Who has not experienced 24/7 STRESS? As busy women most of us do regularly, however, we were never meant to experience CHRONIC STRESS! We are supposed to have small amounts which are both beneficial and necessary, followed by a return to a state of relaxation. Hmmm, what is that you ask?
Stress releases the hormone CORTISOL responsible for many important functions in our body:
- Glucose metabolism
- Blood pressure regulation
- Insulin release to maintain level blood sugars
- Inflammation response
When we have too much cortisol in our body for too long (that would be for most of us!) it adversely affects many important functions. The missing link for many women and problems with weight loss is stress and cortisol! Here’s why:
Too much cortisol causes
- Decreased thyroid function
- Sugar imbalances
- Increased abdominal fat
- Decreased immune system function (this is another very significant finding that stress=sickness)
I see women in my practice who complain that they exist on “carrots and celery”, yet do not lose any body fat at all, ever. While a low calorie, deprivation diet is very unhealthy (e.g. lowers metabolism and deprives the body of needed nutrients) when I ask about their stress levels inevitability one of the missing pieces becomes clear. The reason for stress and weight gain? Cortisol is often the culprit!
So, what can we do to reduce our constant stress and therefore reduce our cortisol levels? Here are some useful tips – both nutritional and lifestyle:
- Walk daily – for exercise AND very therapeutic. I personally have conversations with myself
- Yoga – studies do show it definitely works to reduce stress and weight and has numerous other health benefits
- Breathe deeply, often! Simple, yet extraordinarily effective and feel effects immediately!
- Sex – YES, sex reduces stress in many ways, not the least is that in women it releases our “feel good and loving” hormone, Oxytocin. Try it and see for yourself!
- Use femMed natural supplements formulated specifically for women. In particular, I recommend Weight Management, Hormonal Balance and Menopause Relief to help reduce stress and cortisol.
- Exercise moderately 5-6 times a week. Even 30 minutes makes an enormous difference.
- 200 mcg Chromium may help reduce sugar cravings
- Carbs are not ALL bad – try eliminating all white carbs and do add in brown rice, sweet potato, whole and ancient grains, oatmeal and lots of brightly coloured vegetables. Why? Helps raise your feel good neurotransmitter – SEROTONIN. Amino acids also do this, naturally.
- Empower yourself with supportive personal development seminars and weekends
As women, our health must come first – without it we cannot assist our families, colleagues, friends and most of all, ourselves! Please commit to adding in just 3 of the stress reducers for the next 30 days and let us know how you feel. Fight stress and weight gain. YOU are worth it!
Stress is one of the main reasons for lack of energy.
43% of all Adults Suffer the Adverse Health Effects of Stress, and Stress-Related Ailments Account for 75–90% of all Visits to Physicians. Lack of energy or fatigue is one of the most common complaints today and one of biggest causes behind a persistent lack of energy is stress. Stress has become a common complaint of life in the fast lane. We don’t have enough time, take on too much, worry about health and wealth, and feel overwhelmed and stressed out on a regular basis.
Stress and Disease In response to stress, the body releases stress hormones—adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol—to prepare the body to fight, hence this is known as the fight or flight response. Heart rate, blood pressure, and lung tone increase to enhance the function of the heart and lungs. Numerous studies have linked stress to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, anxiety, depression, memory loss, insomnia, muscle tension, obesity, fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction, menstrual cycle disturbances, and many more problems.
Stress Management Stress can certainly take a toll on your body and mind, so it is absolutely crucial to find ways to cope effectively. Start by identifying your stressors and then look for ways to change your reaction to those situations. It may be a matter of analyzing and rethinking your natural reaction, avoiding certain situations, or utilizing one of the following stress-reducing strategies. Seeking help from a counsellor or psychologist can be very helpful to learn coping techniques and strategies.
Meditation Focusing on a single object or your breath or a sound occupies your mind and diverts it from the problems that are causing you stress. Many studies have found this an effective and practical way to manage stress. All you need is a quiet, comfortable area. Sit down and close your eyes. Relax all your muscles starting with your feet and working up. Focus your attention on your breathing or a calming sight or sound. Breathe in slowly and deeply and then out. Do this for 10 or 20 minutes.
Breathing Techniques Taking slow, controlled breaths is a great way to promote calming when feeling stressed or anxious. Sit down comfortably and close your eyes. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Begin by exhaling through your mouth around your tongue, then close your mouth and inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for five seconds and then completely exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Repeat this cycle four or five times.
Exercise Getting regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress, promote calming, and im- prove both physical and emotional well-being. Exercise can help elevate your mood, lessen anxiety and anger, and increase blood flow to the muscles, which tend to be tense from stress. Keep in mind, though, that you also need to find ways to change your reaction to stress. Yoga and tai chi are excellent forms of exercise to promote relaxation, as they incorporate breathing and visualization.
Visualization This technique involves concentrating on images in your mind that make you feel calm and relaxed. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and visualize a picture or event that made you feel calm and centred. Focus on the details—the sounds, images, and smells.
Here Are Eight Steps To Optimize Your Health And Energy Levels:
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits provide us with sustained energy along with essential fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Ensure adequate protein to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Good protein sources include fish, lean poultry, beans and seeds.
- Develop Good Sleep Habits. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Get into a routine of going to bed and rising at the same time each day. If you are struggling to get a good night sleep, consider a natural remedy that contains L-theanine, 5-HTP and melatonin. These nutrients can help improve sleep quality.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise boosts energy levels and improves your overall feeling of well-being. It also helps reduce stress and improves sleep.
- Manage your stress. Try meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises.
- Take a multivitamin with antioxidants. A multi can help make up for gaps in your diet and ensure that your body gets all the vital nutrients needed to function optimally. B-vitamins are required for energy production in the body and they also help combat the effects of stress. Antioxidants fight free radical damage, which can result from too much stress. Look for a multi that contains antioxidants, such as pomegranate, lycopene, and grape seed extract.
- Limit your intake of alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol makes you drowsy and impairs sleep. Nicotine is a potent stimulant that can cause irritability, anxiety, and impair sleep quality.
- Drink adequate fluids. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headache and impair concentration. Drink lots of purified water and when you feel like you want a boost have a cup of green tea. The antioxidants and amino acids in green tea can boost energy levels and provide other health benefits.
- Consider an energy supplement. For those times when you need extra energy but don’t want the jittery effects that come with energy drinks or coffee.
Certain herbs and nutrients can help increase energy levels and stamina and support the body in times of stress without causing over-stimulation. Look for a supplement that contains ingredients such as Siberian ginseng and Rhodiola rosea to help give you a lift.
If you suffer with persistent fatigue, talk to your doctor. Aside from stress and lack of sleep, fatigue may be caused by prescription medication, depression, low thyroid, fibromyalgia, and anemia.