As I right this I'm in the midst of a crazy time - we're in the middle of organizing our international move back to Canada, while still working, looking after our toddler, and trying to keep on top of all the important things in life.
So I'm feeling stressed A LOT lately and I've noticed that I've gotten softer around the middle. A tell-tale sign of STRESS FAT! This powerful hormone called cortisol, our fight-or-flight stress hormone, starts making us hold onto fat because it senses danger and wants us to make sure we have the fuel stores ready to go. It also starts blocking our thyroid hormone, which is our master metabolism hormone, telling it to slow all things down, waaaay down.
A double whammy for fat gain: putting on belly fat + making it harder to lose fat.
Freakin' protective mother nature%@!
So because my physique and health are important to me, and my body is also partly my livelihood here (no one's inspired by a fat trainer, let's be real!), I've decided to nip things in the bud before it gets out of control and before the fat gain starts adding to my stress pile.
I'm going to share with you the 5 ways I'm personally trying to combat the stress fat. And while some of these key strategies are things you've likely heard before, I really feel like they're foundational + basic things that will deliver the most bang for you're energy & time buck.
Because energy is easily depleted these days and time is something you need to hold sacred!
So here goes:
1. REMOVE TEMPTATIONS
So I had a conversation with her about it, told her I would be giving away the sugar, and rounding up her snacks to get it out of my sight, out of my mind. The chocolate bars and cookies came to work to divvie up to work colleagues (sorry, not sorry guys!) and the rest I just put in a box to keep in her room and not in my pantry.
Especially since emotional eating is a long-standing default of mine, and for like 9O% of women, this really forced me to look for other ways of coping when I was feeling stressed. Talking to Ty about how I'm feeling, meditating, and exercise are all waaay more positive means of coping.
Other ways you can remove temptations to overeat: plate your food when sitting down to dinner and keep the food off the table. Outta sight outta mind again! It gives you an opportunity to put reasonable portions on your plate, and without the food right in front of you, you have more time to digest, enjoy and think about whether or not you really need a second helping of food.
These are really small, yet substantial efforts you can make to minimize poor decision-making when it comes to food and eating behaviors.
2. SUPPORT WITH SUPPLEMENTS
I'm not one to take many supplements, but sometimes our bodies need extra support. Under more stress, you're body is going to be robbing other organs and tissues of vitamins and minerals to make cortisol. And considering that my diet is not as spot-on as it usually is, taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is so key for me right now. I'm using Multivitamins for Active Women by Progressive, 3 capsules daily with meals. I like this brand because for a few reasons:
- It's a professional brand that I've used myself and with patients when I was previously practicing as an ND - quality is key people!
- It has therapeutic doses - taking the right doses can mean having an effective supplement vs peeing money down the drain
- I don't need to take a bagillion capsules to get a therapeutic effect
Also in my stress-fighting arsenal is Ortho Adapt by AOR. This is my absolute FAVORITE anti-stress formula of all time, and it comes in a vegan form as well. Since I knew I would need the added support of adrenal cortex, I opted for the non-vegan form, and started taking it even before I started feeling super stressed because I knew it would eventually come! It has an amazing blend of herbs (Licorice extract, Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola, and Ashwaganda) with Vitamin C, B5 and adrenal cortex tissue extracts to help support your adrenal glands (where cortisol is made). Hands down one of my life-savers right now! I'm taking 2 capsules daily, but I'm going to increase it to 4 since things have gotten a bit crazier. And I'm going to continue taking them until the bottle runs out in 2 weeks. These kinds of formulas are really only meant for short periods of usage FYI.
I'm also taking Nutrasea Omega3 by Ascenta one teaspoon a day. Because we don't eat that much fish, I'm almost always taking an omega-3 supplement to cover my bases. These important fats, EPA + DHA, are incredibly important for brain health, heart health, and balancing the other fats you're eating in larger quantities. This brand is also a favorite, because it delivers sustainably sourced low-food chain fish oil in therapeutic doses in just 1 teaspoon vs taking like 8-1O capsules.
Supergreens by Biotona is a brand I found here in the health food store which delivers my green super foods in one easy teaspoon. Again, considering my nutrition is less than optimal right now, this is my insurance policy for getting in my greens. I usually take this in a smoothie in the afternoons, because hot-damn it tastes sooo bad with just water!
Tonight I'm going to start taking Natural Calm Magnesium Citrate Powder by Natural Vitality an hour before bed. Magnesium is a natural muscle and nerve relaxant, and is a key mineral used in metabolism to burn fats, carbs and proteins. It's also greatly depleted in times of stress, so this was a no-brainer too. It tastes wonderful with water and helps to establish a nice bedtime routine. I'm going to take one teaspoon in a cup of hot water, which delivers 2O5mg of elemental magnesium. Just a fair warning though: start small with this supplement because too much can give you diarrhea. So if you found that happening, back off the dose until stools return to normal, and this is the dose you want to take.
Finally, I'm using 5 drops of D-Mulsion 1OOO by Genestra/Seroyal to get in my daily dose of Vitamin D. Since we're in the fall heading into winter I want to make sure I'm supporting my immune system as much as possible, especially when under stress, as you're more likely to get sick.
We'll see how it all fares in keeping me sane these next few weeks!
3. GET YOUR ZZZZZZS
Lately I've found myself glued to the phone or laptop into the late hours of the night. I'm scrolling through social media, checking emails or working in bed when really I should just put it all away and relax the F$%K out. And staying awake later and later was also getting me hungrier instead of winding down to bed, so I was snacking. Double whammy again!
I was waking up tired, un-refreshed, and grumpy - and no one should start their day like that!
So getting back on track with sleep will involve:
- Leaving the tech out of the bedroom or at least on airplane mode and away from reach (because we can always turn it back on right?)
- Dimming the lights and getting into bed early - like 9:3Opm
- 1 teaspoon Mag Calm in one cup hot water
- 1O minute French lesson
- 1O minute meditation using my Headspace app
- Lights off at 1O:3Opm
Nothing really new here, but consider this your public service announcement to go the F$%K to sleep, as Samuel L. Jackson would say lol. Check out his hilarious bedtime reading HERE.
4. EARTHING & NATURE
Taking a deep breath of the fresh air, admiring sun-kissed trees and the ever-changing colors of fall, and putting my bare feet on the earth brought me 1O minutes of peace and tranquility. Just like the sun give us vitamin D, the earth gives us vitamin "G", or ground. It's magnetic field and energy can actually affect our own energy. Kind of wild huh? So if you can, make the time to pay nature a visit and just soak it all in!
5. JUST GET MOVING
And it doesn't have to be structured, long exercise. Maybe you go for a leisurely bike ride. Maybe you go for a long walk in nature with a loved one. Maybe it's a short HIIT session at home with your own body weight. Whatever it is, don't do it for the calories. Do it just to move your body and to feel good, Because when you're feeling good that cortisol is going down baby!, and the ability to lose fat will happen much, much easier.
Now I'd LOVE to hear from you:
What's 1 THING you could start doing today that you feel will help you manage your stress better & beat the belly fat?
Let us know in the comments below!
Coach Crys xoxo