4 Ways You May Be Stressing Your Body Without Knowing

  May 31, 2017  |  #Eats

Good morning friends and Happy Wednesday! I’m showing a day of eats from Memorial Day weekend, which was filled with lots of full hearts, visits with friends and food, obviously.

We all have stress in our lives constantly. Stress is really just a change in our environment that we can choose how to respond to, right? It’s all about how we respond (or don’t) that causes additional stress on our body. And that can build up and have long term complications and negative health effects. So, it is important to find ways to counteract that stress.

Controlling Stress

But, how can we counteract the stress if we don’t even know how we may be stressing our bodies out?! Here are some things that we may not realize may be causing stress within our bodies.

Breakfast: Pancakes with chocolate chips, bananas, blueberries, peanut butter and a generous dollop of maple syrup. Served with an unpictured homemade latte.

Pancakes

Undereating

When we undereat, cortisol, our stress hormone, rises. Eating below the amount of calories your body needs to survive and thrive puts a large amount of stress on the body. The body starts breaking down muscle to run the best way it knows how in the given circumstances. With too few calories on board for a long period of time, the body adjusts and significantly slows its metabolism. It becomes catabolic as it tries to conserve as much energy as possible.

Take into account, by eating less than your body needs, it is also nearly impossible to get all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to work and survive. Therefore, your body will have to work harder, and take energy from elsewhere, leaving it very stressed.

Our bodies are awesome, so it is possible to reverse a slow metabolism but it takes time and work.

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Overexercising or not recovering between bouts of exercise

Exercise is very good for us. It reduces the risk of chronic diseases, improves our mood and brain health, and can be great for social reasons, too. However, there is too much of a good thing. Exercise in and of itself, is a stresser on the body. It creates oxidants in the body. Under normal circumstances, our bodies are primed to deal with these oxidants as they have specific antioxidant systems within. It also helps when we eat anti-oxidant rich foods.

However, overtraining or not giving yourself enough time to recover between bouts of exercise induces alot of stress on the body. It can increase cortisol, which is a fat storing hormone. It tells our body that everything is not okay and it can’t relax.  Overtraining has also been linked to adrenal insufficiency, which can disrupt normal hormonal balance in the body.

If you’re constantly sore or tired, have trouble sleeping or have weird appetite changes, feel anxious or depressed, those may be some signs of overtraining.  Or, if you’ve lost your period as well, that may be a sign of overtraining (and I can help!)

Copper Indian food

Lunch at Copper. We split the tofu/veggie bowl in a coconut cream sauce, and some peppercorn/apricot chicken with lots of naan. Soooo good and filling.

Copper Indian food

Not sleeping enough

We all have times in our life where sleep is a luxury and not a necessity. Deadlines, papers, exams, and life. But, sleep is so vital for our health. Even our muscles rebuild and regenerate during our sleep hours. Just one night of inadequate sleep can throw off lots of hormones, including our hunger hormones (increases ghrelin, our hunger hormone, and turn off leptin, which tells us we’re full). Inadequate sleep will also lower our immune response, and our body will react the same was as if it were stressed and sick. Studies also show that we reduce our insulin sensitivity after a few nights of poor sleep. That means, that the sugar (carbohydrates) we take in through our diet has a harder time getting into our cells to use for energy, and kinda just hangs out in our bloodstream, leading to more fatigue and adverse effects. Also, less sleep = more inflammation and oxidative stress. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, check back to numbers 1 or 2.

Afternoon snack:  A beer by the pool and some unpictured chips, pizza and an apple. 

Pool

Skipping meals

We live in a world where we think we need to exercise way more and eat way less to achieve our desired shape. But, there’s a fine balance that we can miss out on. We’re made to eat every few hours – this is how we keep our blood sugar stable. When our blood sugar is stable, we feel good. We’re not tired, we don’t have crazy cravings and we can be productive human beings. But, when we skip meals to lose weight or so we can eat dessert later, we’re messing with that steady blood sugar. Once it drops when it doesn’t get fuel, we feel crappy, cranky, anxiuos and “hangry.” And then, 9 times out of 10, we’re going to overeat at the next meal. When our body thinks food is not available, it will become more efficient, decrease our energy expenditure (burning calories) and just hold on to stuff.

Our bodies are smart. If we skipped meals or underate days ago, it may take a few days to catch up, but we may be hungrier in the following days.

Dinner: A full plate with friends, after hanging out on the lake all day. And some yummy desserts – homemade banana custard and fruit pizza.

Lake eats Lake eats

And, lots of time in the lake. I even got Tater out on the paddle board – she loved it!

memorial day

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Yes, there are plenty of other things that may stress our bodies out as well – being dehydrated, drinking too much caffeine, not doing any/enough exercise, etc. But, you can handle what you fuel yourself with and how much, and how much movement you do. And if you’re unsure, I’m here to help!

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Does your dog like the water?

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