Stress and Weight Gain

Looking at the image you’d never guess this was a person that worked out daily, motivated others to get in shape, and worked as a Personal Trainer for several years. But, it’s me. This isn’t a snapshot of 15 years ago when I was my heaviest. This was a couple of days ago, and I haven’t been in this situation since 2005.

Usually, I try and talk more about tips and advice, but I feel like I also need to talk about something that I haven’t found too much on (other than a blurb or two on other blogs).
You stress about your weight. Then you gain weight because of your stress. Then you stress more about your weight. So on and so on and it’s a never ending battle. I’ve never been an extremely stressed person. Years of studying and teaching Okinawa Karate has really helped me learn to keep my cool and just relax. However, this year has seen several events all pile on each other that have tested my ability to control my stress. Unfortunately, that’s also led to an excessive weight gain despite working out 30 minutes every day and keeping away from typical fried foods and junk.
If you do a search you’ll see everywhere that stress raises your cortisol, and if you don’t use the increased supply right away your body stores it as fat. For men, this is generally right around your waist and belly. This, I believe, is only part of what I’m dealing with. There’s no doubt there’s a physical component. For a decade my doctors would praise me for my low resting heart rate and low blood pressure. This past month alone my average resting heart rate has hovered around 95 and my blood pressure has skyrocketed. My sleep has been off, which is fun to track since I used to only get 4-6 hours a night but it was incredibly restful. Now I get 7-9 but it’s not restful at all. All of these things make up that physical part of being stressed, leading the body to store fat rather than burn it like it should. But there’s also the “I don’t give a shit and I’m going to eat and drink everything!”
It’s hard to be stressed while owning a place that has homemade beer cheese, amazing tots, and over 130 different beers. Even if the night starts well and I make it to close, inevitably I raid the kitchen and beer cooler packing on about 800 calories at the tail end of my evening. Back in January I lost almost 15 pounds drinking 3 beers a day, but I’ve doubled this amount in the past couple months. So while I’m working out, I’m eating all of those calories right back, and since I’m stressed my body isn’t burning those calories the way it’s supposed to. So what’s the solution?
So far for me it’s to buy bigger shorts, which I’m not a fan of. I haven’t done the “throw away what doesn’t fit” thing yet because I’m convinced I’ll beat this and get back down. I just saw a picture of me from 2011 dressed as an X-Wing Pilot and couldn’t believe just how fit I was. But it’s going to take getting rid of the root cause, the stress, to start seeing any results. Unfortunately, the stress revolves around multiple family issues so just getting rid of it is a more stressful thought than the stress itself.

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