Is Stress the Root Cause of Your Weight Issues?

Are you stuck in a cycle of feeling chronically stressed? If so, you’re not alone- almost half of Canadians report being “really or seriously stressed” at least once a week and 16% report feeling really stressed every single day. These numbers are probably even higher now given the recent events happening in our world. 

We see stressed-out people regularly in our practice. When our clients fill out our “Root Cause Assessment” form, the ADRENAL SECTION is by far the most problematic area. 

When we’re under acute stress, our adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol. This is a normal biological process, but when we are chronically stressed our body begins to show symptoms of excess cortisol. Some of these symptoms are shown in the picture below.

Chronic stress also changes our bodies over time. Many of our clients complain of weight gain around the abdomen - that stubborn belly fat that you just can't get rid of, this is a common result of being chronically stressed. 

One of the things that we really focus on with our clients is helping them get out of this stressed-out state. 

If this sounds familiar to you here are some things you can try to incorporate into your life. 

Goodbye Stress, Hello Calm:

1. Focus on Rest and Recovery and Prioritize Sleep: Hustling and living off of caffeine and little sleep is commonly glorified in our modern society. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is good for you or that you can get ahead by living this way. You can’t. 

In fact, the more you make it a priority to get 8 hours of quality sleep a night and take a break when you need it, the more productive you will be when it’s time for you to get things done!

2. Spend Time in Nature: Japanese culture has an exercise called shinrin-yoku which translates to “forest bathing”. The goal of this exercise is to simply enjoy spending time and nature and soak in the forest atmosphere around you. This is a proven way to reduce cortisol, lower heart rate and blood pressure, boost the immune system, and improve feelings of happiness and creativity. 

If you don’t have a forest near you you can get the same results by just going outside and breathing in the fresh air, soaking up the sun’s rays, and mindfully gazing at the sky or a beautiful flower. If you aren’t able to get outside, try to adorn your home with live plants, unique crystals, and salt rock lamps to bring nature into your living space. 

3. Deep Breathing/Meditation: Spend some uninterrupted time every day deep breathing and meditating. There are so many ways to do this and you can have fun finding ways that fit well with your schedule. Perhaps you can find a corner of your home that brings you joy and use that for your daily meditation spot. 

Go on YouTube and create a playlist of your favorite mediations and breathing exercises or find apps that you like so that when you have the time to meditate can start right away. Try both guided meditations and just meditating on your own in silence. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency. Even just 5 minutes a day can lower your stress levels!

4. Learn to Say “No!”: Stop saying yes to things you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. Confidently saying no will give you more time to focus well on the things you are passionate about doing or must do for your growth and expansion. 

How can you do this? Anytime you are in a situation where you need to make a decision to say “yes” or “no”, PAUSE, BREATHE, and get into alignment and from that space make your decision. 

5. Simplify Your Life: Write a list of all the things that are making you feel stressed out. Go through it one by one and ask yourself how you can either get rid of the thing that is causing you stress, or change how you think about it. Remember nothing is going to change unless you change something. 

Other ways to simplify your life are to clean up your work and home space. Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose or bring you joy. 

What is your favorite way to reduce stress in your life? If you need some help getting out of a cycle of feeling chronically stressed, Schedule a Metabolic Discovery Call today.

5 Ways To Change Your Body's Response To Stress

I have yet to meet someone who does not have any stress! Have you? Do you know someone who has no stress? Or maybe someone who does but who manages their stress well? Well I am here to confirm to you, everyone has stress. Stress can come in many forms, the goal with stress is learning how to manage it and heal from it rather than it allowing it to control your every move and then begin that horrible downward spiral of poor health!

Stress can you give you headaches, make it virtually impossible to get from task to task or even for some people get up in the morning and get motivated to take on the day! Stress can feel overwhelming, it can feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest, smashing out every last bit of air leading to that word… anxiety! I have been there, shoot, I still have days where my stress can start to overwhelm me. However, throughout the years, I decided I was not going to let it control me anymore and I was going to take control of my health and how my body handles and heals from stress! I have compiled a list of 5 simple things you can do every day to start healing your body from the cycle stress plays on it. Now there is a lot you can do, but let’s just start with the basics!

Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing

When you start to feel that anxiety take a hold or beginning to feel overwhelmed, stop right there in your tracks. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart, then take a nice deep breath in through your nose. Feel your belly expand. Then hold that breath for an 8 count, then exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat this many times, you will begin to fill the tension decrease.

According to the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center, "Diaphragmatic breathing allows one to take normal breaths while maximizing the amount of oxygen that goes into the bloodstream. It is a way of interrupting the 'Fight or Flight' response and triggering the body's normal relaxation response."

Mindfulness

Becoming more aware of your thoughts is extremely important. This will allow you to take a step back from them and not react immediately. This will prevent your body from even initiating the stress response. As you become more mindful, you will train your body to not react to every stressful situation immediately. Mindfulness switches you from “doing” to “being”. By continuing to practice mindfulness through meditation you will learn to switch your attitude to the stress. Switching from negative emotions around the stressors, we can start to see it another way, perhaps be grateful and show gratitude for the situation as well. This switch in how you think will help to energize you and have a positive effect on your body and mind.

Sleep

Getting a great night’s rest is extremely important for so many reasons. Sleep plays an integral role in our immune function, memory, metabolism, learning capacity and many other vital functions. Follow these tips to start improving your sleep now!

  1. Avoid any blue light within 2-3 hours of going to bed. This means no TV, computer, phone any other electronics. If there is no way around this, then you can install different apps that will block the blue light being emitted from these devises. They also make glasses that will block the blue light.
  2. For optimal sleep, your bedroom should be dark and cool.
  3. Personally, I also love to use essential oils. I will diffuse lavender which has a calming and relaxing effect. This helps to calm the mind and body to prepare it for sleep.
  4. Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Your body is trying to wind down and these stimulants will prevent that from happening and you will not get a restful night’s sleep. Also avoiding doing any activity or encountering someone who may cause stress, this will increase the hormone cortisol which helps to manage stress and also prevents us from falling into a deep sleep. Cortisol is increased when we encounter a stressful situation.

Grounding

Simply put, grounding is putting your body in direct uninterrupted contact with the earth. Your skin needs to be touching the ground, earth, sand, soil, water or any conductive surface that is contact with the earth. The purpose of grounding is to help balance out the positive ions that our body over time builds up. Grounding exposes us to negative ions which helps to bring us back to a neutral state.

How exactly does earthing/grounding work? A little physiology taken from Dr. Briffa regarding grounding, “During the normal processes of metabolism the body generates what are called ‘reactive oxygen species’ which are commonly referred to as ‘free radicals’. These compounds appear to be important, at least in part because they have the ability to attack and destroy unwanted things within the body including bacteria and viruses. However, too many free radicals are a bad thing, and have been implicated in chronic disease and well as the very process of ageing.

Free radicals are involved in the process known as inflammation, which is part of the healing process. However, low-grade inflammation throughout the body may lead to pain and other problems in the muscles and joints, and is also believed to be a key driving factor in many chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In short, we want free radicals, but not too many.

Free radicals lack sparks of energy known as ‘electrons’. One way to quell them is to give them electrons, and these can be supplied by nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, and plant substances known as ‘polyphenols’ (found in, among other things, tea, coffee, cocoa and apples). However, substances we eat and drink are not the only way to get electrons into the body: earthing does this too. If the body has a positive charge on it, earthing allows electrons to flow into the body where, in theory, they can neutralize overblown free radical and inflammatory damage.

Carrying a positive charge may well affect the body in lots of different ways, which means that earthing may offer a range of wellbeing benefits.

Gratitude

Surround yourself with people that you love and make you feel happy and joyful. Find passion in your life. A daily practice of reflection and gratitude can change a stressful situation into an enjoyable one, for everything that happens has a purpose, we may just not know what that is in that moment.

Start with one of these tools and build from there, your body and mind will thank you. You will begin to get more done, feel much better doing it and be living proof!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can take better care of yourself through self-empowered health, join our FREE 30-day program where I share my best personal self-care tips by clicking here: www.30in30.org

If you’re ready to take full control of your health, find your blindspots, and work with a team of dedicated providers, learn more about our Living Proof Essentials program here: https://thelivingproofinstitute.com/essentials-program/