The new year is a busy time for me, I often find myself helping women pick up the pieces of their broken selves, shattered after rushing around trying to please everyone and not giving one moment’s thought to their own self-care over Christmas. The trends I see are weight gain, hormone imbalance, exhaustion, cold and flu, anxiety, depression, upset tummies, irregular periods and, well, the list could probably go on. But it doesn’t have to be this way, you can still indulge, have fun, get your list done, please most, look after yourself and come out the other side in one piece, sound impossible? Well here are Six Silly Season Survival Tools to keep your hormones balanced and your body burning fat.
You can still indulge, have fun, get your list done, please most, look after yourself and come out the other side in one piece
Reduce Adrenaline: This hormone is your short term fight or flight hormone running rampant during this time of year. It shifts all your blood away from your organs to your extremities so you can fight or flee. Consequentially you need quick energy so your body moves stored glucose into your blood so your sugar levels rise and insulin, your fat storing hormone, kicks in to bring your body back to balance. This hormone shuts down your reproductive and digestive system leading to problems in this area. So if you are not so keen on storing fat without even eating, if you prefer to be able to use your digestive system and have an optimally functioning reproductive system, reduce adrenaline. Anything that makes your heart race is instigating an adrenal response. Reducing or eliminating caffeine, sugar and over doing high intensity exercise plus implementing regular mindfulness check in’s, is crucial to avoiding the crash.
- Implement Healthy Fat Burning Adrenal Nurturing Sleep: When sleep deprived, your body will not chose to burn fat as fat is a slow burning fuel and your body wants quick energy, easily. But what is good sleep? To support the natural rise and fall of hormones as part of your circadian rhythms go to sleep between 9-10pm when your hormone melatonin is flowing fast, before it slows and stress hormone cortisol has a surge between 1030/1130. After this time it will be harder to fall asleep. Rise when the light first hits your eyes, this will support the natural peak in cortisol and allow you to bounce out of bed, light exercise like a walk will also assist your happy hormone serotonin kicking in to support you throughout the day. Cortisol is influenced by light, so an hour before bed turn off all technology and dim the lights to support the drop in cortisol and communicate to your body it is sleep time.
- Reduce Insulin: Insulin is the key hormone to fat metabolism and if it is present all the time it locks fat in fat cells and will not let it pass, despite reduced calories or increased exercise. Your body does not like more than about a tsp of sugar in the blood so insulin’s job is to sweep it up into storage. Insulin is triggered by blood sugar and blood sugar increases with sugar and carbohydrates and, as mentioned above, stress. Reduce your insulin and fat storage over the silly season by choosing high fat foods instead of high sugar or carbohydrate foods. Foods like butter, cream, olive oil, avocado, meat, pate, coconut oil, nuts and seeds will not spike your insulin so much, they will nourish your body with a rich source of nutrients and calories so you will feel satisfied and eat less
- Be Kind To Your Liver: Your liver has numerous important roles including detoxing cholesterol and estrogen. If your liver is burdened with alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates, medications and other toxins it will prioritise these over detoxing cholesterol and estrogen. This can lead to estrogen and cholesterol being recycled and built up in the body. Estrogen is a very powerful hormone and when dominant in relation to its antagonist partner progesterone can cause a whole host of hormone issues in the body. Estrogen is also fat storing and fluid retaining so is most certainly one to be kept in check if your weight is important to you.
- Reprogram Destructive Thoughts: Your feelings during this busy time, and at any time in your life, are a direct expression of thoughts that have popped into your head whether conscious or more likely, sub-conscious. All or nothing thinking or the dreaded ‘Should’ leaves you feeling like the only options in life are black or white, you ‘should’ do something therefore if you don’t you have failed. This of course leaves you feeling overwhelmed during a time of so much pressure to do ‘everything’. When these thoughts pop into your head, One, Stop; Two, Question; Three, Go. For example “I should have helped with that” STOP! realise what you have just told yourself, QUESTION it? Is this even true? What’s an alternative? What’s the worst that could happen? What would you tell a friend? Then GO, create a new story, “It would have been nice if I helped with that, but I didn’t” It doesn’t have to be complex, just make your black and white world, one with some grey, and maybe some colour too.
- Fun: A rushing, busy, woman is not living in the now, she is living in the ‘to do’. The ‘to do’ is not present and not fun. Implement micro-moments of mindfulness. When you notice your heart racing, when you notice yourself getting angry or frustrated, when you notice you are going fast, check in with yourself, what is your breathing doing? Tap into the now. Slow your breath to a long and slow rhythm, one that makes your tummy rise and fall. This will slow your heart rate, tap into your para-sympathetic nervous system for healing, repair and fat burning. If you then have the time, look around, notice one thing with each of your senses, what do you smell, hear, see, feel, taste? Then enjoy that moment in the present, live, laugh, dance and sing. This season is about love, family, belonging, being part of something greater than just yourself. If you don’t stop to notice, then I will see you on the other side, in pieces, shattered, and that is no way to start 2017.
- A rushing, busy, woman is not living in the now, she is living in the ‘to do’. Put these tools away in your pocket, do something daily that is for you, for your own self-care, even if it is ‘Saying No’. Eat well, sleep well, be kind and rest your mind and you will make it out the other side, feeling accomplished, indulged, pleasing most and having had fun.
Merry Christmas, have a safe and happy holiday with your friends and family xx.