Stress is something we all experience often. Some of us experience stress more often than others, but regardless it can be damaging to your body. Most of us don’t realize how stress affects our body, but it’s important to be aware of it. Who knows, maybe this blog will motivate you to find good ways to de-stress when you are feeling like things are becoming too much.
I just want to start off by saying that our body CANNOT differentiate between real and imagined stress. So for example, a person is chasing you, you are stressed and adrenaline and cortisol push through your blood. Let’s say someone isn’t chasing you but you’re imagining it. Your body will have the SAME exact response as it would if you were actually being chased. Your body can’t distinguish the difference! Pretty crazy right?
It’s also important to know that we experience stress in four different ways.
Increased cortisol production
It may seem overwhelming but we have the ability to control our stress. How do we start? My advice is first finding the core stressor in your life. Is it work? Finances? Body image? Finding the core root of the problem and admitting it is the only way you can move forward.
Stay tuned for a blog about ways you can de-stress.
Why do we not treat ourselves with the same respect and love we give others?
Generally speaking, we tend to be very hard on ourselves. Letting our critical voice come out on a daily basis, putting ourselves down for how we look, what we say or what we do.
Is that the way you treat your friends and family? Probably not! But hey, it’s totally normal and we all do it! I’m guilty of it too from time to time, but it’s something I’ve been working on these past few months. I’ve found that the kinder I am to myself, the happier I am overall.
Self-loathing more often than not is based on physical appearance. As I mentioned in my previous blog, We Can All Use a Bit of Self-Love, we live in a world with a distorted image of beauty. We’re constantly being fed images of celebrity women, giving us an unrealistic image of what beauty is. Immediately we start to judge ourselves if we don’t fit that profile of beauty. But as I’ve said, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and the comparison becomes detrimental to our self-confidence.
First things first, we need to stop the self-judgment. Judgment keeps you stuck. Let me give you an example. If you really want to lose weight, but you can’t accept the current weight you’re holding onto, you will continue to judge yourself. Then if you do lose weight, you still won’t be happy. Why? Because, you didn’t stop the judgment to begin with. If you lose a few pounds that’s great, but that critical voice will still be there in your head, ready to knock down any progress you have made. Try working on stopping the self-judgment, it won’t get you anywhere!
It’s also important to work on being mindful. Mindful of your thoughts and when that critical voice comes out. A lot of times we don’t even notice we are putting ourselves down. It has become a habit to pick ourselves apart when we look at a mirror. So try and be mindful of your thoughts. If you start critiquing yourself, stop it! Take a breathe and tell yourself to stop putting yourself down. Try giving yourself a compliment for once!A good habit to start is every morning when you wake up is to say three positive things about yourself. They don’t have to be physical, they can be personality traits as well.
Here’s an example: (note these are ones I did for myself so they may not apply to everyone)
Lastly, we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. This one is super difficult, but it’s something we are ALL guilty of doing. We compare ourselves to an unrealistic expectation of what beauty is, as defined by the media. But bottom line is, if you don’t have the strength to accept yourself, you don’t have the strength to change. The comparisons are just destroying your self-esteem. Stop comparing and start embracing yourself for who you are. We are all unique in our own way, so embody who you are.
I’ve been a quick eater all my life. I even remember my dad telling me to slow down and chew my food when I was younger. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick with me at the time, although I wish it had. Too bad I was just a kid and anything my parents said went in one ear and out the other. Fifteen plus years later, and I’ve finally started to slow down and take my time eating my meals. (Thanks Dad!)
But why is it so important to take your time when you eat? You’d be surprised at the numerous benefits of taking your time while eating. Let’s go through a few.
When You Eat Slowly, You Eat Less
It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. This is where I always struggled. I would rush through a plate of food and immediately go grab seconds before letting my stomach settle. I found myself 30 minutes later so full I was uncomfortable. Recently, I have started to take my time eating and I’ve actually been eating less. Leisurely eating allows enough time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full.
So if you eat slowly, you will eat less.
When You Breathe More, You Burn More
Crazy right? This is something that I recently learned. Oxygen is a key-nutrient that helps speed up our metabolism. So in order to boost that metabolism, you need to slow down and breath in between bites.
But how does this work? The intestinal villi is in your small intestine, and its primary job is to absorb nutrients. The villi also extracts large quantities of oxygen to help breakdown food. When our blood lacks oxygen it means that the nutrient absorption by the villi decreases. However, when our blood has plenty of oxygen, the nutrient absorption increases and so does our metabolism.
So take a breathe in-between bites.
Mindful Eating is Key
How do you eat your meals? Do you eat sitting at a table? Sitting on the couch watching TV? While running to work? We tend to zone out when we eat our meals, which can be a slippery slope. When we are more aware and present while eating, we actually eat LESS. But when we mindlessly eat, we eat more than we need to. Awareness allows us to listen to our body, figure out when we feel satisfied, and then if we hit the point of feeling full.
A good rule of thumb is to not eat past 80% of feeling full. We don’t want to eat past that point because it will weigh us down and we will feel heavier. When we eat to where we feel satisfied, we feel energized and ready to go. Eating past that point can lead to discomfort.
Tips to Slow Down Your Eating
Here are a few tips that may help you slow down while eating:
Just a girl writing down her thoughts on life post-trauma and body acceptance.