleasant, relaxed feeling, or a ‘feel good’ state from sugars and refined carbs.

4 – Eating when stressed is a great way to ensure indigestion and malabsorption. These can both contribute to food not being used effectively, and thus storing as fat.

I will be sharing with you some tools to manage your stress—and put it in its place—here on the blog and in my book. To start, try asking yourself the following questions before you eat:

1 – Am I hungry?

2 – Am I stressed?

3 – Why am I eating right now?

4 – What’s really going on for me right now?

It’s funny what happens when you ask the right questions. A lot of the time, if you’re feeling off and you ask yourself what’s up, you will get an answer. The answer can give you clarity on what steps you can take to make yourself feel better, more empowered, and ultimately less frazzled.

I know this sounds like simplification. And it kind of is, because we so often make things much more difficult than they need to be. That’s why we get so stressed in the first place.

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