Project CHEK Your Health
Guest blogger Momentum for Life founder Leila Lutz
Like Elo discovered recently, stress makes you fat. It’s well-documented in medical literature and it’s the reason why your friend who runs 40 kms per week might still seem rather large; or your colleague who never seems to eat, is not teeny-tiny.
But stress is so much more of problem than just this. In fact, it has never been more important to understand the perils of stress than now. Why? Stress is a western world problem that has reached epidemic proportions.
First it will disturb your moods; then, make you fat; next, it might cause a more sinister health problem; until eventually, if left unchecked, it might even kill you.
Check out 10 simple things you can do to lower your corrtisol levels, today. The time to de-stress your life is now.
Shallow breathing in your chest alone activates your sympathetic nervous system, which tells your body you are stressed and elevates your cortisol levels. Stand up, put your hand on your belly and inhale into it. Then, use your belly button to squeeze the air out of you. When you breathe properly, you give your insides a loving massage and all the oxygen your body needs to be fully alive.
2. Drink water
Water is our life force. Staying well-hydrated helps your body flush out any stressful toxins. Drink your body weight in kilos (eg 65kg) x 0.33333 litres every day. Make sure it is filtered or, if bottled, has a Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) of over 300. Good ones include Evian and San Pellegrino. Asking your body to get rid of all the chemicals in tap water is just adding further stress.
3. Work out, but do it intelligently
Exercise is a stress and shouldn’t be overdone. Endurance training, when you are already stressed, will raise your cortisol further. When you run, your body computes that “something must be chasing us” and activates your fight or flight response, which punps up your adrenalin and cortisol. If you’re the kind of person that needs to smash yourself to feel achievement or satisfaction, ask yourself whether there’s an emotional reason behind this. Most of us get smashed every day meeting deadlines, sitting in traffic, copping stress from our boss etc. Isn’t that enough smashing? Try circuit training and full primal body movements with rest periods in between. Getting a program that is specifically designed for you will help align and balance your body.
4. Work in
Many of us are obsessed with “working out” which pushes our cortisol and adrenals higher. Reaching homeostasis and internal balance, however, involves working in too. If meditation isn’t your thing, try some art or music therapy, tai chi or qi gong. Get a C.H.E.K practitioner to program some zone exercises to balance your chakras and cultivate chi – your life force. My body always looks the best when I’m prepared to go within.
5. Eat right for your metabolic type
We all have our own individual biochemistry and process food differently. Putting the wrong food in for your body type is also a stress on your body. Not having the right amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate for your metabolic type disrupts metabolism, deregulates insulin and, again, puts more stress on your body. You can find out your metabolic type here.
6. Think happy/loving thoughts
Carrying around your “stuff” is toxic. Holding on to negative thought patterns is very stressful, whether you know you have them or not. It can show up in your body as excess weight.
7. Low Human Intervention (LHI) Principle
Every foreign chemical you put into your body adds physiological load and your body needs get rid of it. While this is happening, it forgets to digest food and extract basic nutrients for your body. People who live on processed food are actually starving of nourishment, which is a major stress on the body. Your body’s main perogative is to protect its vital organs so if it can’t get rid of toxins, it will create fat to store them in as a protection. Now you know where cellulite comes from.
8. Decrease caffeine
Having coffee after 2o’clock is disruptive to your sleep wake cylces. Even if you can sleep after coffee, it is disruptive to the quality of your rest and repair state during sleep. Caffeine is also highly acidic and damaging to your gut wall when over-consumed. Never drink coffee on an empty stomach and make sure you have enough fat in your diet to metabolize the coffee and rehydrate. Follow the LHI principle and ask your barista where his/her coffee comes from. Is it grown/processed/washed with chemicals?
You need at least 8 hours of sleep every night for proper rest and repair. Your body also works best when it is attuned to our natural circadian rhythms. There is a reason why we can’t see in the dark. If you have trouble getting to sleep, step away from computer or TV screens at least 30 minutes before bed and turn down lights. Bed by ten is paramount for reducing cortisol. Working in at night can help get you ready for sleep and I recommend Sleepy Time Tea from Ovvio Organics.
10. Give up the booze
Alcohol is the most easily converted substance in the body to carbohydrate. This spikes your insulin and elevates cholesterol. It also causes inflammation and has toxins which your body must get rid of. Whether you feel it or not, a glass of wine disrupts the quality of your sleep. Try my no drinking on a school night rule and see how you feel… and remember the cellulite relationship with toxins too.
Loving yourself is the first step to putting these things into practice. Without Self-love, you won’t feel like you deserve the high quality of health/life that the above practices will afford you.
Get started by taking a few deep diaphragmatic breathes and try downloading a meditation app for your iPhone to play on your bus/train/ferry commute or before you go to sleep. Soon, you’ll find it easier to love yourself calm and, ultimately, thin.