How Mental Stress Impacts Us

How Mental Stress Impacts Us

Stress…. It is so prevalent in todays world. We ALL have it to some degree. From work, to home life, to finances, to the to do list, to health issues, to sick kids, to traveling, to what is going on in the world….. It never seems to really stop.

Unfortunately we don’t really know how to avoid it. Some of it is inevitable, but some is brought on simply by ourselves. Even if we don’t want to admit it.

I don’t want to bore you with an overloaded statistic filled post today, so were going to focus on three main points –

1- Stress DOES cause inflammation within our bodies

2 – It does make us sick

3 – We have to learn to control it, which can be done with some simple exercises

I think most of us know what stress is, but just in case, the actual definition is that it is essentially our bodies natural reaction to any change that requires us to adjust or respond. It can fall into a lot of categories, from physical, mental, emotional, etc.

In regards to inflammation, stress (be it chronic stress) can lead to an increase in inflammatory responses within our immune system.. As a little reminder (you can read more in my previous blogs on inflammation to catch up – weight gain, hydration, skin care)

Just like stress, inflammation is a natural response from our immune system when something unnatural occurs. In this article we are focusing on the mental and emotional side of stress. The physical will come in a few weeks.

To break it down – After we experience a stress mentally or emotionally for a period of time our cortisol levels rise, and stay elevated. When they stay high for too long it messes with hormone production and how we metabolize things. Our body essentially thinks it needs to be “turned on / fight or flight” all the time, and because our bodies are amazing at adapting, the come to believe this as our new normal. Unfortunately this leads to inflammation throughout us which can eventually lead to illness, etc. You can read more on that here.

Emotional Stress happens because of our feelings or situations we encounter. Unfair things in life are going to happen and we absolutely should have feelings, but when we are in a constant state of fight or flight as mentioned previously, with our stress hormones elevated (adrenaline and cortisol), it is going to screw us up! It is going to trick our body into thinking it needs to constantly release these stressors because there is constantly something wrong, and by doing so we get inflamed, we hold water, we mess with our metabolism function, we can’t sleep because our circadian rythm gets thrown off. The list goes on.

This leads me to point number two – it makes us sick. Stop and think for a moment when you have had a stressful time in your life, or when you are overly anxious about something. Does your stomach ever hurt or get butterflies? Or get that gut feeling when something big is about to happen or after something bad does? That isn’t just a coincidence. There isn’t a coincidence, there is a connection. (This article may help you understand it a little more if you want to go deeper –The Gut Brain Connection. ) But what about auto immune conditions like RA (I can attest to this) or hashimotos or migranes even? Having this fight or flight response causes our immune system to not function properly and inflammatory markers can in turn rise. An overload of this dependent on certain genes, etc things can get “turned on” and then our immune system goes after certain parts of our body, thinking it needs to attack. (in the case with RA our joints). Or what about something as extreme as a stroke or heart attack? I am pretty sure we have heard of stress causing those at times right?? Heightened and Chronic Emotional Stress needs to be controlled. We have to learn ways to help ourselves decompress.

And point #3- here is how-

First deep breathe. It sounds so simple…. But its not. The link below will help you if you are not familiar. But basically Deep Breathing is something that helps us calm down. When we breathe deep through our diaphragm and do slow breaths in and out it can turn on our parasympathetic nervous system (which helps us relax) and turn down our sympathetic nervous system (which controls fight or flight). So our cortisol and stress levels decrease, our blood pressure can decrease, we feel a peace within us…. and after really practicing this, it can decrease stress induced inflammation. Studies show it can help improve our immune function over time. Taking just 5 minutes a day to do this for yourself can make a big difference. You need to make sure you are doing it properly though – check out my video for more.

The next thing we need to practice is……learning to say no. No this isn’t a joke. We have to prioritize what is important , we have to make time for ourselves too. Saying no is something that doesn’t always come easy, myself included. However, saying yes to everything causes stress and overloaded schedules and no time to decompress.

Here are some simple tips, make a list of the stuff you have to get done that is a priority, if something else pops up that isn’t involved or life or death simply say no. I promise over thinking the other persons response is not worth our time either. If you really feel bad then simply ask for a rain check if possible, and if it is something you really want to do… then do it! If it is something that will improve your mindset or “spark joy” (had to) … then do it!

Then here we are at the third thing… Get sleep! I am going to go into this more next week but aim to get as much as possible. Minimum of 7 hours a night. Turn off your phone and do not check it anymore within an hour of going to bed. Let your mind and body decompress. Take a bath, relax, read a book. Take time to turn your mind off of your to do list.

Working with someone who is a professional can also help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with speaking to a counselor or therapist who can help you balance your thoughts and get life in line for you. They have jobs for a reason. Find someone you can speak to and trust. Listen to their advice and try to act on it.

