The holidays can be some of the most stress filled times of the year. But is all the stress necessary? Do you consider that we are probably the ones putting stress on ourselves…..? And if we are putting it on ourselves then we can probably adapt some habits to change that.
(Please do not take that statement as discrediting some of the hard stuff or memories that can make it hard after losing a loved one or loneliness among other things, but I am referring to the stress that comes from over committing, being a say yes to everything person, worrying about others too much vs ourselves, etc.)
Ps….If you are unfamiliar with what stress does to your body check out some of my previous blogs :
Stress and how it impacts your entire life and Stress and weight gain.
To sum them up quickly – stress is not good for us.
Whether it is external or internal. Whether we bring it on ourselves from work or allowing expectations to get to us, to over thinking, to what we eat or drink or surround ourselves with (our environment and lifestyle). All of these things can lead to stress on our body, that in turn can lead to illness through inflammation.
So why would we want to add other types of stress to our potentially already maxed state? It is a time we should be celebrating. Again please don’t mis-read that, as I know some people truly do have a hard time due to lost loved ones or other past instances or even loneliness. However, there are ways we can help ourselves feel better during this time regardless of circumstance. Below are a few of my top ways to do just that.
Top 5 Tips for Keeping Stress Down During the Holidays:
1- Get to sleep around the same time most nights of the week if not all of them.
- Sleep is imperative to our health. More and more studies are becoming available to show this. If we lack the deep sleep our body needs to restore itself then we are waking up in a stressed state. Our days are beginning with a body that is already overwhelmed this then can escalate throughout the day. You can read more about sleep and stress here.
2 – Don’t over commit yourself
- Most of us are guilty of this at some point in our lives. We do not want to let people down. Depending upon what stage you are in it may be a time when you feel you REALLY need to show up and impress certain people….. but does that really matter? Sometimes it might, but others we could be doing ourselves more harm than good. We say yes to everything then we give half of our self to these events if not less instead of choosing a few important ones and giving our all to them.
- Destress solution – Figure out which ones matter most and say yes to those. If they involve people you rarely see or add no value to your current life then feel no need to say yes.
3- Get moving atleast 4 days a week for 30 minutes or more.
- This is MAJOR. Exercise and/or decent movement (meaning getting slightly uncomfortable for 30 or so minutes ) can raise endorphins and serotonin levels which in turn makes us happier. Which makes us feel more accomplished and confident. When we feel this way we tend to make smarter choices aka not over committing.
- Destress Solution- Think of how many hours are in a week. If you tell me you can’t find 2 out of all 168 then you may need to take a step back from everything you are doing and reevaluate. This will only help YOU and in turn benefit others.
4- Start your day with a smoothie vs a heavy breakfast.
- Why is this important?? Well for starters I want you to think of energy. Your digestive system uses ALOT of energy. When we eat a heavy meal we tend to get tired after…. the reason?? Our digestive system! If it is using up so much of our energy to work and then we need that energy and have not done anything to restore it then here we go again adding a stress to our body. If you are already stressed then you don’t want to add to it!
- Destress Solution – Buy a vegan protein powder or one that is all natural and not Whey (aka dairy that can cause distress on the digestive system) add some frozen fruit and veggies and a healthy fat like almond butter or coconut oil, blend and drink. Smoothies are already a liquid so theyre easy to digest.) (Say hello to being more productive!
- This should go without saying. Being dehydrated only zaps your energy, your focus, your ability to get things done and on top of that messes with metabolism and immune function. All of this can make you more susceptible to illness.
- Destress Solution – Drink up! Start your day with water (room temp as it is more absorbable that way) a splash of lemon or lime and some sea salt. Chug it before you drink ANYTHING else especially coffee. This helps get your cells hydrated and immune system and digestive system moving. You can also try something like LIQUID IV that I use daily to help with hydration.
- You can read more on hydration here.
So many things can add stress to our life and we may not even know it. The biggest take away I want you all to get from this is that you should focus on what makes you happy and fulfilled this time of year. Hopefully that means being with those you care about and love. This can also mean finding someone to love on or help during this time. Find volunteer opportunities near you, this can help you become more fulfilled in so many ways.
Do you have any tips or tricks you do to keep stress down? I would love to hear them! Comment or share and tag me @candicecfitness. You never know who you may be helping!
