Handle Your Stress

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

The last few clients I have met with have all had one major theme in common. They were all trying to lose weight and just could not drop belly fat. Some of these clients were already on a paleo diet and others needed some dietary intervention. They all did share one thing in common and that was exceptionally high stress levels.

Chronic stress places us in a state of inflammation. This chronic systemic inflammation can make it extremely difficult to lose weight as well as increase our risk for disease. Excessive stress levels can also induce insulin resistance and this combination is a recipe for putting on weight in the midsection.

Another common theme amongst these clients was none of them thought they were stressed out. Some symptoms of stress are poor mood, hard time falling asleep, hard time staying asleep, waking up tired, declining performance in workouts, chronic fatigue, and chronic muscle and joint pain. If you have any of these symptoms you should take a deeper look at your stress levels.

Some things we can do to improve this are first, fix the sleep. Black out the room you sleep in entirely. This will help keep cortisol levels down and melatonin levels high. Light actually can increase cortisol and decrease melatonin making sleep impossible. Due to this same factor do not watch television or use the computer right before bed.

Also, find some time for you. A lot of people get stuck in a vicious cycle of work followed by family obligations, then bed, and then do it all over. At times you need a break from the action. This will take some personal searching to find something that you truly enjoy. Meditation can be a great way to block out all the stressors of everyday life and allow you to relax and get out of that state of chronic stress for a little while.

Take part in appropriate exercise. Exercise is a stressor and too much of it will further push us down the path of self destruction. However, in the appropriate amounts it can help us alleviate the symptoms associated with high stress levels. Make exercise fun as well. Find something active that you truly enjoy and do it. This can help it be an outlet for stress as well.

This next one is one that gets me in trouble at times. Do not overstimulate with stimulants! Alcohol and coffee can wreak havok on our cortisol levels. Keep the drinking of alcohol to a minimum and as far away from bed time as possible. Try switching in green tea for coffee as this is less of a stimulant and may keep you from having the nasty side effects associated with the removal of caffeine.

Lastly, if something is bothering you seek a qualified healthcare practitioner to talk to. A lot of people shy away from psychology and have negative thoughts to it, but it can’t hurt you and may actually play a huge role in you achieving your health and wellness goals. With this said try to find a professional that is not going to just prescribe medications, but natural remedies and education on specific relaxation techniques.

We all encounter more stress then our bodies are built to handle on a day to day basis. As I have seen with myself and with my clients this can be devastating o health and longevity as well as performance. For any goals to be reached whether they are performance goals or wellness goals stress plays a major factor and can be the difference in you attaining those same goals or not.

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