Have you gone through a phase in your life where you were stuck at a weight that was less than desirable? Maybe you're in that place right now. How can this be? If it takes 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound of fat, then why on earth can't you shed that extra 20? There's no way you're eating too much, in fact half the time you're so busy you don't even have time to eat. Sure maybe a few cups of coffee and a sandwich from Starbucks, but not nearly enough to explain this extra weight.
There's another factor that effects our weight aside from calories going in, and calories being burned. It's called our bio chemistry. This is a factor that effects every one of us. A doctor who breaks this down nicely is Dr. Libby; you can listen to her on fmtv.com or YouTube. I took rapid fire notes as I listened to one of her lectures, and these are the cliff notes that we can all benefit from, whether we're battling the bulge or not.
Our Autonomic Nervous System is controlled by our subconscious, which we don't have to think about. Such as our heart beating, cell repair, hair, skin, nail growth, etc.
There are two branches to our Autonomic Nervous System:
1. Sympathetic Nervous System
This is often referred to as our fight or flight response. Or the red zone, where we are running on adrenaline. This system is flipped on when we're running for our life, scared, stressed, angry, anxious, or overwhelmed. It's where your body is releasing the stress hormone, Cortisol. Yes, the hormone that stores belly fat. When you're in this fight or flight zone your body needs the fastest form of energy to burn as fuel so you can get back to safety. I'm sure you've already guessed what this source of energy is. Glucose, or as we know it, sugar. You're not going to burn the steady source of energy, fat, until you're out of that fight or flight state.
But when will we actually tell ourselves we're safe, it's going to be okay, or we don't have to be afraid anymore? For some of us, almost never. Some have set up camp in this zone and haven't left for years. This source of energy will sooner than later run out. Remember, it was only meant for emergency situations. What happens when our adrenals are completely zapped? Disease.
It's important to understand the facts so that we can do something proactive and get us back into the fat-burning green zone.
2. Parasympathetic Nervous System
Rest, digest, repair. The green zone. Ahhhh yes, the safe zone. This is where you finally take that long, deep breath from your belly and slowly exhale, telling yourself everything is going to be okay. Where you focus on what you're grateful for, and what you are relieved about. Where you stretch, meditate, or soak in a warm, sudsy lavender bath.
Wait a minute, you don't do any of those things? Well then this right here is where you need to stop and reflect.
What baby steps can you take to spend more time in the healing, nurturing green zone? The place where your body can properly digest those beautiful organic foods you've been eating. Your nervous system can not multi-task, it's one or the other. This is to our benefit because as long as we are setting aside time to focus on what we're grateful for, our body will not produce stress hormones.
Here's where you take accountability.
Choose at least one of the following to incorporate into your weekly routine:
Take 10 slow, long breaths. Slowly exhaling forces your body back into the green zone. Give yourself that time first thing in the morning, while you're waiting for the kettle to heat up or while you're driving to or from work.
Drink hot lemon water every morning while focusing on three things you're grateful for.
Diffuse an essential oil by your bed at night, or in your living room while you are reading a book.
Use a dry skin brush right before hopping in the shower. Brush your whole body in upward strokes toward your heart. This will get your blood circulating and give you baby soft skin.
Stress is fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of being judged, or not being worthy of love. Fear of losing control, or fear that things won't get better. Pull back the curtain and deal with what you're truly afraid of. Stop using caffeine, food, or some other crutch to bury what you're afraid of.
Now that you're becoming self-aware and recognizing what it is that you're afraid of, write down how you feel and don't hold back. Then rip it up or burn it. May sound strange to some, but it's better than internalizing it. Write what you're sorry, angry or mad about, what you wish you could have said or done differently. Writing is a therapeutic way of letting go.
Take a walk. Even just for fifteen minutes. First thing in the morning, have your running shoes beside your bed. If it's snowing, set your phone timer for fifteen minutes and stretch right there in your room. Reach for your toes, reach your ear to your shoulder on both sides. I know you've done this in the past, maybe you've fallen out of the routine, but it's time to get back on track. Your health, and if you want to get real, your life, depends on it. Get back to the green zone.
These are just a few of my recommended steps back to reality. What habits do you have right now to keep yourself from falling off the tracks? I'd love to hear your feedback!