I hope you have a happy holiday this year and look forward to seeing you in 2020!
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Oh the Grocery Store- there are SO many options. It can be overwhelming. I mean which brands are the best, which things do we really need, and why does it take so much time when you are trying to make smart choices??
Well this article is going to break it down a little bit for you. We are going to discover the best route to take when grocery shopping, which items to look for and which to avoid and why, and how to quickly understand nutrition labels.
First things first, not all grocery stores are created equal. However most are set up in a similar fashion. It is literally all for a purpose, if you do not believe me just look it up for yourself. Merchandising is a business and companies pay for where they are placed. Here is what I mean:
Grocery stores typically have the meat and produce and dairy going around the perimeter and the packaged stuff in the middle. However staples like meat, and dairy tend to be in the back…. why is that? Because it gives the consumer more exposure to other items first (i.e. when we go to the store for some chicken breasts but end up with a cart full of other stuff too).
Produce– typically near flowers to seem fresher. It typically is fresh however, go for produce in the back of shelf or display because the older stuff typically gets put in front to get purchased quicker.
Baking goods, ingredients, and canned goods are typically in the aisles to again give consumers exposure to more stuff they do not necessarily need.
Another tid bit of info you may not realize is the shelves are also set up a certain way. Eye level is typically by the big brands that can shell out the money to be seen more. Smaller more local brands will typically be at the top, and kid appealing foods at the bottom.
Knowing this though, what is the best route to take when grocery shopping?
- First off come in prepared- have a list- get actual recipes one day a week that you plant to cook prior and get only what you need, stay focused.
- Try to go on the outside aisles only, you will be less tempted this way (just try to avoid the bakery lol)
- Grab things toward the back of produce and meat etc, they tend to be fresher and newer.
- Eat before going to the store.You know they have all those free samples for a reason right? If they get you to eat something…. and you like it…. more money for them because it is going in your cart.
- If you are really dreading the idea of grocery shopping then use a service like instacart to get them delivered, if you always end up spending $10-$20 more just by buying things you see when you are there, then it is worth the delivery
- fee anyway.
What should you avoid/go for?
- Go for Organic when possible
- If anything else avoid the dirty dozen (the worst fruits and veggies to buy due to typical contamination levels from pesticides, antibiotics, etc.
- These guys consist of – Strawberries, Spinach, Apples, Pears, Nectarines, Cherries, Grapes, Celery, Tomatoes, Potatoes (if eating skin), Sweet Bell Peppers, Peaches
- Avoid overly processed foods (have a ton of ingredients you cannot pronounce, more on this in the next section)
- Hit the parameter of the store
What about those nutrition labels- if you have to buy something packaged then how do you know whether it is good for you??
Here are my main tips:
- Opt for things labeled organic or Non GMO to start then look at the actual ingredient list…. NOT THE CALORIES
- What is in the actual ingredients?
- If there are more than 5-7 ingredients and you cannot pronounce some of them, then put that back and opt for another brand.
- Be weary of words like sucrose, dextrose, barley malt, rice syrup and of course high fructose corn syrup.
- These are simply types of added sugars. Alot of people will say to be weary if it is ose at the end however that may not always be the case.
- If it contains any of these artificial sweeteners then try to avoid it –
- sucralose (splenda), aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet and Low) as these have been linked to numerous conditions over the years.
- If it has a color with a number on it….. typically avoid it.
- Pay attention to Added Sugars Listed on the label
- You typically will see sugar then added sugar. You want the sugar content overall to be low, but chances are if there are added sugars it is going to be even higher. **The daily recommendation for women the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25grams a day for women**** (some granola bars and yogurts contain that)
- Look at the Macros (protein/fat/carbs)
- Ideally you want a balanced ratio of all of this stuff.
- Avoid things with Trans Fats
- Look at the SERVING SIZE
- This may go for more before you are consuming the product if you buy it but pay attention here. You may think you are getting 1 serving in a can for example and eat or drink it all….. but in reality there are 4 so you just consumed FOUR of everything listed on that label.
Try these tips out and see if you can’t master the grocery store like a boss. I got a FREE grocery list for ya too to be prepared with the best foods to keep inflammation down and feel better :).
We have all been there, its after dinner, watching tv or reading or doing whatever…. Then, hunger strikes and we do NOT understand why. Is it because we are bored?
