Say hello to a calmer, slimmer you with a revolutionary new lifestyle plan

It’s no secret that stress isn’t healthy. From breakouts to high blood pressure, insomnia, low energy and weight gain, chronic stress has serious consequences for your wellbeing. The day-to-day strains you encounter in your personal and professional lives are often unavoidable, but you don’t have to let them hamper your health, says Charlotte Watts, co-author of The De-Stress Diet. ‘It’s when we don’t allow ourselves to rest, or hold onto stress in our heads, that we can see the ill effects,’ explains Charlotte.

Alarm bells


Description: Alarm bells

When your body is suffering from long-term stress, its fight-or-flight reaction, (our natural alarm system) is constantly on red alert. This ‘state of emergency’ prompts your adrenals – the tiny glands situated on top of your kidneys – to release a huge surge of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol.

The adrenaline boosts your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and increases your energy supplies to prepare for either ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream and enhances your brain’s use of this glucose. It also alters your immune system responses and shuts down your digestive system, your reproductive system and growth processes, as your brain instinctively knows that these aren’t a priority when you’re in a stressful situation.

On a day-today basis a well-functioning body naturally produces just the right amount of adrenaline and cortisol it needs. But if you’re living in a constant state of high stress, due to strains in your personal life or at work, this can actually alter your levels of these hormones, which can lead to a whole host of unwelcome side effects.

Spot the signs

Description: Model: Carmen Electra

If you’re constantly worn out, the chances are that you’ve gained weight, too. Countless studies have proven the link between stress and excess weight gain, specifically around the stomach area. However Charlotte believes that making the right dietary and lifestyle choices could help you to lower your stress levels, leave you feeling much healthier and in turn change your body shape for the better.

‘During periods of prolonged stress, an over-production of cortisol turns calories into fat. As abdominal cells have more cortisol receptors than any other part of the body, most of that fat gets stored around the tummy. By working with our bodies we can break these patterns,’ she explains.

When the tension rises, you probably reach for chocolate or a caffeine hit, but this makes your body more stressed by messing with your blood sugar and cortisol levels, and, in the long run, piling on the pounds.

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