3 Seemingly Harmless Habits That Can Worsen Your Level of Stress
Just like there are bad habits that are actually good for you, there are things that people do habitually that they think are good when they’re really not.
Maybe it seemed logical but then turned out not to be true once science looked at it.
1. Eating Unnaturally "Low-Fat" Food
Due to all the bad press that fat gets, a lot of people think they’re doing the right thing when they buy low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat dressing and so forth – but it’s not good for you. The main reason is that they usually replace the fat with sugar to make it palatable. Eating natural fat is much better for you than sugar, plus it satiates you longer and it gives an incredible taste to your food too.
So instead of avoiding naturally occurring fats, we would like to encourage you to include more healthy fats into your meals, such as avocado, pumpkin/ sunflower seeds, nuts, flax seed oil, fish etc. It’s scientifically proven that Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial to prevent surges in stress hormone, aka cortisol. You can improve your mood significantly just with this simple step.
2. High Intensity Exercises 5 times a week
This is a common misconception that people think they need to follow in order to lose weight or simply release stress and clear their mind. It may be very effective to burn fat and improve stamina in general, and certainly helps you forget about daily struggles, but too much high intensity exercise can actually increase your level of stress and slow your weight loss journey too.
Spinning, Cross fit, HIIT trainings, if done too frequently, are all stimulating stress hormone (cortisol) production. The downside of this is not simply feeling always “switched on” and restless, but unfortunately cortisol is known as our primary fat storage hormone. Consequently, if we keep triggering the production of it, we may experience more weight gain or weight stagnation rather than weight loss. What we advise instead is to find a more balanced way to exercise and give your body adequate time to rest and recover. It would be beneficial to alternate weight training and HIIT plus if you fancy, try out some yoga/ Pilates classes too.
3. You Eliminate Carbs from Your Diet
It’s a very trendy thing nowadays to give up carbs completely (ketogenic diet). Did you know that this type of diet has been invented specifically for people suffering from epilepsy to help control seizures?
It is prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored by a dietitian. It is usually used in children with seizures that do not respond to medications. It is stricter than the modified Atkins diet, requiring careful measurements of calories, fluids and proteins. Foods are weighed and measured. The name ketogenic means that it produces ketones in the body. (keto = ketone; genic = producing) Ketones are formed when the body uses fat for its source of energy instead of glycogen (sugar). Glycogen is the body’s PRIMARY source of energy and it’s mainly gained from grains such as pasta, bread, potatoes etc. Most of our organs uses fat to keep themselves functional, but our brain needs carbs to be on an optimal level.
So if your health is not at risk, and you haven’t been prescribed any specific treatment by your doctor, removing carbs from your diet may not be unnecessary. Just think about how much joy and fun you are taking away from yourself by eliminating bread or potatoes or pasta from your everyday life. Don’t add extra stress to your life. Food is meant to be a source of joy not stress.
Ultimately the main goal is to find a balance that works the best for YOU and your lifestyle. If you feel too stressed or overloaded by chores or tasks, take a step back. You are allowed to relax and take time for yourself.
If you're looking for extra motivation or guidance in your health and wellbeing journey, one-to-one sessions with a dedicated trainer can make a real difference to your wellbeing. Our personal trainers are here to help! Find out more by clicking the link below.