The truth about stress
As we become ever persuaded by the energy of the cosmos affecting our day to day relationships, and halted by the return of Mercurys’ next dive into retrograde. Let us bring our selves back down to earth! Now, I am of course not saying we aren’t affected by the shifts in the universe; but I think we can all agree, that when calling on the greater powers to answer our questions like, “What the actual ***** is going on with my body? We can undoubtedly find the clearest of answers, by understanding ourselves a little better, from within.
Be honest, just as not all of the thoughts that pop into your head are true, our mind can play tricks on us as can our hormones, and as anyone who has suffered mood swings (or depression) can attest, sometimes our will isn’t enough to change the way we feel. True is our hormones; some things that happen with our bodies are not able to be willed better by diet and force~ but by the subtle checking in and understanding that a goal of balance and stability (focus on the controllable) may be just what we need in understanding what is really going on.
What the hormone?
Hormones are essentially the regulator that affects mood, mental outlook, your ability to perform at work, athletically as well as sexually; they govern appetite, metabolism and cravings, all the while telling your body to store or shed weight, rest or flee. So why are these controlling chemical messengers so hard to communicate clearly with? Due to constant communication, we forget to give credit to how sensitive these operations can actually be.
The four major hormones are cortisol (stress hormone), testosterone and estrogen (our sex hormones) and insulin (our blood sugar regulator). Understanding why we go out of balance is the key component in re-stabilizing. It is not helpful to punish your already overstressed life and spend hours doing cardio trying to undo lifestyle choices and environmental impact because suddenly you’re getting soft. The thing about hormones is that they don’t work in isolation. Just as if you were to do 1,000 crunches a day and still not have abs; the issue is not core strength, its that you need to target the reason you are storing belly fat… which is cortisol!
What and How
You do not have to feel stressed to have high cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone, not a feeling. So when you wake up between 3-5am every night, this is a sign that your cortisol is running rampant and you are not able to fully recover. When this happens, your adrenals are essentially running on E, not only toying with your energy levels (think 3 pm crash) but also increasing your cortisol encouraging your body to store belly fat.
How to deal:
Imagine you are suddenly awoken by a loud noise, not only spiking your stress hormone but increasing your insulin sensitivity by way of overall immediate sensitivity to everything around you. Alternately, consider what happens when waking up slowly to a quiet surrounding. This can put you at a sense of ease, allowing your cortisol to rise just enough to get you up, but letting your body slowly begin to self regulate.
This example also holds true to what you eat first thing in the morning. I know all you intermittent fasters are dying to cut in about the genius that is not eating… but so to holds relevant, the first thing you put in your body will govern your body’s sensitivities throughout the rest of the day. Start your day with a sugar-packed donut, your blood sugar levels will spike and then crash, continuing to do so throughout the rest of the day resulting in greater cravings and lower energy.
Trailing by the tales of influencers insisting that “abs are made in the kitchen”, many cling to an extreme caloric deficit resulting in a unique kind of skinny fat. As described by the Poliquin Institute, “Cortisol is a critical metabolic hormone that frees energy stores from fat and muscle to be burned during times of stress, such as lack of food (fasting). The importance lies in consuming the right kinds of foods, at the right times.
1: Start every day with this Simple Tonic to fuel your adrenals and instantly lower cortisol.
2: All stress needs a de-stress. Whether for you this is mediation, surfing, reading, yoga or cooking- bottling it up so you can push it down will only cause adverse effects.
3: Quality protein and fat in the morning will increase brain cognition, decrease inflammation, improve immune health, as well as heal your gut, allowing you to be able to face the days’ challenges with a bit more calm and clarity.
4: Sleep! The necessity of good night sleep is next to nothing. Which makes sense to why a higher sleep consistency can yield lower cortisol levels, more stable blood sugar levels, lower estrogen and improving testosterone and growth hormone.