Are you over exercising ? Have you been hitting the gym, doing HIIT 5 times a week, eating right(restricting calories) and still feel stuck with weight loss, stagnant and depleted of energy? Well, this might be because your sympathetic nervous system/ fight or flight system has been dominant. When our bodies are in the state of chronic stress ( this happens over a period of time/ years through work, life in general, enviornment stressors etc). It starts to store fat and is always using sugar as fuel. ( sugar cravings, eating often, energy ups and downs) The HIIT sessions or vigorous morning runs are not ideal if you are already in a state of stress/ fight or flight/ SNS dominant. To top it all you have also cut down on calories to expends more and eat less- classic example that i see with many clients!
These exercises secretes adrenaline (stress hormones)which can backfire specially if you are already in the state of chronic stress. This can cause burnout eventually - which means feeling tired and wired, low energy, weight gain etc. And cutting / restricting calories adds to the stressors and secretes more cortisol to deal with limited food supply. Now you see why the body is still storing on to fat( specially around the belly) after all the workouts and eating restricted calories! Well, all these exercises are ok to perform if your nervous system is balanced - which simply means a balance between fight or flight and rest and digest (SSN and PNS). Your nervous system needs both these responses of stress and rest to be in balance and at the right time. To get your parasympathetic nervous system stimulated and to balance your nervous system these are a few tips that you can immediately perform . 1. Reduce or eliminate HIIT or intense workouts to once or better still give your body a few weeks to rest and repair. Remember exercise is not punishment. 2. Take 30 mins walk in the nature instead. A yoga, pilates class works very well too. 3. Reduce the liver stressors like - sugar , alcohol , caffeine and processed junk food. Time your meals and eat unprocessed food. 4. Maintain a good sleep hygiene - at least try to sleep by 10pm, thrice a week. Follow a good circadian rhythm. Small steps are more important than one big step. Your body knows how to heal itself only if you give it a chance.