By: Sosan Hau, RD, CDE
Stress is not all bad. In fact, acute stress is normal and is needed to help motivate and push us beyond our comfort levels so we can grow to achieve our full potential. However, chronic stress can wreak havoc on us physically and mentally. Have you noticed that when you are feeling unhappy, you start looking for something sweet to eat and before you know it, you just finished 2 donuts, 1 tub of ice cream and finished up a whole bag of cookies. Have you always wonder why you eat relatively well and do some exercise but yet your waistline doesn’t seem to change much. The answer might have something to do with your cortisol hormones, which can lead to a cascade of responses and promote the storage of fat in your abdominal area (known as visceral fat). When your cortisol level is elevated for a long extended period, it sends signals to your body that you need energy to deal with the “problem.” So your body starts to preserve energy and not burn off easily. Stress may also cause your body to crave more fat and sugar so no wonder most people’s comfort food is usually a combination of fat and sugar (mac and cheese, cookies, ice cream and the list goes on). When was the last time you heard of someone who is stressed and craving broccoli or celery?
In spite of the fact that we can’t remove stress from our lives, there are certainly different strategies to help us manage our stress effectively to minimize its impact. Try the following tips and monitor what helps you the most.
- Make a list of things you have control of and things you have no control of – you will discover that most of the time, we actually feel overwhelmed or overly stressed about things that we HAVE NO CONTROL OF.
- Go out for a walk, do some exercise or just dance to your favorite tunes to reduce stress and more importantly improve your mood. When you move your body, you change your mood.
- Make sleep a priority – it is not easy to try to sleep when you are stressed or feeling overly anxious and your mind is full but remember the combination of sleep deprivation and stress will further aggravate your health, your hormones and inflammatory response.
- Make your gratitude journal a daily habit – write 3 things you are grateful for to help remind yourself to find joy in the midst of chaos and challenges.
- Eat mindfully. Low glycemic impact eating is still the best way to nourish your body with wholesome food to prevent the high and low blood sugar and mitigate the effect of high cortisol.
- Consider adding adaptogenic herbs to your supplement regimen such as Ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil found in TLS® ACTS supplement to help stabilize and enhance your mood while promote a healthy level of cortisol.*