By: Clark Bartram
As we approach the peak of the holiday season, I felt it important to address the one thing most people don’t realize is holding them back from losing weight…
And it’s not necessarily the Christmas cookies (although that’s not helping)...
This time of year, pretty much everyone feels its effects with all the extra activities and pressures that come with the holidays.
But too often, we just push forward without realizing the effects not only on our mental health but on our physical health and ability to lose fat.
Here’s the deal – stress triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol, and when left unchecked it can wreck testosterone levels for men and mess with the balance of sex hormones for women.
If you feel like you’re generally eating well and working out regularly, but nothing seems to move the needle…
Stress may be the culprit. Let’s talk about why this happens and how to get it under control, so you can have a more peaceful holiday, and get your hormones and fitness goals back on track.
Let's kick things off by addressing stress – the elusive hormone disruptor.
Did you know that stress doesn't discriminate? It can send testosterone levels plummeting for the men and throw hormonal harmony out of whack for the women.
Even the mere expectation of stress can set the hormonal rollercoaster in motion.
Cortisol, a hormone produced in response to stress, plays a role in releasing energy. However, elevated cortisol levels can interfere with the balance of testosterone for men and the balance of sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone for women.
So, managing stress is essential to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance. It's a direct cause-and-effect relationship between stress, cortisol, and important sex hormones.
Let's talk about solutions. Pick one or two of the following to start adding into your daily routine.
Different things work for different people, so try a few and see what works for you.
One thing to avoid is adding them all at once and causing yourself more stress when you’re trying to reduce it.
Choose activities that seem the most appealing to you, and incorporate them gradually.
Take a few moments each day to connect with your spiritual side. Whether you're religious or not, this practice can provide a sense of peace and perspective. Use this time to reflect, express gratitude, or simply find solace.
It has been scientifically proven that our brains cannot experience both depression / anxiety at the same time as expressing gratitude due to the areas of the brain that are activated.
Regularly acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your life. Keep a gratitude journal where you jot down things you're thankful for.
Focusing on the good can shift your mindset and reduce stress.
Identify specific sources of stress in your life, whether they're work-related, personal, or environmental. Develop strategies to address or minimize these stressors.
Sometimes, it's about setting boundaries and knowing when to say no.
Recognize that not everything is within your control. Practice letting go of things you can't change and focus on what you can influence. Embracing this mindset can reduce frustration and anxiety.
Engage in physical activities you enjoy, whether it's hitting the gym, going for a run, or dancing. Exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural mood lifters. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
Fuel your body with a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Include a mix of lean proteins, vegetables, and a healthy source of fat in each of your meals. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugars, and caffeine.
Prioritize quality sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal your body that it's time to wind down. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support overall well-being.
Foster meaningful connections with family and friends. Schedule regular time to engage in activities together or simply share a conversation. Social support is a powerful buffer against stress.
Spend time outdoors, whether it's a walk in the park or a hike in nature. Nature has a calming effect on the mind and can help reduce stress. Take in the sights, sounds, and fresh air to rejuvenate your spirit.
Challenge negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Over time, cultivating a positive mindset can reshape your overall outlook.
Incorporate activities you enjoy into your routine. Whether it's a hobby, a game, or creative pursuits, make time for things that bring you joy. Fun is not a luxury but an essential part of a balanced life.
Release the burden of grudges by practicing forgiveness. Understand that forgiveness is for your well-being, not necessarily for the other person. It's a step towards emotional freedom.
Practice mindfulness by being fully present in the current moment. Let go of worries about the past or anxieties about the future. Appreciate the richness of the present.
Incorporate deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. When stressed, take five slow, deep breaths to activate the body's relaxation response. This simple practice can be a game-changer in managing stress in the moment.
Now, let's get serious for a moment. Sometimes you have to ask yourself the tough questions.
What's got you feeling stressed or down? Can you do something about it? Do you genuinely want to break free from these things?
Remember, it’s important to reach out for help when you need it, but ultimately managing your stress is a journey you must initiate. Take one small step, and then another. You've got this!
Get stress under control, and I guarantee you’ll look and feel like an entirely different person in 2024.
Want to start optimizing your hormone levels now?
Check out the Unfair Advantage Hormone Pack.
It has everything you need to balance common midlife deficiencies and boost or balance hormone levels naturally.
Give it a try – you’ll be so happy you did!