To wrap it up, we need to learn to take more time for ourselves. It is the most important thing we can do. Really try to pay attention to what is triggering stress and trying to think before reacting. Taking a minute to deep breathe and focus on what is really important with what is going on. We are made to handle a lot, however if we do not take care of ourselves then we will not be able to do “all the things” either ;). Stay tuned for a program that will help decrease this stress, help you reach your fitness goals and help you eat better, so you feel better, look better and live better!


Reduce inflammation with this healthy spaghetti recipe with artichokes

Reduce inflammation with this healthy spaghetti recipe with artichokes

Eating healthy and to reduce inflammation is a lot easier than most people make it out to be. It just requires a little bit of planning, so if you hate planning then I can understand slightly lol. Other than that, stop with the excuses!

This recipe is great for anyone who does’’t have a lot of time, it is easy to prep and eat throughout the week and it TASTES GREAT!

Ingredients :

  • 2 lbs of organic lean ground turkey ( I like to do one 99% fat free and one 93%)

  • 1 can of Raos Sensitive Formula

  • 1 can artichoke hearts

  • 1 container of bella or oyster mushrooms

  • 2 TBSP of Trader Joes or other brand garlic infused olive oil

  • 1 TBSP Oregano (divided)

  • 1 TSP Basil

  • 1/2 TBSP of Thyme

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

  • Zucchini Noodles

Instructions :

  • Add 1 TBSP of olive oil to skillet and add some salt and pepper to taste. Start with mushrooms and saute for a few minutes until coated.

  • Add in ground turkey and 1/2 TBSP of Oregano and a little bit of salt and pepper. Combine and cook until almost done (about 5 minutes). Be sure to chop and dice throughout. Add in sauce and remaining spices and olive oil. Bring boil then reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes be sure to stir occasionally. Add in artichokes and let cook an additional minute or two.

  • While that is cooking you can cook the zuchinni noodles as directed (I typically just get trader joes frozen ones because theyre super easy) you could also do spaghetti squash or palmini noodles.

  • Remove water from zucchini and cook a few more minutes (you can add a little salt and pepper if needed)

  • Then divide into plates (this can yield anywhere from 6-8 depending on serving size and I am talking about the entire meal not just noodles. (HINT- make 8 )

  • Divide ground turkey mixture among plates and serve or refrigerate/freeze for later.


Hope you enjoy! Here are the stats :


Let me know what you think of it! Share your photos and or comments and tag me at @CandiceCFitness 🙂

Our Hips Don’t Lie

Our Hips Don’t Lie

Our hips….. Lawd if I had a dollar for everytime someone told me they have tight hips. It is funny though because I feel like alot of us relate everything tight in the front of our legs as our hips even the inner thigh area. Not that it is necessarily wrong but most of us do not even know what are hips are, what they do, and why they are important. If I asked you would you know?

Here is an example of how our hips get slightly flexed when walking.

Well lets go a little deeper into it then. Our hips are really a MAJOR player in our mobility, our comfort and ability to workout properly, move properly and do everyday things. So to give you a clear understanding, our hips are not just one muscle, we tend to think of “hip flexors” which are but essentially there are 11 of those bad boys responsible for “flexing our hip”. To clarify, to “flex” our hip means to basically swing or raise our leg. Think of when you are stepping up (the knee is bent and leg is 90 degrees aka flexing the hip), when you are walking and swinging your leg forward or when running that is also a degree of hip flexion, when you sit at a desk (like I am right now)…. My hips are flexed. So they get into this position alot, more than they probably get extended…. So they can get tightened and shortened from being this way. That is why we want to not only work to get them less tight, but do so my strengthening the muscles that also work to extend the hip… ya follow??

For example – if we strengthen our glutes and hamstrings more and they can bear more of a load as they are intended then we can take some of the pressure off of our hip flexors. Our glutes and hamstrings are meant to be primary movers as they help extend the hip (think kick back when we walk or run or push off rather) and internally and externally rotate our legs. They also help balance everything out. When we sit alot and our hips shorten then naturally the bigger muscles on the front of our legs take over when we move (think quadriceps) this automatically causes weakness in our glutes and hamstrings because they dont get to do any work. This also can cause too much pressure on our knees and can lead to our pelvis tilting forward because the hips are pulling it down. Then lower back pain starts, we get overstretched and underworked hamstrings and a weak core. If we strengthen the core, hamstrings and glutes it can pull our pelvis into alignment so our posture improves and back pain can diminish.

I know that is alot of information but can you see why keeping our hips mobile and training from a total body approach is important?? If we can get everything balanced out in the front and the back so to speak then we can move and feel better. It is something that is often so overlooked. Do me a favor try stretching your hips out right now, or foam rolling them. If you are confused how then check out the video below.

