I recently had the opportunity to hear Dr. Libby Weaver speak. She is amazing. She spoke for 2 hours on stress, what it does to the body and what you can do to help support your body. Here is a summary of the highlights.
Stress and your Body
Stress reduces your energy, ages you faster and turns on inflammatory compounds which lead to disease. One of the best things you can do to support your body is to take omega fats and get more nutrients into your body. That means taking a high quality nutritional supplement along with eating healthy, whole, nourishing food.
The Stress Response
There are different stages of the stress response. Adrenaline is for the short term danger response. Like running from a tiger. Your blood pressure goes up and the blood supply is diverted from the digestive process. Nourishment is therefore compromised. One in three Americans have increased adrenaline.
The Thing with Cortisol
The thing with adrenaline is it’s supposed to be used for a short term. Like running from a tiger. With the constant output of adrenaline, your body responds with inflammation. As a result of that, your body start producing cortisol to reduce the adrenaline. Cortisol slows down your metabolism causing you to get fat around the middle, back and arms. That’s the dreaded muffin top and lunch lady arms! Cortisol used to be made by the body in times of famine. So that’s why your body packs on the weight. It’s in survival mode.
If this scenario continues, your body becomes exhausted with deep fatigue. The cortisol levels drop and this is called adrenal fatigue. When you properly nutrient your body, it has the resources to reduce cortisol without fatiguing the adrenals in the process.
A State of Constant Threat
We are now living in a constant state of being ON. With all the devices and ability to connect and respond to everything at a moment’s notice, your body thinks it’s under constant threat. Adrenaline and cortisol used to mean life was under a death threat. Now, in response, you need to nutrient your body at a much different level than previously needed.
Begin to Combat Stress
So, the first thing you can do to combat stress in your body is to get it optimal nutrition with supplements and food. Next, you need to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the one that is calming and repairs the body. The only way you can engage it is to increase the length of your exhale. So simple and yet so hard. Deep belly breathing communicates to every cell in your body that you are safe. Taking 20 deep breaths a day will get you into the safe zone.
Carbs and Stress
The other interesting connection between fat and stress is that when you are stressed, your body burns glucose for fuel. It’s fast burning and once it’s used up, your body will crave more carbs and sugar to replenish the fuel. It won’t even realize that you’ve got fat stores that are potential for energy production. Fat is slow burning fuel. So when you get calm and relaxed through breathing, you’re body will slow down and use fat for fuel. Another key to this formula is to increase your fat consumption. Eating healthy fat at lunch will help reduce your desire for sugar.
Stress and Sleep
Do you have trouble sleeping as well? You may have guessed it by now, but yes, adrenaline disrupts your body’s ability to get deep sleep. It will also disrupt non-vital functions of the body such as healthy hair and nail growth.
The Action Plan
Here is your action plan to reduce stress and support your body
1. Eat healthy whole food meals and more fat at lunch.
2. Take omegas to reduce inflammation.
3. Take USANA’s high quality nutritional supplements.
4. Spend more time in the safe zone with breathing, yoga, meditation, chi gong, etc.
5. Start your day with warm lemon water to assist the body’s elimination process.
6. Focus on gratitude and kindness. You can’t feel gratitude and stress at the same time.
Life happens for you, rather than to you. I love the analogy that life is like a dance. The point of dancing is not to end up at a certain place on the floor when the music stops. The point is to dance and enjoy the movement and music.