1. STRESS. Stress puts a huge burden on your body. When you’re producing the stress hormone cortisol, it’s very difficult to lose weight, and you often develop stubborn fat around the middle of your body. Serotonin wipes out cortisol and is produced when the nervous system’s physical relaxation response is engaged. Hot baths, laughter, great sex, and (although seemingly counterintuitive) exquisite food, enjoyed slowly, are all great places to start.
2. LACK OF SLEEP. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your hunger signals are thrown off and you crave high-fat and/or high-sugar foods, leading to weight gain. Aim for eight hours per night, and your cravings and weight will naturally come into balance.
3. NEGATIVE WORKPLACE. A disrespectful boss and/or gossiping coworkers engage the body’s stress response and make you feel useless, stupid, judged, or all three. It’s likely you spend forty hours or more in your workspace each week, so do everything you can to make it a positive environment or consider changing jobs if it becomes clear that it’s not possible to improve your current situation.
4. TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS. Physical, emotional, and/or verbal abuse greatly contribute to the stress response. Honor your intrinsic worth and choose your relationships accordingly.
5. ISOLATION. Do you tend to isolate yourself and have trouble reaching out to others? It’s great to spend time alone, but if you’re feeling stressed, it’s really helpful to connect with others and feel like you’re in a community. Next time you’re feeling weighed down, call or meet up with a friend or family member, even if only for a short period of time.
6. OVER-PACKED SCHEDULE. When you over-schedule yourself, you don’t have time to fully feel into each experience – you merely skim the surface. Remove extraneous events from your calendar and move away from wearing stress as a badge of honor. Choose your commitments wisely – whether it’s a business engagement or a friend’s birthday party – and bring your whole glorious, calm self.
7. LACK OF VACATION TIME. All work and no play doesn’t feed your soul. Many ambitious people have trouble taking vacation time, but the truth is that time off brings on the best inspiration. Value your down time as much as your work and you’ll see how they balance each other nicely – no need to teeter between the two!
8. DISTANCE FROM FAMILY. Do you live far away from your family and feel disconnected from them? Make it a point to take trips to see them, schedule regular Skype/FaceTime dates, or consider moving closer to them. We often take family for granted when we should honor and celebrate them – they’re often our biggest supporters and fans.
9. EXTERNAL FACTORS OUT OF YOUR CONTROL. A lot of people allow themselves to get stressed when they hit traffic or their train breaks down. Fully acknowledge that these types of events are out of your hands and that your job is to breathe, accept, and show compassion toward yourself and others.
10. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS. People trying to lose weight often disregard environmental toxins and pollution. To protect yourself, get as much fresh air as possible and build up your immune system by eating organic food and minimizing toxic skin and hair products. Spend as much time as possible in nature.