The amount of stress and the kinds of stress in your life has a huge impact on what you should eat and also how you should exercise.
Most people think there is only really one type of stress out there - psychological. Unfortunately in this fast-paced world we are all too well aware of mental and emotional angst and fatigue. But there are actually 6 types of stressors to the human body and mind.
There is psychological/emotional stress, sleep deprivation stress, inflammation-induced stress, chemical stress, dietary routine and physical stress. That's a lot of stress! Well, there is good news. We can reduce these all through smart choices and clever life hacks.
1. Emotional Stress
Emotional stress corrodes the joy of life. It can flood your body with adrenaline and cortisol, which can reduce your energy levels and sex drive whilst increasing fatigue, depression and anxiety. I've found that Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or "tapping" as it's also known, is a fantastic way to release negative emotions that drag you down. And of course meditation is a must. Studies show that all types of meditation have been associated with blood pressure control, enhancement in insulin resistance and having beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Research also shows that emotional distress and elevated cortisol secretion promote abdominal fat while improvements in mindfulness and lowered cortisol levels were associated with reductions in abdominal fat.
2. Sleep Deprivation Stress
Let's be honest....who gets enough sleep these days? It's really difficult to be disciplined and soak up 8 hours per night. But if you have a sleep debt then small stresses at work and at home can seem overwhelming. Life becomes a hard slog mentally and emotionally. Studies also show that lack of sleep makes you eat more, age faster and hold on to fat. So turn off artificial lights an hour before bedtime, light a candle or three, have a bath with lavender, and hide the mobile phone (its ambient light overstimulates your tired brain) and slip into bed by 10/10:30pm.
3. Inflammation-Induced Stress
f you're like most people in the Western world then you're diet is stressing your body out! We're eating far too much high-salt, high-sugar processed foods like white breads and pastas, so-called convenience foods, and those Australian favourites; coffee and alcohol. Try replacing these acidic nasties with whole, clean, organic food and filtered water. Fresh fruits and vegetables and grass-fed meat and eggs will provide sustained energy levels and provide your body with the nutrients it craves. I highly recommend you follow an alkaline eating plan to combat bloating and inflammation while aiding weight loss.
4. Chemical Stress
Reducing your intake of foods that are full of additives, preservatives and numbers is a great start. But many people are unaware of how many chemicals they soak up every day through common things like body care products and make-up. Unless your skin care is natural and certified organic you are marinating in toxic chemicals. It's not uncommon for lipsticks to contain the heavy metal lead. Be aware of the ingredients of what you put in and on your body.
5. Dietary Routine Stress
Skipping meals, avoiding fats, eating carbs without protein and trying diets which are intense and limiting will cause stress to your metabolism. Eat every four hours to keep your metabolism steady otherwise you will likely struggle with cravings for sugar and caffeine. Eating for your own particular metabolic type is a fantastic way to eliminate cravings, lose weight, increase your energy and speed up your metabolism. The Metabolic Typing work by William Wolcott has been so successful with my clients, allowing them to finally understand whether their body uses mainly protein and good fats as fuel or mainly carbohydrates, and then eating accordingly.
6. Physical Stress
If you have a job which requires manual labour then be extra careful to avoid further stressing your body. Teachers who are on their feet all day or nurses who have to pick up patients should monitor how their body is coping. Exercise is a physical stress, so if you are already overly stressed, working out is just going to add more stress and use up vital nutrients. Scheduling in gentleexercise like walking or gardening to keep the body limber, hot baths at the end of a long day or even regular massages could reduce this exhausting stress.
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