Taking Care of Yourself During Times of Stress


During times of stress, it’s more important than ever to nourish the body. Several of my clients have done well on the Fast Metabolism Diet, but when stressful times hit — a family crisis, difficulty at work, a loved one’s illness — they find it difficult to stay nourished. Here’s why stress can make weight loss a challenge and what you can do about it.

Stress and the body

When the body enters an extremely stressful state, it craves sugar.(Chocolate chip cookies, anyone?)

I like to call sugar, or glucose, the “crisis nutrient.” Your body needs it to keep you going, to feed the stress hormones, the adrenaline, and cortisol, that are coursing through your body.

When you experience a sustained period of stress, your body never gets back to a restful state. You keep pumping out those stress hormones, which keep you craving sugar. They also tell the body to hold on to stored fat, rather than burning it for fuel.

Fighting stress-induced weight gain

Fruit up!

Instead of reaching for packaged sugary foods, stock up on natural sugar sources: fruit. Pick up a bag of apples or oranges and “fruit up.” That will help your body get through the immediate crisis, and give it the sugar it craves.

Phase 1 for one week

To get back on track, it’s critical to soothe and stroke the adrenals, regulating the production of stress hormones. That’s what Phase 1 is all about. But this time, I want you to stay on Phase 1 for a whole week. The whole grains, lean proteins, and fruit on this phase will calm and soothe the body and get those adrenals the support they need.

Instead of the wheat and pastries, you might have eaten when stressed in the past, focus on whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice, which soothe stress without overtaxing your digestive system.

Once you're finished your week of Phase 1, you should regain some motivation and be excited to get back to the Fast Metabolism Diet, shedding the weight, and hopefully the last bits of lingering stress.

Stress-fighting wellness tips

There are other things you can do to support your body and mind through times of stress. Flower essences, especially Bach’s Rescue Remedy, are a gentle way to calm your mind.

Self-acupressure is another technique for finding calm. Deep breathing, a brisk walk, and avoiding caffeine can also help.