Also if you are not staying up to date on everything I am releasing and all the free info I send out weekly, then what are you waiting for?? Sign up for my newsletter below I will even send you an exclusive video on foam rolling just for joining :).

Sign up here! 

Over-training is a real thing

Over-training is a real thing

Over-training, the phrase itself can be deceiving, often because it is taken the wrong way where it is automatically assumed someone is training too much or that training a lot is bad. Which is not necessarily true. What it actually means when someone is assumed or diagnosed as so, that they are training too much without adequate time to recover and/or not enough fuel for the body (meaning caloric intake) to support it.

In both situations it is essentially meaning the person is adding too much stress on the body through training and lack of recovery.

How does it happen?

I have mentioned the effects of stress before with working out and in other areas, if you missed those posts you can find them here and here.

When we keep the body in a constant elevated stressed state, whether from hard workouts and pressures of long bouts of training or bad food, mental stress, lack of sleep etc it will cause harm to the body in the long run. When it comes to workouts and working out without adequate time to recover, you are asking for disaster after too long. Athlete or not recovery is key, and if not taken seriously any person can be affected. The key is catching it in the early stages and symptoms to prevent it from happening all together.

Just think about this for a second…. working out is a type of stress the body endures, and it is healthy. It stresses our muscles, our cardiovascular system, our ligaments, our mindset and all of that has positive effects BUT if taken too far without time for those things to relax and repair that is where the problems can start to occur. It is essentially just like any other stress the body endures, it can lead to our immune system to over react, our body to be in a heightened state all the time which taxes our adrenals, hormones and in turn metabolism.

So what should you do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you?

First make sure to incorporate rest and recovery to your workout program, regardless of how hard or not hard it may seem to be. This is the time when your muscles and body repair itself and get stronger, which we want. If we do not allow that to happen stress hormones get elevated and different things can occur.

This doesn’t mean you should always workout light, never do HIIT style training or lift weights or run long distances. It means you need to be sure after a hard workout or when you are first getting into working out you allow a day or two in between before attacking the same area again. A good rule of thumb is not training the same body parts for 48 hours to allow for muscle repair to happen and glycogen and hormones to level out again.

Typically if you are starting to feel burnt out you need to take a day or two off. If you cannot recover even after that then you may need a little more than you think. If you are continuously sore, yet keep pushing yourself without a day off you are asking for hormonal and metabolism problems after a while,

Some signs to watch out for:

  • Inability to sleep (get my free guide to helping with this here!)

  • Workouts that shouldn’t be challenging now are

  • Elevated HR throughout the day

  • Increased hunger

  • Plateauing weight loss and fat loss wise

  • Muscle and joint pain beyond typical “soreness”

  • Mindset is constantly negative and you “snap” on others for no reason (meaning you are out of character)

  • Stress seems increased

  • Wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep.

If you notice any of these occurring and you have been working out hard, or not eating enough (or even if you are unsure) it is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you get enough sleep, being sleep deprived and working through intense training sessions can lead to this. Sleep is a major part of when your body repairs itself, if that doesn’t happen cortisol can stay elevated and eventually it leads to this.

This is NOT to tell you to not work out, again I have to reiterate that! This is to preach the importance of rest and recovery. With our society’s popularity of doing all the HIIT things and constant overdrive of our culture with lack of sleep, OTS seems to be occurring more and more. If you are putting in the effort to workout, then make sure you are putting in the effort for your body to repair and thank you for it,

The best approach is to follow a structured plan that includes rest in it. Work with someone if you need to to find out the best plan for you, or choose one of mine to help you.

I know how hard it is sometimes to slow down once you start seeing results, but as long as you get adequate rest you won’t have to worry about the bad consequences. Make sure you keep that in mind with all of your training.


Four Ingredient Skinny Margarita

Four Ingredient Skinny Margarita

Not ALL Skinny Margaritas are created equal…..

Some still are loaded with fake sugars and ways to just get calories down, but when you use things like REAL lime juice and Stevia vs, syrups you get more bang for your buck.

Tequila is also something that is one of the “healthier” options (if there is such a thing) to have to drink. It has less sugars than some other alcohols and some brands are more clear if you will (less processing and additives like some have). Regardless we have to live a little right?!

This recipe only has four ingredients and anyone can make it.

I mean yall know I am not a chef or good in the kitchen but I think it is great! I have others to vouch for me too on this.

However just a side note —- I do recommend if you are someone who has allergies to certain alcohols or histamines and inflammation issues then I advise you go with a non barrel aged or brown tequila. The clearer the better just because it means they should have removed more of the aged stuff and makes it slightly purer…..


Recipe time!


Ingredients :


How to :

Combine em all for one drink or double or triple the recipe for even more people. 

And Enjoy Responsibly!!



This post contains affiliate links I may receive a small commission from.