What lights a fire under you?? What grinds your gears, makes you angry, sad, worried, or STRESSED?? We each deal with the components of life differently, and our reactions to circumstances dictate our emotional well-being. Time, relationships, work, school, kids, family…. all these responsibilities can require a balancing act that seems impossible. But that’s life. And unfortunately, stress can have adverse effects on our health… especially weight.
Your body and mind are one and the same. When put under pressure, your brain kicks into a flight or fight mode. And guess what?? Your body wants to use calories in its defense. As such, “Most of us become overeaters when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. This happens thanks to your fight-or-flight response, a.k.a. survival mode — once your body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it needs to. In most cases, that means overeat” (
Initially, adrenaline spikes in the body, making one feel less hungry. However, soon after cortisol takes over. Cortisol is the stress hormone. When activated, inhibition can go out the window. Here’s run down: “Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher
insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods” (
https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1) . Cheap, convenient, processed foods, are right there to answer the calling.
Here’s the catch: “Today’s human, who sits on the couch worrying about how to pay the bill or works long hours at the computer to make the deadline, does not work off much energy at all dealing with the stressor! Unfortunately, we are stuck with a neuroendocrine system that didn’t get the update, so your brain is still going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies anyway” (
We have to learn to relax, sleep, and breathe. Many clients ask me what foods to turn to. Here’s what I found:·
Dark chocolate: Two studies of 95 adults showed that consuming dark chocolate reduced their cortisol response to a stress challenge.·
Many fruits: A study of 20 cycling athletes showed eating bananas or pears during a 75-km ride reduced levels compared to drinking water only.·
Black and green tea: A study of 75 men found 6 weeks of drinking black tea decreased cortisol in response to a stressful task, compared to a different caffeinated drink.·
Probiotics and prebiotics: Probiotics are friendly, symbiotic bacteria in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics, such as soluble fiber, provide food for these bacteria. Both probiotics and prebiotics help reduce cortisol.·
Water: Dehydration increases cortisol. Water is great for hydrating while avoiding empty calories. A study in nine male runners showed that maintaining hydration during athletic training reduced cortisol levels. (
Life’s demands throw us for a loop from time to time. Reassure yourself that patience is the key and that this too shall pass. Don’t let your negative thoughts take the wheel. Healthy choices outlast split second mistakes. Be kind to your BODY, even in it’s weak moments.
Temptation is the desire to participate in short term enjoyment. It is an urge that threatens long term goals. Curiosity or fear of loss can cause temptation. Temptation actually has 4 stages:
- Desire: This word originated from the Greek word epithumeeah, which can be translated to mean lust or craving. This desire doesn’t have to be for something bad, it can even be for good things. Soon this amount of desire goes into over-drive.
- Enticement: This is the feeling of being lured by something. This can be onset by a trigger that gets the motor or process going. The second part is having tempting thoughts. The over-desire and the trigger meet.
- Conception: The desire becomes action. A person tells themselves that what they are doing is no big deal and starts to justify and rationalize the action that is to come. Then the action, the birth, takes place.
- Death: This describes the process of decay and misery that result from sin.
Everyone faces temptation because it is the result of our own natural desires. We have to recognize this human tendency. Most of us face temptation daily. Think about food. We are tempted to eat what we desire, although if we always gave into these urges the obesity epidemic would be even worse. We have to be able to stand up to the temptation. We have to identify our triggers, know our struggles, and work to resist.
Often times it is temptation that causes a person to fall off the workout or eating clean wagon. Desserts and fried food are luring everywhere. Food is celebration and socially part of meetings, occasions, and lurk at every corner. Act with your intuition and know that these choices have consequences. Find a source of accountability and seek help when needed. Making important lifestyle changes doesn’t have to be an isolated experience. You can. You will. And it is going to happen for you.
We all know that too much sugar is bad for us. Sugar consumption affects our waistlines, brains, and hearts. We are told that everything in moderation can be acceptable, but truth be told, we are having far more than the daily recommended amount of sugar in our diets. Of course with October and Halloween approaching, I thought covering this topic was relevant. We are surrounded by sweets during the oncoming months, so let’s take a look at what happens to our bodies when we ingest sugar.
Sugar is a hidden ingredient in many of our foods. Obviously a candy bar has sugar, but so do many salad dressings, drinks, yogurts, and hey those packets added to our coffee count too. To summarize, “While sugar is nothing to be too concerned about in small quantities, most of us are simply eating too much of it. The sweet stuff — which also goes by names like glucose, fructose, honey and corn syrup — is found in 74 percent of packaged foods in our supermarkets. And while the Word Health Organization recommends that only 5 percent of daily caloric intake come from sugar, the typical American diet is comprised of 13 percent calories from sugar ” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/sugar-brain-mental-health_n_6904778.html).
There are many ways that sugar impacts our bodies. Initially after biting into that candy bar, we do feel a little “rush”. Basically, our blood glucose has spiked only to result in a crash a few hours later. Our blood sugar then becomes unstable. Furthermore, “Sugar takes the place of important nutrients. According to USDA data, people who consume the most sugar have the lowest intakes of essential nutrients––especially vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B-12, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Ironically, those who consume the most sugar are children and teenagers, the individuals who need these nutrients most” (http://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/10-ways-sugar-harms-your-health)..
