metabolism & stress.

by Janetha on May 30, 2013

in guest posts,tips

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 :)

Metabolism and Stress

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?


About Sheila

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.

Learn more about Sheila at and

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Bears Still Suck May 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Happy birthday! I hope you have a great time seeing Daniel Tosh….I absolutely love him and still think that Rob Dyrdek’s show Ridiculousness was stolen from Tosh’s show.

Jenny May 30, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Happy early birthday Janetha!! Glad you are living life to the fullest :)

Great guest post. These are wonderful tips that we all can integrate into our lives. I’m definitely guilty of multitasking EVERYTHING! So not a good habit to keep.

Sheila Viers May 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

We all do it sometimes, Jenny, so don’t feel bad and multitasking isn’t always unhealthy (doesn’t listening to a great playlist while you workout make it so much more fun?). Just try not to do it while you eat and… the good news is, once you’re aware you’re doing it, you can start practicing new, healthier habits.

lindsay May 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

reason # 3,439,493,300 that i love sheila. Well balanced. xxoo

happy 30th you old fart!
okay youre not old. I am 30 next month.

Love ya JG

Sheila Viers May 30, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Love ya too, Lindsay! <3

Momma b May 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Thanks for this post Sheila! I’m going to work non the breathing. It’s so true we have to keep ourselves in great working order to give back to others!


Sheila Viers May 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, Momma b!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail May 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Thanks for sharing this Shelia! I’m guilty of #1!! And, Happy B’day J!

Purelytwins May 30, 2013 at 7:50 pm

love this!! de-stressing is sooo important :)

And happy earlier 30th birthday beautiful!! yay for 30’s!! going to be the best years yet!!

nicole May 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm

happy birthday!! :) this is a great post, sometimes we need to be reminded that in order to give it our alll, we need to dedicate a little self-care for ourselves. a little investment in ourselves now (hellooo massage) isn’t selfish, it’s selfless in maximizing our potential in fulfilling our other responsibilities

Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Ahhh happy early birthday, Janetha! :)

I can most definitely relate. Especially during the school year, as a college student, life is just go-go-go a lot of the time and sometimes I just have to remind myself to take a beat and just breathe! #2 is definitely the one I’ll be working on the most.

Jan @ Sprouts n Squats May 30, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Happy Early Birthday! I also turned 30 in April, welcome to the club :)

I am really bad at stopping myself from multi-tasking. I have to really force myself to stop trying to do so many things at once but it is in my nature to want to try and do lots of things all at once which I know doesn’t help with stress.

Cecilia May 31, 2013 at 3:53 am

Exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you!

Stacey May 31, 2013 at 8:39 am

Thanks for the great explanations. I knew stress could cause digestion/metabolism issues, but I never understood why. Thanks for breaking it down for us :)

Happy 30th!!

calee May 31, 2013 at 9:34 am

happy happy happy happy birthday!!! Have fun tonight. we saw tosh in 2010 and some a-hole in the audience heckled him, so the show was all downhill from there. he gets easily irritated and it can ruin his shows. so hopefully ou’ll have a better experience than we did.

Janetha May 31, 2013 at 9:42 am

he was hilarious! it was amazing.. but i have a sick sense of humor lol

calee May 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

awesome! i like his humor, but he was just being a dick to this guy and made the whole thing about that guy … it was stupid. glad you had a good time! and forgot that you post super late at night so I’m always a day behind.

Amanda May 31, 2013 at 10:27 am

Happy Birthday!!! Hope Tosh was a good show, I love when his standup is on Comedy Central! He’s funny :)

Kristin May 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

#1!! I need to change that! I need to just sit at the table and eat instead of eating while doing 100 other things! Great post!

kevin June 14, 2013 at 11:44 am

I know stress is bad on so many levels, but did not ever hear that it affects digestion and metabolism. Very interesting that while one is response is turned on the other is turned off.
I’m a multi-tasker while eating, thinking I’m being efficient, but I guess really not helping myself. Thanks for the heads up on slowing things up a bit. Needed the reminder.
Janetha, thanks for all the great recipes. Just found your site.

Janetha June 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for commenting!

Bill H. June 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

Great tips! Stress used to be my biggest issue, but I slowed down my life and relaxed and now I’m getting into great shape!

Jim June 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I need to work on #3, I just get lost in work and family that sometimes I forget about my needs. This is a great reminder, Thanks!

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