The word “diet” conjures up many thoughts. The main ones being how much weight do I “need” to lose, “could” lose, or “should” lose. And in spite of the $60 billion spent annually on diet and weight loss books, pre-packaged diet food and supplements, in the USA, 73% of men and 63% of women are still overweight.
What if we looked at this a little differently?
What if we focused on cleaning up our lifestyle versus just losing weight. For example, what if instead of trying lose weight, we made better food choices and cut out the increasing amounts of sugar that’s in most processed foods today? What if we made sure each area of our life was in order so we had less stress and worry that likely contributes to over-eating as a way of numbing what we feel or, worse, ignoring what needs attention.
Tweetable What if instead of trying to lose weight, we made better food choices? #healthychoices @staceycrew
Why would this be a better option? Stress.
Stress produces many reactions in our body, one being increased cortisol. Cortisol is the “stress” hormone. There’s a normal increase in cortisol, for example, when we get up in the morning or engage in exercise, heart-rate increasing activities. It helps us get moving and stay moving for a period of time. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT. When there’s an increase in cortisol for extended periods of time, this produces adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue causes issues such as: insomnia, exhaustion, weight gain, low blood sugar, cravings, severe PMS issues for women, dark circles under the eyes, premature aging, heart palpitations, lower back pain, dry and unhealthy skin, muscle twitches, and more.
So how do we naturally reduce stress and begin to “fix” adrenal fatigue?
- Exercise — If you’re very stressed, be sure to engage in a low-impact activity. Running at high speeds, for example, will only stress your body more. Choose something like yoga or walking. Being outdoors and breathing fresh air is great, so maybe a bike ride or fast-paced walking. But get moving and stretching.
- Maintain a balanced blood sugar level— To avoid the ups and downs associated with too much caffeine and sugar, then the subsequent crash, this means eating protein for breakfast and replacing donuts for fruit, or better yet, vegetable snacks early on in the day. A green smoothie or celery juice provides you with the nutrients your body needs. Plan your meals, snack on substantial food and nourish your body with fresh foods that don’t contain an ingredients label.
- Order — This comes in the form of not only cleaning up our diet and getting on a healthy routine, but also addressing our finances and making sure we know where our money is going, repairing broken relationships (or at least coming to terms with the reality of what is), decluttering our homes so they are relaxing and enjoyable, and creating space for fun activities and healthy ways of checking out from the day-to-day grind. Make your own list and begin chipping away at each area by doing one small thing every day.
- Get more sleep — Okay, so if you’re fatigued and are having trouble sleeping, sometimes it’s very difficult to get out of the rut. Some suggestions would be to eliminate or reduce caffeine by 3pm each day. Put the smartphone down an hour before bed. Turn off the TV!! I can’t stress that enough. If you have one in your bedroom, remove it! Take a bath or hot shower. Drink some caffeine-free tea. Read a book. Practice a meditation. Breathe.
Tweetable Decluttering our homes allows us to relax and enjoy our space. #healthychoices @staceycrew
The importance of reducing stress
By reducing stress, you will likely naturally shed the weight. Especially if you’re making time to exercise, eat right, relax and enjoy life. For me personally, stress reduction is the gateway to weight loss and/or maintaining an ideal weight. My personal experience is that when I’m stressed, I’m in a state of anxiety and typically hyper-focused on issues that I have no control over. However, when I begin to focus what I can control and put things in order, I can then more easily focus on self care.
So what’s your biggest struggle surrounding the reduction of stress in your life? A hectic schedule, 5pm rush hour whether it’s family dinner or true rush-hour car traffic, finding time to exercise? For many years, I struggled with finding a regular exercise routine. Then I discovered yoga and a studio I love. I actually look forward to it and make the time to go. Please comment below and share this article if you found it to be helpful. Will you incorporate any of the suggestions here?
Thanks and have a great day!