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When you're living with stress, unless there is a pressing medical need to shed fat, then sometimes the best course is to be willing to maintain rather than force losses on a body that feels resistant to them. There is a lot to be said for maintaining rather than gaining when stressed.
I'm going to throw in the notion of allostasis (as I usually do when this topic surfaces) - which argues that we are part of many environments and sometimes we respond to changes in those environments, hormonally, behaviourally or physically in ways that make some sense but don't necessarily help us.
(I can't see any advertising on the site but to be on the safe side, searching with the terms:
Allostatic Load and Allostasis
Bruce McEwen and Teresa Seeman
should return a good overview of the topic. The wikipedia account of Allostasis is reasonable and quotes Sapolsky, below.)
Robert Sapolsky: Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers:
Homeostasis is the regulation of the body to a balance, by single point tuning such as blood oxygen level, blood glucose or blood pH. For example, if a person walking in the desert is hot, the body will sweat and they will quickly become dehydrated. Allostasis is adaptation but in regard to a more dynamic balance. In dehydration, sweat occurs as only a small part of the process with many other systems also adapting their functioning, both to reduce water use and to support the variety of other systems that are changing to aid this. In this case, kidneys may reduce urine output, mucous membrane in the mouth, nose and eyes may dry out; urine and sweat output will decrease; the release of arginine vasopressin (AVP) will increase; and veins and arteries will constrict to maintain blood pressure with a smaller blood volume.
We all know it isn't, but we sometimes talk as if losing body fat or controlling our appetite is a formulaic activity rather than the multi-factor phenomenon that it is and thinking about allostatic load reminds me of that.
If somebody is stressed at work and home, then mentally and emotionally, exercising may be good for them, but it doesn't necessarily follow that it isn't an added physical stress if you're also stressing your body by reducing calories. (IYSWIM) However, if the exercise is also soothing (see sailing mentioned above and kayaking for me) then that needs to be considered.
Adequate, restful sleep seems to be tremendously important in managing stress and weight management.
My jet lag when I come home is always delayed a few days and the last few days have been challenging trying to stay with it and I have failed. I'm exhausted from working two time zones and not eating properly. Oddly, for all I complained about US food when I moved I have found it horrid here this week. Maybe I'm just out of my routine. I'm just about to 'start' my day yet my first meeting was six hours ago.
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