Chances of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are also increased by an ongoing high sugar intake. Excess insulin continues to build up in the bloodstream which affects the arteries. Sugar can become an addiction: “Much like street drugs, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure center, in this case opioids and dopamine. And as they do with street drugs, people develop a tolerance for sugar, meaning they need more sugar for a feel-good ‘fix’” (http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-effects-sugars-having-your-body/7-sugar-turns-you-junkie). Just like the highs and lows of using a drug, “You grab a chocolate candy bar, and with it, get the brief jolt energy. Soon to be replaced by unrelenting fatigue. Science shows it takes just 30 minutes or less to go from a sugar rush to a full-on sugar crash” (http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-effects-sugars-having-your-body/9-sugar-makes-you-energy-starved-zombie). Sugar sparks cravings and gives a false sense of never feeling full. And we can’t forget that sugar causes gum disease and tooth decay.
We turn to sugar to make us feel happy, but really we are doing more harm than good. Often times, we tell ourselves that we have earned the right to have a treat, or it’s special occasion, that we will only have it just this once, and so on. We make promises to ourselves and go all day on a mission not to have junk food. Then the 3 o’clock cravings call and suddenly we cave in. This substance is definitely and “in the moment” destructor. And consumer America…. well they know how to play to our weaknesses. Commercials and advertisements are enticing and call upon our taste buds. We have to use our strengths and fight the cravings. Total deprivation isn’t the answer. However, one sweet tooth denial victory at a time, just like we take it one rep at a time, we can stay on course as best as possible.
An opinion is judgment someone forms about something that may not be based on facts or knowledge. It typically relates to the quality or worth of something or it can be in the form of advice. The trouble with opinions is that they can hurt us or try to define us. We often hear that we are all entitles to our own opinions, but it is when we share them that can cause troubles. We let other people’s opinion carry merit regardless of the credibility or why they formulated this judgment. We all can relate to letting the opinion of certain people in our lives take reign while others we can easily brush under the rug. Frustrating, especially since at the end of the day an opinion isn’t fact.
It is the game we play of opinions that can socially cause turmoil for us. Your best friend, significant other, and family, all have their opinions. I think of the classic case of brining your new boo home to meet the family worrying what they will they of he or she. We often times pick out an outfit, wear our hair a certain style, wear certain brands, talk a certain way, or even act a certain way, based on what we perceive other’s opinions will be. The concept of not caring what anyone else things is a rare art form.
People will always talk. No one else’s opinion defines you be it that they express their judgment to your face or behind closed doors. Opnions merely make other people feel like they are superior. Don’t define your happiness by the approval rating others give you. You have to take the high road and understand that just because something or someone is good for them, doesn’t mean it is good for you.
In my own life, I want to please every client and personally and impacted by opinions of me. When you strive so hard to help others, it does hurt when a negative opinion interjects. Although few and far in between, I have to take the high road and grow from the statements. I’ve certainly gotten a lot tougher. But I’m a lot happier when I’m not dwelling or worrying about someone’s opinion.
Yes, this is an easier said than done concept, but we have to learn who we want to let in our circle of valued opinions. Define your judging criteria about who matters most when you give merit to any opinion. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. Even now you can have an opinion about what I’m writing about, but hey, I know that opinions are unavoidable and I’m the one who can control how I accept or reject them 😊
Chapped lips can happen at any time to anyone making the lips dry, scaly, or even sore. Some of the main culprits of this condition include dehydration, sun exposure, smoking, constantly licking the lips, possible vitamin deficiency, weather, and breathing through the mouth. As a result, the lips might crack, peel, flake, or feel tender.
There are few home remedies that can help chapped lips. These include:
Exfoliation: It is important to remove the dead skin cells off the chapped lips and this can be done by creating a paste with sugar and honey.
Coconut oil: This is a natural moisturizer.
Caster oil: This is effective at hydrating.
Aloe vera gel: This can help with any pain from the chapped lips.
Cucumbers: When rubbed lightly on the lips, the juice helps hydrate.
Petroleum jelly: This is effective when applied several times during the day.
Water: In general, at least drink those 8 recommended glasses per day.
Moisture in the body is a must to keep the lips fresh and smooth. Winter is a hard month for the lips as the skin is literally breaking from this lack of moisture. There’s a lack of humidity and the air is dry. Licking the lips only makes the problem worse because once the saliva dries, it is back to dryness over and over again. Certain lipsticks and products contain chemicals and allergens that can dry the lips. Medications can do this too. This is why the plain, boring, lip balms and moisturizes are more effective. When it comes to flaky skin on the lips, the best idea is to just let it be don’t pick at it and force it to be removed when it is not ready to come off yet. Look for moisturizes that have a wax protectant and vitamin E. Topical steroids can also be used. Sometimes a person finds a chap stick they love and almost become addicted to application due to the fragrance or taste. However, sometimes constant application can cause further irritation. For those with sensitivity, there are hypoallergenic lip balms. If all else fails, a dermatologist can recommend a solution.
Having chapped lips is a very common problem as our lips are constantly being exposed to the weather, to our movement activity of the area, to our foods and beverages, to our talking, kissing, and for the ladies to their lipsticks, liners, and glosses. Plump and luscious lips are in, but not the type that are dry, flaky, and irritated. Keep your smile vibrant and your lips moisturized. Just another reason to drink water, eat healthy, and practice good self-care.