This is the last of a five-part blog series titled, “Get Your Body Back After Baby” which is based on a past School of Mom Facebook chat session, where I discussed “Five Tips to Get Your Body Back After Baby”. The following is taken from chat transcript, where I discussed Tip 5: Stress Management.
Question for you: Why does yoga help people lose weight?
That’s a pretty loaded question, I grant you, what with all of the hot yoga and popular power vinyasa flow styles on the market. Think slow, stretchy, hatha-style yoga. Why would this kind of yoga help people lose weight?
Put simply? STRESS RELEASE.
As a yoga teacher, I can tell you that it is not the poses in and of themselves that cause people to lose weight (not that the Warrior series isn’t a great way to tone your glutes, on the contrary…), it is ultimately the mental effects of yoga that cause the weight loss.
Yoga not for you? That’s fine. There are many, many, many relaxation techniques out there. Getting adequate sleep is part of this, but there are so many other aspects.
Chronically stressed people have their sympathetic nervous system running all the time. THIS IS NOT GOOD. Our sympathetic nervous systems are meant to kick in during times of danger, when we need to fight or flight. During such an event, our bodies react by focusing all of it’s energy into the muscles and organs needed for fight or flight. Blood is drawn away from the digestive organs, our heart rates and blood pressure increase, and we become very, very, antsy!
Is it any wonder then, that we have trouble losing weight? That we have no libido? Proper digestion and balanced emotions require the body to be at ease. ARE YOU AT EASE?
This is probably the toughest of all of them, and I’m sure it’s no wonder that people can literally invest thousands of dollars on self-help programs teaching them to relax and be happy! Is it worth it? Certainly, if you apply what you learn, of course.
This is a short list, but here are a few things that help with stress release:
- Breathing exercises (if you’ve had a baby, you already know a few!)
- Meditation (I can recommend a great group if you’re interested)
- Walking in nature, or if it’s too cold, just walking anywhere!
- Listening to soft, slow, music
- Listening to a guided meditation (Omvana is a free app that has GREAT meditations)
- If you’re crafty, knitting/crocheting/sewing, etc.
I want to emphasize this: stress increases cortisol, and excess cortisol leads to excess belly fat and weight retention. Reducing your cortisol levels – your stress levels – has a direct effect on your health and body weight.
And that’s the final tip! I hope you found all five of them useful. If you haven’t already, read the first four tips here: