Stress is a bit of a buzz-word, but it is likely there is an element of stress in your life. There are the obvious stresses; a demanding job, little relaxation, moving house, looking after the family, and so on. But there are other forms of stress that are more ‘hidden’. These hidden stresses may include lack of sleep, illness, pain and skipping meals. Then there are the psychological forms of stress such as worries and anxieties. The many different types of stress all manifest in the same physiological response in your body and may jeopardise optimal health and wellbeing.
The ‘stress response’ occurs when your body perceives a situation that it cannot cope with. It is important to remember that not all stress is bad, but for some long-term stress can be problematic. The stress response has been shown to negatively impact on digestion and metabolism (including how we store fat and produce energy). It has also been linked to food choices, making it more likely that you will choose sugary foods and stimulants. Stress has been shown to be a contributory factor in erratic eating behaviours including emotional and binge eating. The knock on effect is likely to be weight gain.
In addition, stress is thought to impair the work of your reproductive hormones, which could influence PMS symptoms, fertility and the menstrual cycle, and contribute to menopausal symptoms.
The problem is there is often little you can do to reduce the things that are stressing you the most. You cannot necessarily change your job, you still need to manage work, children and finances, and you cannot ‘relax’ if we’re failing to become pregnant. However, what you can do is help your body deal with the stress response more effectively by considering food choices, assessing when you eat, and giving yourself the raw materials in the form of vitamins and minerals to support yourself.
Exploring your nutrition and discussing wellbeing strategies might benefit you, and I would be delighted to hear from you if you would like a helping hand. Take a look at what happens in a One-to-One appointment, or contact me if you want to talk things through.