Helen Swift - Vitality Goddess
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Hormones are our chemical messagers that run through our blood stream ACTIVATING certain cells into ACTION.
They are in control of:
- Our mood
- Our metabolism
- Our reproductive system
Last week, we discussed how to boost certain hormones for fat-loss. (Read here.)
And Today we are talking about balancing a different hormone, which does also manage our weight too!
Today we are talking about Cortisol, our stress hormone
If you feel:
- tired yet wired
- unrested when you wake up int he morning, even after a long sleep
- have stubborn weight, even despite eating relatively healthy &/or exercise
Then this blog is for you!! So, grab a brew, and let's get the low down & the actionable tips!
What happens when we are under stress?
Initially adrenaline is produced by the adrenals when we are under stress. Our adrenal glands kick in to produce the hormones adrenalin & cortisol, to help us deal with a stressor, which can be:
These hormones kick in at the sign of stress, because we are hard-wired for survival.
In cavemen times this served us well, as we needed our adrenalin to chase the odd lion (or run from it!). During this fight or flight mode, the body releases sugars into the blood stream, ready for action! The sugar got used by our muscles during the action. Then we got back to our safe cave, & we 're-set' back to our calm state. Our other hormones got their chance to be made & put to use, like our anti-anxiety & fertility hormone progestrone, or the metabolism regulatoring hormones of the thyroid, for example.
What isn't so great, is the fact that we are not built to with-stand long-term, low-lying chronic stress.
Fast forward to the 21st century...don't you agree we are under chronic stress, day in & day out?
Remember, our body thinks we are under attack when stressed, due to our 'hard-wiring' as humans. Our blood sugar levels surge ready to fuel the muscles to run from a danger that we are not physically running from, because often our stress nowadays is perceived stress from things like our email inbox. We end up with this vicious cycle of high blood sugar levels & instead of using it, insulin shuttles sugar into our tummy fat...this is a no-win situation.
Stress makes us fat.
Cortisol trumps the production of all our other hormones. Our calming hormone progesterone, doesn't get a look in, which can dis-regulate our monthly cycles & stop ovulation. Left unchecked, long-term it gives us a rougher ride as we go through peri-menopause & menopause.
Do you think you may be producing a lot of cortisol? You may be chronically stressed if:
- You have stubborn weight gain that isn't coming off like it used to
- You feel ready to snap at the slightest thing these days
- You feel like something is off - you just don't get as excited about stuff like you used to
- Your cycle is off - and you notice that it's usually when you are stressed
- You are getting hormonal hot flashes
I feel it's time to re-evaluate our perception of stress, & the production of stress-hormones....& to manage it....but where do we start?
We are all so very unique, and it's by knowing ourselves that we can start to take positive steps each week in the right direction.
You actually don't have to over-haul your life to start to feel calmer (and as a by-product notice your waist-line shrink!!) Just start with one or two things that you like the sound of, that can consistently do each day.
We go into a lot more detail in my Online Goddess Program, but I'd love to share 3 of the GREAT solutions for lowering cortisol that I feel everyone can benefit from straight away!
Let's get the solutions....Enjoy!
We don't have to retreat to the beach 9although that would be nice) Here is what you can do as part of your busy life:
1) 10 deep breaths....
with the exhale longer each time. This is scientifically proven to work, with brain imaging scans to prove it! Our 'fight or flight' mode calms and makes way for our healing, rest & digest side to switch on!
2) Interrupting anxiety with gratitude.
Very often I get caught up with my ever-growing to-do list &/or multi-tasking. After battling with adrenal fatigue, and NEVER wanting to go back there...I have made a pact with myself to check-in with how I'm feeling. This enables me to interupt the anxiety & ruminating going on in my head, with gratitude. Don't get me wrong when I say 'Interupt Anxiety with Gratitude'. This is not a plaster over feeling crappy. I have been doing my inner work on letting myself feel the way that I feel, acknowledging it. And even the acknowledgemnet itself makes me feel more at ease. Who knew?! This gives me the space to then notice there are so many things that are amazing & well in my life. This REALLY works for me. I make it a daily habit to keep me on track.
This is my little sister Zoe & I on our day out at Fare Healthy 2017, last weekend.
We had a fab time - I'm feeling super inspired. It is amazing how much the health industry has grown, and how much everyone has a different take on what health means to them.
My highlight of the day was seeing Deliciously Ella (Ella Mills) & getting the chance to have a quick chat with her afterwards!
Zoe & I had sooo much to chat about afterwards! If you are like me, looking for ways to live a sustainably healthy life without compromising on taste, then this post is for you!
Here are my 5 take-awyas from meeting Deliciously Ella, Madeliene Shaw, Honestly Healthys' Natasha & the vibe down at Fare Healthy:
1. No one diet fits all
How things have changed since I did my first nutrition qualification back in 2005! Since then more and more evidence-based research has taken place & hopefully we are all really moving away from the ideas that fat is bad. Whilst almost everyone in the industry is agreeing that plants making more of an appearance in every meal is a MUST, there is still lots of different opinions out there on how much of which macro-nutrient is good for you.
The truth is, whilst being a vegan works for some & they THRIVE from it, for others they really need the healing properties of oily fish. I'm so happy that now more than ever, the message is getting out there to listen to our gut, rather than looking at what 'diet' is working for our neighbour that we MUST try next.
How about you? Do you feel that what keeps you full & satisfied is very different from someone close to you?
2. Do you have to compromise taste for health?
It was so great listening to foodies like Deliciously Ella, who stated more than twice in her talk that when she was healing through food, she could not compromise taste just to be healthy. She knew that if she was going to stay away from haribo long-term, she needed delicious food. Any boy, has she got some tasty recipes!
I believe food should be exciting, colourful & above all tasty. I'm on a mission to share with every lady (and a few good men!) that healthy food can be supportive for your hormones, whilst also being simple & tasty! taste & health can live together.
Raise your hand if you've ever been on a calorie-controlled diet.
Raise your hand if you felt restricted whilst on it?
When it comes to weight loss, what you eat is actually only part of the picture. For true and lasting success & freedom with food, we’ve got to do the inner work BEFORE we think about what to eat.
1) What we think about comes about
That little voice that tells you that you can’t, or that you are not good enough…
You know the one I mean right?
It is time for it to take a back seat.
Fueling our mind with chatter about being less than, leads to actions of the same kind. We do this unconsciously without realizing – it can be a strong pattern that we’ve used for years.
Is it possible to step back – out of the loop of the negative chatter?
It is possible. I’ve seen it in my clients, and I’ve seen it in myself.
Some find it in the deep breaths before they head for a food that doesn’t support their goals.
Some find it (including me!!) in journaling their intentions for the day.
How do you want to feel today?
And pen to paper the small, realistic steps to get you there.
2) Be on the same team as your body
If you were the Mum of a little you, what words would you use to nurture & grow that little you?
If that is hard to visualize – maybe start with a precious little one that you love. Maybe your niece, or your child?
How would you guide that little one, so that they have every opportunity to succeed.
It’s the same for you , precious one.
3) Surround yourself in support
Who we surround ourselves with plays a huge role in our happiness and success.
Have you got a friend you can enlist on your health journey? Or someone to celebrate your wins?
It doesn’t have to be a family member. I get huge support from the facebook groups I have become a part of whilst doing my training.
Do you have a Mentor to inspire you – online or in person? They can keep you engaged on your mission and keep you FOCUSED.
Now it’s your turn – is there a point here that strikes home with you? Or maybe you have some inner work that works for you? Please share it with me. I love to hear what you are up to – it gives me a lot of energy.
Sending you love x