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Brant Secunda and Mark Allen

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If You Want to Lose Weight, Calm Down -- 10 Stress-Management Strategies

Posted: 02/23/2012 8:20 am

A number of studies show that stress not only leads to weight gain, but it also inhibits weight loss in people who are seemingly doing everything right. For example, a recent study published in the journal Hormones found that chronic stress leads to overeating, co-elevation of cortisol and insulin, and suppression of certain anabolic hormones that lead to abdominal fat and increased inflammation. Insulin spikes are also known to inhibit fat burning. Another study found that stress can make it difficult to lose weight because of the complex metabolic effects it triggers.

So if you want to lose weight or avoid weight gain, one step is to get a handle on your stress. Sounds good, but what do you do when you're facing a really difficult problem and it's stressing you out? Here are some simple ways to manage the stress, calm down, and turn your fat-burning machine back on.

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Exercising is one of the best cures for emotional stress -- but only if your exercise goals are realistic and your routines aren't too rigorous. Moderate aerobic exercise lowers levels of cortisol and elevates DHEA, the happiness and anti-aging hormone. While working out won't help you with that big credit card bill, it will help counteract the stress response in the body.

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You now have more than enough strategies to help you calm down. Try as many of these as you can until you really get the hang of calming down. Once you get really good at managing your stress, your weight-loss and weight-maintenance goals may be much easier to achieve.

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