Do You Want to Lose Weight? Learn to Relax
If you want to lose weight, here’s why you need to relax. Our expert explains how the two are related.
One way to fight excess weight may surprise you. Besides clocking in time with a tread mill, it turns out we also need to do the opposite: learn to relax. Experts say managing stress effectively doesn’t only help with weight loss, but it makes us healthier overall.
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According to Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD, Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine, excess weight and high levels of stress contribute to lifestyle-related chronic disease — and the two are related.
“Relieving chronic stress leads to better eating and exercising. Those lifestyle practices are proven to stop the progression of — and sometimes reverse — some chronic diseases,” Dr. Golubic says.
You’ve heard people talk about illness that’s “all in your mind.” They may not be completely wrong.
That’s not to say illnesses are imaginary. But, according to Dr. Golubic, improved mental well-being is an important ingredient for overcoming:
Excess weight and high levels of stress contribute to lifestyle-related chronic disease — and the two are related. “Relieving chronic stress leads to better eating and exercising,” he says. “Those lifestyle practices are proven to stop the progression of — and sometimes reverse — some chronic diseases.”
Relaxing by practicing meditation, yoga and other mind-body techniques can make us more accepting of our emotional states, says Dr. Golubic. This acceptance leads to:
Studies have also reported significant weight loss in people who practice meditation. “Weight loss requires a resilient mind,” says Dr. Golubic. “We need mental strength to confront the challenges of today’s sedentary lifestyles, surrounded by processed and addictive food-like substances.”
More Americans are using mind-body approaches to improve their health and well-being, according to a recent nationwide survey. About 21 million adults (nearly double the number from 2002) and 1.7 million children practice yoga. Almost as many practice meditation.
You can try it too, by:
“The same approaches don’t work for everyone due to genetic or behavioral factors,” says Dr. Golubic. “Be bold, be persistent, and dare to experiment to find the most effective, sustainable self-care path for you.”