5 Ways to Reduce Stress and Lose Weight Faster
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Until I started journaling my weight-loss experience, I didn’t realize I was stressed out. The day-to-day responsibilities of motherhood, puppy care, work deadlines, volunteering at school, and housework just seemed to be the way life is for everyone I know.

However all three of my experts agree that stress management can help with weight loss for several reasons: Less stress means we’re not craving blood sugar-spiking foods (like chocolate and donuts), caffeine, and alcohol, all of which can trigger weight gain.

Here’s how I’m making an effort to manage my stress to help the scale move down:

1. Have fun. When my life coach, Kate Larsen, asked me what I do for fun, I’m pretty sure I cocked my head with a confused look on my face and said, “Fun?” It was then that I realized that I rarely made time to do anything for myself, especially anything "fun." Since then I’ve made an effort to change that. I now schedule weekly coffee or lunch dates with friends, on the weekends I find fun outings for the family—for example, we recently visited the Ice Castles at Mall of America—and I’ve set up some date nights with my husband.

RELATED: Plan some fun with your husband or boyfriend on the cheap: Take him on one of these 40 free dates you'll both love.

2. Self care. I’m a self-admitted girlie-girl and enjoy taking time for massages, pedicures, and manicures, something I wasn’t doing nearly enough. Now I’m booking some self-pampering, which makes me feel happy and relaxed, each month.

3. Gym. There are days when I wake up feeling a little grumpy (like today), and when I look at my schedule, there’s a good chance I skipped the gym the day before. Exercise relieves stress, so on days like today I know I better ensure a trip to the gym is in order.

4. Quality sleep. I wrote about the importance of good sleep a few weeks ago, and it’s imperative that we all get a good night’s sleep to avoid stressful days. Otherwise we end up dipping our fingers into the candy bowl and making repeated visits to the coffee pot. Of course, it works the other way too. When we’re less stressed, we tend to sleep better. Therefore paying attention to our stress levels around the clock is important.

5. Sauna. My trainer, Tomery, urged me to try the sauna after my workouts. The 10 minutes of sweating has been life-changing. I’m addicted! Sauna time increases the metabolism, improves circulation, and best of all it releases endorphins, the happy chemicals. Sauna time almost guarantees relaxation!

How do you unwind? I’d love to receive some news ideas.

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