Stress! Who needs it? Noone but we all suffer with it (well most of us anyway).  Stress is nothing new, but the way that we deal with it now (or don’t) means that we tend to be suffering from stress on some level, all of the time.  In the distant past, our stress would likely have been something to do with being chased by a sharp toothed animal who wanted us for his tea, now it’s more likely to be traffic, money, work, and poor food choices that cause the problem. So what’s the difference?  Well running away from the sharp toothed animal would have created a hormonal “soup” that would have negated the stress hormone, cortisol, helped us run as fast as we could and we would return to pre-stress state. Nowadays we don’t really  have a way to deal with the constant stress – we don’t run away (physically anyway) or have a fight with the next caveman and so our cortisol levels remain high all of the time. Once this is combined with insulin (from excess carb intake and/or insulin resistance), we have a fat storing nightmare!
It’s really important therefore for anyone who wants to lose fat, to see stress as an integral factor within their daily regime.  Meditation, mindfulness, exercise, good sleep, breathing technqiues, natural supplements, time with friends etc, can all help to reduce coritsol and increase happy hormones.  Shorter, heavy weight based exercise can also generate increased growth hormone which works WITH cortisol to burn fat.
So next time you think health and fitness is all about calories, think again !