If it was only a matter of eating well and exercising we’d all be more healthy right? Why then is that so challenging for most of us? The formula is simple enough it seems. Just move your body a little bit each day and each healthy food. It certainly doesn’t sound difficult and yet millions of us struggle with losing weight and keeping it off as well as just having basic health. Even those that eat well and exercise often are found to have gaps in their nutrition that cause health problems. So what really is the secret?
We can blame genetics and family history. There is some disposition to this being valid but is that impossible to overcome as a result? In my opinion it can introduce some unique challenges but this too is possible to achieve results against. Having grown up in a poor and abusive family I know the difficulty of breaking that cycle and relationships so I could climb out of it. There is no doubt it would have been much easier to just follow suit of what I knew growing up but I didn’t. I have to believe our genetics and health cycle can also be changed too!
I believe one of the major components at the core of our struggle to lose weight is stress. We are under a stress level that never lets up leaving us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and not interested. I personally know when I’m stressed out from work the last thing I care about is cooking a meal or working out. Instead I’m done for the day and it’s time to curl up with a wine and watch tv if not just go to sleep. When we feel like day after day it adds up to a lot of missed workouts, fast food containers and craving for stretch clothes. We no longer remember what feeling good feels like beyond these self-soothing motions of going mind and body numb.
Managing our stress is key to rebuilding our health and ending this cycle that is literally weighing us down. In my own experience until we tackle the stress in our life, it doesn’t matter what diet and exercise routine we try we are jeopardizing our success. It doesn’t mean we won’t ever have a bad day again but it means we actively pursue living in a way that stops putting our needs on the backburner every time something else comes up in our day. When we do this we are choosing to push back on the stress that threatens to steal our joy for living.
This my friend is one of the hardest challenges I have ever taken on in my health journey. It is also directly related to how we begin to live naturally well and that was a path I craved to know more about the deeper I went into it. Just releasing a little of the stress in my own life enabled me to see how much I was missing out by spending hours mindlessly scrolling social media instead of listening to my own body and mind. Some would say social media scrolling is a stress reliever but I’m here to tell you that is a huge lie slowing you down.
Things like social media, binge watching tv and other mindless things we do to comfort ourselves are signs we are stressed. Lacking energy, being constantly tired and uninterested in activities is another huge red flag. Stress can be from things going on in our life currently or an accumulation of little things that have built up over time. Regardless, that stress is being worn on our body in the form of pounds and in our mind as depression. It is like a syrup that sticks to us and builds up layer after layer under we are suspended by it. It feels gooey and warm, some would say it’s even comforting and safe. Yet that is not really living in a way that is supporting health or wellness.
Breaking this cycle is work that begins with us recognizing the signs in our own life where stress is weighing us down. It is looking honestly at how we are living and responding to the stress we encounter every day and then actively looking at how to change that scenario. I have found just saying I won’t do something anymore isn’t enough. I’ve had to make changes to eliminate, change and even radically redefine things that were causing stress for me. That can mean changing jobs, redefining boundaries, ending things that should be ended. This is about changing the environment where stress is festering and impacting our life.
The first thing I realized when I made even some of the changes in my own life to better control stress was how much lighter I felt. This led to bigger and harder changes including setting boundaries with others. I had not lost a pound but already my mind was feeling free. I had some energy back at the end of my day too from not being so worn out with stress and worry. Things were starting to be interesting to me beyond what new series I could watch on Netflix. I started working out with a personal trainer virtually from home too. It was slow but I felt different.
When we introduce even small changes in our life, it influences other things we do. For instance when I started working out I realized I wasn’t craving as many fast food meals. Instead I wanted to have real food that tasted great and was more healthy. I also didn’t want to watch just any tv show or series but I wanted something positive, energizing and even uplifting. My outlook started to reflect what I was feeling inside in a more optimistic way. I started to feel like my old self again and with it came energy and interest that I thought was gone forever.
If you want to change your health, maybe even lose some weight, start with looking at your every day life. Where is your stress and how is it impacting how you feel? By reducing or eliminating that stress you have a path to living naturally well that also supports your health and wellness. I believe eating well and exercising work but for real results that last we need to first position ourselves for success by kicking back stress to realistic levels. Call it self-care done every day.
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