If your anything like me, every holiday season you tell yourself "This year will be different"! But then the momentum of the holidays picks up and good intentions get steamrolled. Usually it's because the kids schedule changes, my schedule changes, shopping and cooking has to be done, traveling has to be planned, and everything needs to be coordinated with everyone else's plans too!
When the dust finally settles, it's always the same. I'm exhausted and tell myself "Next year will be different". And of course, my waistline has grown 3 sizes too big. I always thought the reason for the increased inches was because of my food choices, and some years that is absolutely true. But there have been years where I made good choices, and still felt the same way - exhausted and heavier. Everything changed when I learned one simple truth. We gain weight when we are stressed out. More accurately, stress makes us fat.
STRESS is NOT A FEELING!
When most people hear the word stress, they probably think of frustration or anger. But the truth is, stress is not a feeling. It is a neurological state where your body is in overdrive. It's like your brain has the gas pedal floored and doesn't know how to use the brakes.
Fight or Flight is a term used to describe what happens to your body when you experience stress. Your body has to decide to either stay and fight or run away. Both choices require a quick burst of energy. And your body does everything it can to get energy. It shuts down non-essential systems like reproduction and digestion so it can divert all of that energy to muscles and reflexes. Your body also focuses on the fastest burning energy source it can get it's hands on, sugar (also called glucose). In a stress situation, even if you are in ketosis, your body will raise your glucose levels and store excess energy as fat. This is great if you are trying to run away from a bear, but bad if you are just living your life trying to survive the holidays.
3 simple things to do this holiday season to help reduce stress:
There are so many days where I feel like by the time 9 am rolls around, I am already behind the eight ball. Everyone's best days begin a little bit differently, but they all start by getting their mindset right. We know the worst thing we can do is check our emails first thing in the morning and consequently, the best thing we can do is take 5 minutes and chose the type of day we want to have. The most successful people in the world choose the direction of their day by beginning in quiet reflection of prayer & meditation.
One of the reasons exercise is so good is because it stresses out our bodies and forces us to grow. However, If our stress is already high, adding more stress will only make things worse. Try lowering the intensity of your workout by incorporating more movement and less resistance. Walking, swimming and Pilates are great exercises to lower stress.
Modern research is starting to shed light on why chiropractic is so effective. The chiropractic adjustment restores normal motion to your body and instantly lowers stress levels in your brain. Your body was built to move, and that movement lowers the stress that builds up over time. It's like a pressure release valve for your body.
Stress is a normal part of life that doesn't need to be overwhelming.
Practice these tips regularly and start taking control today.