W8less Week 3: Control Stress Levels

Stacey Vanoska

In the third week of the W8less 40-Day Challenge, the focus has now switched to stress. Why? so many of us live with high levels and stress as though it’s normal, but Kate Troup, founder of W8less, has answered why it’s not and how it could be affecting your health and wellbeing.

What is the ‘brick’ this week?

It’s a big one this week: stress management! Stress is a normal and beneficial reaction to the world around you and you do need some to motivate and protect you. Problems arise though when stress levels become too high for too long. Over time, your stress response can become “locked” on and it becomes so chronic, you stop noticing the effects of it.

How does stress affect your weight?

Stress triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol which, over time, leads to problems with blood sugar levels and insulin response. This eventually leads to the deposition of weight around your belly. In the industry we call it a “cortisol roll”. Repeated dieting, or yo-yo dieting, is very stressful to your body and it can have a permanent effect on your cortisol levels, making it harder and harder to lose weight each time you try. This is why it’s so important to work with your body to lose weight and not force it through drastic measures. Also stress often makes you want to eat comfort foods like chocolate or crunchy, salty foods like chips, which aren’t ideal for weight control.

What can people do to reduce their stress?

I think it’s important to realise that even though you might think that you can’t reduce the stress in your life, after all there will always be bills to pay and traffic jams, you can completely change how you respond to it. This week on W8less, there’s an exercise where you write down every single thing that makes you feel stressed over a couple of days. That list is then split into two: things you can change and things that you can’t. You need to change the things that are within your power but those that aren’t, you need to change your response to. It sounds simple but it is incredibly powerful. Most people find that they are wasting a lot of energy on things which they can’t change instead of focusing on those which they can do something about.

Meditation really helps slow down your stress response which is why it’s an integral part of W8less. Starting your day as calmly as possible has a flow through effect on the rest of it.