Stressed OUT??? How daily stress can impact your Body weight, health, Sex drive, happiness and more.
Happy December beautiful people,
Have you ever heard of "chronic stress"? It is not the kind of stress that hits us hard and then just goes away, it nudges us with small consistent doses that pile up over time. It is the missed meeting, the rushed car ride, the unsettling comment made by your partner or friend. It’s the missed lunch, the physically stressful HIIT workout and the coming home to top it off with an insulin spike (aka a sugary glass of wine), but the grand finale is the worst...a demoralizing hit of playing the comparison game as you scroll instagram and watch super model moms make homemade almond milk in a pristine kitchen in Hawaii. No wonder we feel stressed!
You do not have to be CRAZY STRESSED OUT to be negatively affected by a sneaky little stress hormone called cortisol. Not sleeping, too much screen time, poor nutrition, not eating enough, exercising too much, putting too much pressure on yourself or comparing yourself to others can all wreak major havoc on your body and life.
Cortisol is not the devil, it is actually available to help keep you alive, it is meant to be your friend. If your body is stressed from illness or if there is immediate physical danger (ie: shark attack) cortisol can help us survive in short acute periods of stress. The type of stress that we are currently exposed to is not the acute stress of running from a lion, it is a chronic, low grade stress exasperated by disrupted sleep, overstimulation, over consumption of everything from caffeine to social media. It is exhausting just thinking about it and it is affecting our health and happiness in many ways.
Chronically elevated cortisol can cause the following problems:
• Suppressed immunity (results in constant colds, skin problems and more)
• High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
• Insulin resistance
• Carbohydrate cravings (sugars and breads)
• Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (Making it difficult to lose weight)
• Fat deposits on the face, neck, and belly
• Reduced or loss of sex drive
Am I experiencing all go these symptoms? No. Stress manifest differently for all of us and it can really hold us back from living our BEST life. That is why my #1 goal today and for 2019 is reducing these pesky stress hormones. I am using myself as a genea pig as I work with my naturopath to have all my hormones testing and to take daily steps to repair the damage from chronic over-exercising, over-scheduling (aka: lack of downtime) and over exposure to screens. I have gone through various periods of time where I was also not getting proper amounts of sleep and was doing fasted workouts, and far too many high intensity workouts.
My goal is always OPTIMAL health. Not average, feeling OK kind of health, I want to feel my absolute best!
My biggest focus right now is:
-Daily stretching or yoga to release and repair sore muscles.
-Less intense workouts. I do not do any extra cardio or High intensity training beyond my spin classes.
-Rest and recovery when ever possible, especially on busy days or physically active days
-Reducing all the "extras " in my schedule. “If it's not a hell yes, it's a hell no.”
-Proper nutrition and meal spacing. I try not to get too hungry and I try not to workout on an empty stomach. In the past I did a morning fast quite often and worked out on an empty stomach, although I do often recommend this for weightless clients who are hormonally sound, it is not a good idea if your body is already overworked or depleted, it just adds another layer of stress, which can increase cortisol level, making it very default to lose weight or achieve optimal fitness.
-Scheduled email and social media times. I am still working on this and will continue to explore what works best for me. I love sharing and I LOVE my work, but my body and mind needs stillness, clearity and lack of stimulation to truly recover. We all need this. We are not meant to be constantly bombarded with images, lights, and information (check out my call to action below).
Before you write me off as a complete mess...let me tell you what I am already doing to keep me moving in the right direction:
-Daily mediation and gratitude first thing in the morning.
-Daily reading. I read from a spiritual or motivational book every morning after meditation (2018 goal).
-Early bedtime (before 10pm is best).
-Plant based diet.
-Pilates and yoga (I have just added this to my morning routine)
-Lifestyle. My lifestyle is focused around my health in many ways, I try to stay away from excessive alcohol, caffeine, I strength train and do not eat many/any processed foods.
-I am continually in a growth mindset. I take daily action towards personal growth and evolution.
Call to action!
Who wants to set some boundaries?! I am really working on reducing my exposure to screens and media. Let's put our precious little phones to sleep at night. Let them sleep in a different room and get some things done in the morning without checking it. Turn off all possible notifications (aka: airplane mode) for 10-12 hours per day 7pm-7am is my goal. What times would work for you? Who wants to try it for a week?
Join me on FB Live this Monday as I kick off this week long challenge. Or watch the replay and post "I am in". I will check back in next Friday to see how it went.
Thank you for letting me share, it means the world to me. xo Anna.
Check out my Video on this topic
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