You know the ol’ saying… “the two things you can’t avoid in life are death and taxes!”

Well it’s that time of year again- tax season! And if you’re like many folks you may feel increased stress around this time of year.

But you owe it to yourself to keep your stress under control as much as possible.

When your body is subjected to ongoing stress, unhealthy changes occur at the chemical level and these changes can lead to food cravings and weight gain.

How does your body react to stress?

When you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. In small amounts, cortisol doesn’t present a huge problem. But when the stress is chronic, such as during the weeks surrounding tax season, the concentration of cortisol in your body
stays elevated with undesirable results.

This can cause you to crave bad foods such as candy bars and potato chips. And the presence of cortisol will cause many of these extra calories to be stored as abdominal fat- this ain’t good!

You may also find it hard to eat in moderation while stressed, because cortisol can actually interfere with the chemicals in your body that control appetite. That ain’t good either!

But now for the good news…

While you can never get away from all stress, there is much you can do to keep it under control.

Consider the following tips to outsmart stress in your life-

Exercise: You can reduce cortisol levels in your body by exercising. To make the most of your
workout time try metabolic interval training like we do at Tulsa Fitness Systems. But even just doing any regular exercise has been shown to help reduce stress.

Eat Well: During times of stress, fuel your body smartly. Be intentional about eating nourishing
foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and supplements that have a good balance of protein and fiber. Eating these types of foods will keep your blood sugar level
steady and you’ll be less likely to give in to the cravings that cortisol causes.

Don’t skimp on sleep:
By getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night you can reduce your cortisol levels by more than half of that of people who get less than six hours! You really can
sleep away stress!

Make time to relax: Taking time to unwind is not a luxury; it is a necessity if you are going to master your stress. Find something that makes you laugh and smile, get a massage or just breathe deeply. Your mind has a profound impact on your body- take advantage of this by finding time to relax every day. I’m a self-pronounced workaholic so I struggle with this one personally myself. But it is very important to find time where you can unwind and totally clear
your head!

Use these stress-busting tips to get you through the 2012 tax season and any other stressful time and kick your stress to the curb!

Of course, if you need some good stress-busting fat burning workouts you’ll get those with us here at Tulsa Fitness Systems!