Is it because we didn’t eat the right things?
Do we just have an undeniable sweet tooth that will never be cured?
It could be some of those things, but chances are it is more due one of the following- the foods we are eating, whether we are getting enough water, nutrient absorption and/or gut imbalances, lack of sleep and stress which can all lead to hormone imbalances and insulin resistance.
So lets it break it down a little bit and then I will give you some recommendations on what you can do.
What it could be:
Poor food combining-
What we eat matters. Eating processed foods that lack proper nutrients our body needs can leave us feeling more hungry. Many processed foods contain sugars that combined with other fake ingredients our body cannot process cause blood sugar dis regulation which in turn affects hunger by leading to more cravings not long after we eat.
If we eat meals with proper proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats that also include vital micro nutrients (like those found in organic leafy greens and seeds) can make a huge difference in how we feel and process food. Not to mention eating processed foods lead to gut imbalances which lead to poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients when we do consume them.
We know we gotta drink water but did you know that not being hydrated makes a major difference in how we feel in relation to being full and satisfied?
For example, have you ever had someone tell you to drink some water you may be thirsty when you say you are hungry (but you really shouldn’t be?) Well there is a reason for that. When we are not getting adequate hydration our cells simply go after sugar (and make us crave it) for a quick fix for energy since we do not have enough hydration within our cells for them to function. Our body is smart and it knows sugar gives a quick boost- so enter the sugar craving.
Lack of sleep causes stress hormones to rise. You can read all about that here. However when this happens it lead
to cravings. When there is a stress (like lack of sleep and repair)
to our body not only do our stress hormones rise but they also cause our appetite hormones to get imbalanced which leads to cravings and potentially overeating.
Nutrient Absorption –
I am going to focus on one in particular right here because many of us lack it. Low magnesium.
This is a nutrient our body needs to help with cellular energy and absorption of other vitamins and nutrients like calcium and vitamin k and d3. However most of us are low in it due to poor absorption in our gut and/or not eating enough magnesium rich foods . Being low in it can lead to insulin resistance and fatigue which can both increase sugar and hunger cravings by playing with hormones such as our stress hormones which can signal our body to crave certain things for energy.
Other minerals that may mimic cravings due to our body lacking them are calcium, zinc, and chromium. Some of these may be simply due to dehydration while others may need to be supplemented.
So what are the 5 most important things you can do to help nix these late night cravings?
1- Drink enough water throughout the day
- Start your day with a full glass of water BEFORE anything else. Then aim to have atleast 2 more before lunch. Then 3 more before dinner, then two after.
- Avoid adding things with splenda or other articificial sweeteners to these glasses as they can strip the nutrients from the water you drink.
- Opt for mineral based waters like The Mountain Valley (my favorite)
2- Eat a diet that consists of healthy proteins and fats
- These two things combined with complex carbs (non starchy to spike bloodsugar) actually help regulate blood sugar and control cravings.
3- Get enough sleep
- I know it is easier said than done, but sleep really is crucial to setting yourself up for success. It is when our body repairs itself, it is when our metabolism should be working and setting itself up for the next day. If you need help with some good sleep practices I have a freebie for ya here.
- Do something every day to help yourself decrease stress. Again stress is so BAD for us and it is caused by so many different things in our life, not just from work. It is also caused internally with the foods we eat that are not good for us, the alcohol we may drink, the antiobiotics we may take and mess up our gut, the toxins we are exposed to in the air. Now do not take that to mean that you need to live in a bubble but taking some time out to really breathe and relax, take a walk, get a massage, read a book, take a bath, do something for you it can really make a difference.
5- Supplement or eat more vitamin and micro nutrient rich foods.
- Eating things like spinach, kale, some grains and seeds, all these things can really help us and heal to where we can absorb other nutrients better. Supplementing with a probiotic to help the microbiome in our gut get more balanced and/or other things like magnesium and zinc can help too. Just make sure they are of a good quality like these.
Hopefully this can help you get off to a good start with feeling less hungry ALL the time. As always please check with your doctor before starting ANY supplement or changing anything in your diet as these are all ONLY recommendations. We are ALL different BUT we can always find solutions to help us feel better none the less.
(Disclaimer- I may receive a small commission on some of the affiliate links posted in this article and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)