>Sometimes I get myself so worked up…

Sometimes it takes being repeatedly hit by the ‘clue x 4’ before we really get it. My struggle with obesity is all about the stress in my life and how I handle it.

Anxiety has been stalking me throughout the past 20 years. I think, by now, I’m so used to the feeling of anxiety that it feels normal. It feels normal to have racing thoughts (monkey mind). It feels normal to need something to calm me down at the end of the day, whether that is wine or cheese or bread or some rich/sweet dessert. It feels normal to get up and scavange the refrigerator when I am worried that I won’t be able to do something (complete a task/goal). It feels normal to dampen any rising anxiety by eating until I feel so bad about myself that I am distracted from the overwhelming anxiety that threatens to consume me. (Anxiety! It’s EATING me!)

This explains so much…it explains why I am shaped the way I am. It explains the symptoms that I exhibit. And, it explains why the things I have done in the past few years haven’t worked.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone. It’s also known as the ‘stress hormone’. Basically, when we are stressed our adrenal glands release cortisol. The cortisol floods our system and lingers long after the original stressor is gone. Now, understand, the body is supposed to do this but for many of us, our stress response is activated so often, that we end up stuck in a state of chronic stress.

Too much cortisol causes an inflammatory response throughout the body. And, if you google ‘chronic inflammation symptoms’, you will find out more than you ever wanted to know about how our bodies react to inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the culprit behind so many of my symptoms (asthma, dry eyes, swelling/bloat, joint pain, absent-mindedness, depression, high blood pressure and obesity – particularly, high amounts of belly fat).

Guess what reduces levels of cortisol? Yoga, exercise, meditation, AND eating the right foods. Of course!

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=whasea-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=034549802X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrBut it’s not just a matter of calories in/calories out…it is also about eating particular foods that actively reduce levels of cortisol. Dr. Andrew Weil has written about this for years. And you know what, y’all, I have read Dr. Weil’s books for years…I’ve always liked him and what he has to say but, still, the connection…the WHY that I have been looking for all these years…never really jumped out at me. I just lumped myself into the “I’m an emotional eater” category and thought nothing more of it.

What I’ve been telling myself over these past 5 years is that I am just lazy and don’t have enough will-power or determination to stick to my diet plan. I told myself that I just didn’t have time and that I needed to concentrate on other things like my relationship or career. I told myself that gaining all this weight was just part of getting older.

On some level, though, I knew that there was a cortisol/stress connection and is why I have been getting into yoga and meditation over the past few years. I don’t have it down as a matter of routine, yet…but now I know why it is so important for me to make yoga/meditation/daily exercise a habit.

In the past 3 weeks, I have lost 10 pounds. I am so pleased but more than that, I am feeling so much better for having lost the weight. I don’t feel so bloated and I am sleeping so much better at night. I am having more energy during the day and I am not feeling as depressed and anxious.

I have made some simple modifications to my diet, which I think has helped a lot – not drinking coffee in the mornings during the week, not drinking wine in the evenings during the week, switching out sugar cravings for fruit (anytime I want to eat something sweet or sugary/desserty, I have opted for a piece of fruit), and making an effort to stay under 1479 calories a day has really made a big difference.

This time I have been paying attention to how I want to exercise each day. My goal is to get in some exercise 6 days a week with 1 off day. I have modified my workout on the treadmill to reflect this. On days when I am feeling tired and fighting it, I just walk at a little more than moderate pace (NOT strolling) for 30 mins. On days when I’m feeling great, I have pushed myself to go faster and longer.

I want to say that I am excited about what the future holds for my health…I want to say that I am excited at the prospect of a healthy, strong, slim me…but I don’t want to be focused on that or let that idea distract me…it seems important for me, right now, to kind of stay in the moment…to focus on today…

So today, I am going to workout for a good long time…at a moderate pace but a nice long walk. Since it is Friday, I did have the luxury of a cup of coffee (1.5 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp. Coconut – nondairy, nonsoy – creamer…YUM!)…but will also have a clean breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tonight some restorative poses (legs up the wall!)…and that will be that.

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