Stress Is the New Fat?

I stole today’s title from Jan Bruce and the original quote goes like this:

Busy is the new fine and stress is the new fat.

My first thought when I saw the quote was “Yes indeed”.

I stumbled upon Jan Bruce’s stress solution called meQuilibrium when I was watching an episode of Jonathan Fields’ GoodLifeProject TV the other day. (The video is more about building businesses but I discovered some very interesting stuff there.)

At some point in the video Jan Bruce – who has a long history in health, wellness and holistic medicine – mentions that at some point people started having more questions about managing stress than weight loss, which means that stress has become a HUGE factor in our lives.

In my opinion, the rise of information technology is the cause of our recent increase in stress. It has changed our (working) lives in one fell swoop and were are still desperately grasping for control.

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I filled a stress quiz at meQuilibrium and received a 9-page special report on stress. Much of what I read I was already familiar with, but there were some interesting tidbits that bear repeating:

Study after study has found that moderate to highly stressed people are 30% less likely to eat a healthier diet, 25% less likely to exercise, two times as likely to fail at losing weight, and sleep only half as well as people reporting low levels of stress.  (Source: The Download on Stress)

The report concludes that we really need to manage our stress like we need to manage our weight.

I agree. Stress is here to stay and if you can’t figure out a way to manage your it, stress is going to run your life.

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Comments

  1. Another great post Satu. I use stress as an excuse to allow myself to make unhealthy choices! It’s often not the stress I’m reacting to but the notion of treating that stress.

    I like to think I’m starting to do more to manage my stress (work-life balance decisions etc). Life’s short etc etc.

    Deb

    • Satu says:

      I do sometimes use stress as a reason (I hesitate using the word excuse for every occasion) for making unhealthy choices. On some cases I probably could’ve made a better decision, on some cases I felt like I had no control.

  2. Aimee says:

    I saw stress take over my eating this week. After a very successful summer of weight loss I had two really stressful events occur this past week. The stress compounded with picking up extra shifts at work and a huge disruption in my workout schedule. It started as a nibble here and a nibble there, but within a day or two I was eating differently, excusing my tastes and bites as a stress reliever. Though deep down I knew I would be left feeling guilty and disappointed with myself. I woke up this morning ready to put it all behind me. It’s over. No beating myself up. What’s done is done, but I don’t have to let it continue like I might have in the past. I am ready to pick up with the healthy eating habits I have been committed to all summer.

    I love the end thoughts in this post. I could have handled this past week much differently and hopefully in the future I will remember to use other coping skills besides eating to manage stress.

    • Satu says:

      Hi Aimee! That is the way it usually goes for me too.

      I’m doing mostly ok, but then for some reason the stress mounts and I lose control over my eating. I often wonder why it’s so difficut to stick to things that you alaready know are important to managing stress – like exercise. Often they are the first to go when you have to prioritize…

  3. Excellent post…and, of course, being angry with or hating our bodies causes stress, not fully enjoying our food causes stress, feeling guilty for being hungry/eating causes stress, beating ourselves up for our choices causes stress, exercising too hard/much causes stress….and so on and so forth. And the stress reaction is the release of too much cortisol, which creates belly fat!

    • Satu says:

      Hi Karen! Are trying to describe the modern lifestyle (for women) or what? Though I don’t admit I hate my body all the time – I’m frustarted with it only occasionally, usually if I try to shop for clothes 🙂

  4. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! I was talking with a neighbor who had her first baby at age 30. I had kid # 4 at age 30. I have just seemed to heap more stressful events into my life as a choice. So, when I can, I say no to things I don’t want to do. I don’t volunteer much, right now, because I can barely keep myself and my family in order. So, I guess we need to make good choices to lessen stress. Today, I’ve hardly been useful and it feels good.

    🙂 Marion

    • Satu says:

      Being useless sounds pretty good, Marion! 🙂 The problem for me is that I often feel guilty if I’m not using my time well. As if anyone could actually live one’s life without wasting time…

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