Managing Stress for a Better Shape-Up

Learning how to manage stress is important to your shape-up program because most people fail to achieve their shape up and weight management goals when too much stress disrupts their life. When stress levels mount, people often turn to unhealthy habits to help them cope, such as overeating comfort foods, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, or smoking. Instead of using exercise as a positive way to manage stress, all thoughts of exercising are forgotten.

In recent studies, researchers have found a relationship to the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area of the body and high stress levels. Scientists theorize that when the body believes that it is in a state of stress, it holds on to fat as a source of protection. Historically, this would have been beneficial if famines, wars, extreme environmental conditions, or food shortages caused the stress. In our modern world, however, most stressful conditions exist in a setting where food is abundant, not scarce.

For people with diabetes, stress can negatively affect managing blood glucose levels. While individuals differ, people with Type 2 diabetes find that stress often increases blood glucose. Since high levels of blood glucose can also damage blood vessels, it's particularly important for people with diabetes to effectively manage stress.

While it's counter-intuitive, worrying about losing weight and getting in shape is not productive. In fact, not only is it not productive, it undermines your positive efforts. Instead, what is more helpful is focusing on a positive attitude, learning how to identify and manage stress, and cultivating healthy habits such as exercising when you feel wound up and relaxing when you feel very exhausted and drained.

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