Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Inside/Out Strong. 267-341-7216. mindbodylmft@gmail.com

STRESS MAKES YOU FAT!!!

on October 8, 2013

…Now that I have your attentionStress-test-cartoon

If you just had a moment of panic – don’t worry, it won’t truly make you fat. Turns out, though, if you feel chronically stressed, it has a profound impact on your health – more than you may realize.

I was recently invited to speak at my previous employer’s staff wellness day coming up on November 5th (Gotta love Child Guidance showing an old Family First-er some love!!). I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to tackle a subject I frequently practice AND preach: SELF-CARE. Since I’ll be yapping at (and hopefully entertaining) my former co-workers for 90 minutes about this, I won’t turn this post into my lecture, but it’s definitely a “sneak preview” to something I’ll address.

A major part of practicing self-care is, first of all, recognition you NEED it!  It seems there is a rise in 14 hour workdays, lack of sleep, consumption of unhealthy food/beverages to get us through those days (I’m looking at you, people-who-drink-Monster-Energy-Drinks-at-10:00AM-to-stay-awake ), AND negligence to attend to the needs of our minds, bodies, hell – our souls. Now, 14 hour workdays aren’t the enemy here (I’m no stranger to them). The enemy is your STRESS.

The video below discusses a study done with baboons exposed to consistent life stress (as I’m sure living out in the wild, spending every day worrying if a lion is going to eat you, is quite stressful) and what happened to their bodies. Chronic stress (as opposed to acute stress, like sitting in traffic, getting a root canal, or waiting in line at the DMV) actually increases a hormone called cortisol in our bodies that causes fat to collect in our midsection. This, as the video suggests, is one of the most dangerous areas on our bodies to carry unhealthy fat. Why is that bad?

The middle of our body is where we carry our vital organs – if you have fat there, you’re essentially smothering them. Having fat around your internal organs translates into a myriad of health issues – heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes to name a few. Excess belly fat is one of the main causes of death by heart attack because of the problems it’s directly linked to.

OOOHHHKAAAYYY…now that we’ve played Debbie Downer, there’s good news… tackling chronic stress is ACTUALLY an easier problem to address than you think. We’re not talking about battling major illness here, folks. We’re talking about making small lifestyle adjustments (to start, at least) that have profound long-term benefits. The video below ends with the idea that people today need to re-evaluate their values. “People glorify the person who can multi-task”, they say. Well sure, it’s awesome to have that skill – but don’t let it come with a price.

Take a moment to consider a SMALL part of your day where you can add some zen. Take stretch breaks at your desk, get outside for lunch, call your family and have pleasant conversation instead of business-talk for 5 minutes… WHAM! There goes 5 pounds. Okay, it’s not that miraculous, but you catch my drift – a little self-care can go a long way on your path to well-being.

To my CGRC crew, I can’t wait to share more of this with you on November 5th. To the rest of you, please take a look at this film and feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or advice on how to begin making small, stress-free changes in your life that, I assure, will lead to a better you.

Happy de-stressing, everyone!!

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