If you’re like most people, your two most common complaints are a lack of energy and an excess of fat. We have some insider information that can help you combat both of these issues two times a day. But, as they say, knowledge is power so let’s start with a little information.
Stress is a part of daily life with the majority of people reporting work or money as their top source of worry – at least until 2017. Now, according to The America Psychological Association’s Report “Stress in America: Coping With Change” 57% of us report that the current political climate is a significant source of stress.
Whether you are stressed about a Facebook post or being chased by a saber tooth tiger, your body’s reaction is the same. When you feel threatened physically or psychologically, your adrenal glands jump in to rescue you. Fight or flight is real. You are experiencing it many times a day and it could be making you gain weight.
Glucose is the body’s best source of fuel so when you’re stressed your body craves sugar or foods like starches that quickly convert to sugar. When you answer the body’s call for sweetness, typically with the one-two punch of caffeine and sugar, blood glucose levels are elevated and insulin tells the cells to absorb glucose to prepare you to duke it out or run for your life. After the perceived threat has past, the adrenal glands produce cortisol to slow the absorption of insulin in the cells and bring you back into balance.
But if you are like the rest of us, this roller coaster ride happens all day long and your poor adrenal glands are worn out. Tired adrenal glands, or adrenal fatigue, leads to low cortisol levels. Low cortisol levels lead to excess blood glucose. The body can’t have excess glucose circulating around so it stores it – AS FAT.
So what can you do to break this vicious cycle? Give your body what it needs when it needs it.
Most people experience energy dips at 10am and 2pm each day that have them running for the vending machine or fridge. But instead of keeping yourself in the hypoglycemia/adrenal fatigue cycle, follow these two steps at 10 and 2 to relieve stress and stop storing fat.
A short three minute meditation can do wonders to stop the stress reaction in its tracks.
- Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position with as few distractions around as possible (a busy waiting room at the doctor’s office or other equally stressful location can work, too).
- Close your eyes if you can and, if not, focus your eyes softly on a point in the distance.
- Begin to breathe deeply – breathe in slowly for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 and hold your breath for a count of 4. Repeat this breathing throughout the meditation.
- Beginning with your toes, imagine your breath flooding in and bringing with it total relaxation. Use your exhale to release excess stress. Move to your feet and then to your ankles. Continue up the body until you reach the top of your head.
Deep breathing sends a message to your body that you are safe and it can relax. Use the above tool as many times a day as you need to and deepen the benefits by extending the meditation to 20-45 minutes several times a week.
Eat a Snack
Grazing during the day, especially during your low energy times at 10 and 2, keeps the blood sugar level and the adrenal glands happy. A quick snack with a balance of potassium, sodium, and natural sugar (from fruit) is ideal. Try treats like:
- Apple, celery, and dates
- Orange, avocado, and spinach
- Sweet potato, kale, and lemon juice
- Cucumber, avocado, and lime juice
- Banana, dates, and romaine lettuce
For more snack ideas click here.
We will leave you with this thought: Stress is a construct of your mind. How you perceive the world dictates how you react to it. Use this to your advantage. If you are stressed about a situation, change your way of thinking about it. Look for the blessing or the lesson in it and do your best to make your perception positive.
Meanwhile, take three and eat a snack.