STRESSED. Anyone else?

I am way too stressed out to write this blog post about stress.

Seriously, I thought up at least 3 legitimate reasons why I didn't have time to write this week. I know I'm not the only new blogger out here that questions if anyone is reading this, or would even notice if I skipped a week. And hey, this is my business, I can do whatever the heck I want, right??

Sure, I guess that's technically true. But, in the middle of my big ball of stress, I remembered something. Isn't this exactly why I'm doing this in the first place? To use my experiences, tied in with my training in nutrition, to talk about what effects our health. Plus, I have made a commitment to you all, my loyal readers (Hi, Mom)! And I've set out an expectation to grace you all with my profound knowledge every other Wednesday, so I can't deprive you of that! (Obliger, much?)

So, this week, I thought it appropriate to talk about one of the biggest obstacles we face on our journey to optimal health: STRESS.

This is a topic that has been popping up around me lately; with my clients, in the books I'm reading, and of course, in me.  

I'm currently running a 6-week sugar detox and had a great conversation the other day with one of the members of my group.  She was frustrated that she hadn't lost weight as quickly as she had expected to. A few minutes into our conversation, I understood exactly what was going on....STRESS!  This person has a full-time job that is very demanding, is in nursing school full time, has 3 teenagers, and on top of all that, is attending my weekly sugar detox meetings. 

Really quick, let's talk specifics about how stress can prevent you from losing weight. When we experience acute stress (an isolated incident that doesn't last very long), we need our blood sugar level to rise in order to deal with this stressful situation (we need a surge of energy to run from a bear). Cue the release of cortisol to elevate blood sugar and give us that quick energy. This is a good thing, and helps us survive.

However, when we live in chronic stress, day after day, our bodies release cortisol much more frequently than they should. Cortisol, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, even in modern times (it's important even if we don't run from bears). Cortisol levels should be high in the morning to give us our boost of energy to start the day and should be lowest at night before bed. But when our cortisol levels are high all the time (because of all the STRESS), we have problems. Problems like chronically elevated blood sugar levels and decreased insulin sensitivity, which cause us to store fat around our waistline and lose the ability to use fat for energy. 

So, as you can see, even if you are eating really well, stress can be preventing you from losing weight.  This, coming from your Nutritional Therapist: diet isn't 100% of the equation. This is part of being Happy, Healthy and WHOLE. All the pieces of the puzzle.

What's your favorite way to de-stress? I think we easily forget how important it is to do so, or we don't allow ourselves to be "un-productive" for 5 minutes. 

Now, as your Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I advise you to put down your phone, put your feet up, and for the love, RELAX for a bit, will ya?

A few of my tried-and-true stress releiving activities