Stretch Your Way to Stress Release, Curb Holiday Cravings

Looking for weight loss tricks to help you cope for the holiday season? Believe it or not, one of the easiest and nearly effortless methods of exercise is actually one of the best for reducing cravings and curbing hunger. Stretching exercise, such as yoga and pilates, help the body to release tension from the joints and muscles. This is a huge way to combat hunger cravings that may not result from being actually, truly hungry at all.

Tension is the a cause for “false hunger” in many cases, as the body seeks out ways to relieve the overall burden on the nervous system. How does this work?

When our bodies face stress, we go into what is known as fight or flight mode, which means that our nervous system is ramping up for a potential attack. Our heart rate speeds and our breathing quickens. Cortisol and adrenaline production increase. The nervous system lets quick reactions take precedence over things like rest and repair. Digestive and reproductive functions are put on hold while our bodies prepare to fend off or flee from the potential danger. There may not be an actual danger, but the modern stress response is the very same as it was when early humans ran wild with the animals.

Sugar and fat fuel the brain with feel-good chemicals, with sugar especially being a highly addictive substance. So when we face stress in our daily lives, or when we are unable to make time for a release of the tension that naturally builds up in our muscles each day, we also are more likely to want sugar instead of healthy foods.

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After stress builds, we may find ourselves struggling with real cravings, wanting to kiss the diet goodbye and return to those sweet treats that unfortunately only provide a very short-term boost to the nervous system before causing that “crash and burn” feeling that we’re all so well familiar with.

A better, healthier option for ditching diet-destroying sugar cravings is by stretching it with yoga or a similar type of exercise.

If you have never done yoga, remember that this is a learn-and-improve-as-you go style of gentle, non-competitive exercise. People of all ages and ability levels can do yoga. Plus, the more you practice holding the simple but effective yoga poses each day, the better at it you will become.

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