hey, guys! hope you are having a wonderful week. i thought that i would have some down time now that my crazy, back-to-back out-of-town weekends are over.. but that’s not the case! my 30th birthday is on saturday and i have been celebrating all week long. living life>blogging! i went to dinner last night and will be going to see daniel tosh tonight (yay! he’s so funny!)
while i am out and about, i am turning the time over to my friend, sheila. sheila is the co-founder of live well 360—they make amazing bags! she has offered to write a great post tonight about metabolism & stress. i hope you find it as interesting and useful as i did! her contact info is after the post and you can also follow shelia on twitter and facebook :)
GO GO GO! Sometimes I really do imagine that there is a little drill sergeant with a bullhorn sitting on my shoulder, yelling these words in my ear.
There’s always more to do—a mile long list of to-do’s and responsibilities—and like most type-A driven women, I’ve gotten really good at multitasking and re-prioritizing on the fly.
Can you relate? While it does feel incredibly satisfying to lay your head on the pillow at night feeling like you accomplished a lot that day, let’s be real—it’s stressful to have super busy schedule!
And while it’s true that stress will never go away, we CAN learn how to manage it so that it doesn’t have such an emotionally draining affect, because stress really does affect your body in more ways than you think. How so, you ask? Well, you wanna know one of the biggest areas that stress affects that most of us don’t even realize? It’s digestion and… your metabolism.
Sluggish Digestion? Manage Your Stress
That’s right, I said it. Having a rip-roaring metabolism isn’t just about genetics, your lifestyle and your typical emotional state can have a dramatic affect. Here’s why, it has to do with your central nervous system.
To make a long-winded explanation fairly short and easy to understand… Your central nervous system has two branches—the sympathetic and parasympathetic.
The sympathetic nervous system, or “fight or flight” response, is characterized by quickened breath, pulse, and heart rate, cued by the rapid release of the stress hormone. When you are running around in fast-forward and your day is a blur, you are functioning in this state.
The parasympathetic nervous system, or “tend or befriend” response, is characterized by slow heart rate, calm, deep breathing, circulation to the organs in the core of the body, and feel-good hormones like oxytocin, nicknamed the “love hormone” flooding through you.
When one branch is switched on, the other is switched off. When you are operating in fight or flight mode, it’s the same to your body as if you were being chased by a tiger. Your body is in survival mode and all “unimportant to survival” operations—like digestion—are shutdown.
So, if you are stressed out often and constantly eating on the run or while distracted, you could eat the healthiest food in the world but your body may have serious issues digesting it and properly processing the nutrients.
Our body isn’t built to operate in this state of stress on an ongoing basis. Our system gets all out of whack—hormones go erratic, we don’t sleep well, we have major mood swings… and our metabolism slows way down. This is the state of being that causes not only weight gain, but also disease.
Don’t fret though, being stressed about being stressed doesn’t help. Here are 3 steps you can take starting right now that will help you reduce the stress in your life and up the enjoyment factor.
3 Steps To De-stressing
1. Stop Multitasking While You Eat
Since you read Meals and Moves, I know you’re a foodie like me. I love food! And can I tell you that one of the most disappointing things for me is to rush through a meal, scarfing it down while I check email or worse, while I’m driving. I finish eating whatever I was eating and think, “how annoying, I don’t even remember eating any of it!”
Food is meant to be enjoyed, so give yourself that gift by paying attention while you eat. One of the hardest exercises I give to my coaching clients is to eat without distraction. Meaning no TV, no computer, no phone—gasp! I know it seems impossible, but try it sometime. I bet you’ll be surprised at how much more you enjoy (and are satisfied by) what you’re eating when you’re paying 100% attention to looking at it, tasting it, and even smelling it.
2. Just Breathe
Did you know it only takes 5 deep breaths to reset the entire nervous system? My yoga instructor recently said during class that most of us get to the end of the day and feel exhausted, not because we physically wore out our body, but because we were breathing shallowly all day. I think she’s right.
Oxygen is so important. It’s really the primary reason why exercise is good for your body (because it gets you breathing deeply) and it’s also a key component in proper digestion. Oxygen is what breaks down the food and get the nutrients into your cells.
I have a little trick for you too. The next time you have gas pains or indigestion after a meal, get on the floor and do some cobra stretches while breathing deeply for 5 minutes or so and I bet your tummy will feel a LOT better.
3. Make Self-care a Priority
I used to think I didn’t have time for things like a bubble bath, yoga, and hour of window shopping at my favorite outdoor mall, or a massage… but now I realize that I don’t have time NOT to do these things.
You have nothing to give if your tank is empty and no one can fill your tank but you.
I’ve learned to schedule self-care into my calendar and treat it like any other VIP appointment. This is for both exercise and also the other “frivolous” things like shopping or a bubble bath because I know that I need this me-time to feel my best and to be able to give 100% to my business, my relationships, and my other responsibilities in life.
We’re not very effective when we’re running on half empty, not to mention, what kind of life is that to live anyway? We all need to give ourselves and each other permission to take good care of ourselves, especially women, and also to let other people off the hook too. It’s not our husband/boyfriend/parent’s job to take care of us, it’s our job to make sure we feel cared for and loved. The most powerful care that we can receive is from the inside out.
And when you feel cared for from the inside out, it has a ripple affect that touches every aspect of your life, far beyond just digestion and your metabolism.
Now I want to hear from YOU!
Can you relate? Which one of these steps are you going to implement first?
Sheila Viers is the co-founder and President of the premium fitness and yoga bag brand, Live Well 360, inspired by her and her husband, Ryan’s, search for the perfect gym bag.
In addition, Sheila also coaches women on breaking free from emotional eating and self-sabotage. Her self-study program, ROCK Your Dream Body, helps women kick self-sabotage to the curb and feel amazing in their skin.
Best known for her uplifting perspective on healthy living, Sheila has been featured in health and fitness publications including Yahoo! Shine, Glo MSN, Fitness Magazine, Tiny Buddha, and Under30CEO.