Stress is just the gift that just keeps on giving. Stress, otherwise known as elevated cortisol levels increase anxiety and also prevent weight loss. Like life, stress changes throughout time however, there are 3 lifelong practices to effectively reduce stress. If you haven't adopted these yet, it takes about 30 days to establish these habits. Record how you feel in the beginning, throughout the experience and at the end to see if you've made any progress.
1- Cut coffee and other "energy" drinks. For coffee, reduce consumption to one cup in the morning and get rid of the sugar. I know. Reread it, take a deep breath but understand this will slow you down in all the right ways. The first week isn't pretty but after 7 days, it gets better. IF YOU CAN'T REDUCE THESE STIMULANTS, CURTAIL YOUR INTAKE TO BEFORE 4 PM. While some of us need these drinks to keep going, it will affect your sleep.
Once you reduce consumption, I also encourage you to try drinking warm water throughout the day as well as invest in alkaline water. Room temperature water requires less work from your body to process and dehydration is extremely prevalent today due to the consumption of sodas, wines and coffee. Alkaline water has the added benefit that it oxygenates your blood so you feel hydrated. Yes, I hear you. Eight cups of water is sooo much harder to drink than 8 cups of wine but well, such is life. Change requires tough decisions sometimes.
2- Exercise. We all know the spiel, it increases endorphins and sweat rids your body of toxins. It's also better in the morning. Scheduling that time with yourself resets your mindset so self care becomes a priority. Cardio is great for heart health and quite frankly, during exercise there's little to consider but your present tense- if you're doing it right. Whether your lifting weights, doing a high intensity interval class, kick-boxing or biking, concentration is key. So put away the phone, stop with the selfies and focus on your body for an hour or the 45 minutes you awarded yourself.
3- Eat Well. Do not eat processed foods. Goodbye drive thru, goodbye soda, reduce your sugar consumption but most importantly start cooking, packing and taking your meals to work. Once you become accustomed to fueling y our body well, you will start feeling the benefits.
As a complement, look into supplementation. Right now, I'm trying a cortisol inhibitor by Life Extension. Take a look at a few options, there are extracts from natural herbs not available in our food today to reduce cortisol. If you're still in a preventative state, before you start popping medically prescribed pills sure to make you a lifelong addict, supplementation can alleviate the demand naturally.
If you'd like additional tips to modify your cortisol levels, reach out. I'd be happy to help.
Be well, eat well.
In health and happiness.
Scratch the Diet