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Stressed? Then you have to read this

Sometimes I think that there must be some kind of “blanket” that envelopes us all. That can be the only explanation for how it can sometimes seem as if everyone is going through the same thing, all at the same time. This week, so many people I know seem to have had a tough time, be they colleagues, friends or family.

Whether it’s been miscommunication or unwanted surprises, it’s all boiled down to the same thing – feeling horribly stressed and perhaps also overwhelmed.

We have a lot on our plates. We are asked to lean in, to be a breadwinner (if not also the main breadwinner), to be a leader, a mum, and the very many roles we take on in our lives. We are so good at multi-tasking, that we often overlook that we’ve taken on too much, and often forget to put ourselves into the picture.

If this is you, here’s what I really want for you to hear.

You deserve to put yourself first. Take time for yourself. Be kind, to yourself.

Sometimes, this might mean not striving 100% of the time, because 80% is perfect. When I was growing up, I remember hearing someone say that even God took a break on the seventh day. 🙂

Giving ourselves a break – physically, mentally and emotionally – is truly central to de-stressing. The funny thing is, getting tense and stressed is unconscious. It’s like breathing. It happens without you thinking about it at all. But destressing and relaxing is conscious, and what this means is that you have a choice. You can choose to turn relaxation on.

But because we are so busy, we often choose not to. We cut ourselves off from the neck down, ignoring our body’s messages that it needs a break, and we carry on, pushing through tiredness, hunger, anxiety, pain….

I’ve been there too. Not even that long ago, and because this week has been so stressful for so many people I know, I wanted to remind you, to invite you, to take a break and to destress.

The key is to begin to make it a habit – to build in reminders throughout the day to step back, if only for a moment, to take that break, and to bring your body into a more relaxed place. Over time, as you begin to tune back in to your body’s messages and you begin to notice your stress levels starting to rise, take that break. The best thing of all is that you can begin to reverse the impact that stress has had on your life.

Here are some things you can do when you take that break, to bring your body into a relaxed state. Pick and mix, if you’d like.

  1. Breathe the 6/7/8 – Sit upright in your seat, feet placed flat on the floor, relax your head, neck, shoulders, body, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes. Now, take a deep breath for the count of 6, hold it for the count of 7 and then exhale for the count of 8. Repeat this 5 times. How do you feel now?
  2. Stand up, stretch and gently bend backwards. Hold for the count of 3. Repeat 3 times.
  3. Shrug and roll your shoulders a few times, then gently bend your neck backwards, stretch your neck and look up. Hold for the count of 7.
  4. Close your eyes, and visualize somewhere peaceful and serene – the beach, a meadow, the forest, a lake…the choice is yours. Allow your mind to calm down and watch any thoughts that may arise float off into the distance. You’ll know when to open your eyes again 😉
  5. Tense all your muscles at the same time – clench your fists, your buttocks, straighten your arms and your legs, squeeze your eyes, scrunch your face, and hold for the count of 5, then release. Repeat 3 times.

There. Just a few ideas. What others might you have?

And of course, there’s food. What you eat, how you eat and when you eat, all have an impact on your stress levels too. Remember:

  • Eat within ½ and hour to an hour of waking up.
  • Eat protein, healthy fat and fibre with every meal and snack.
  • Eat regularly throughout the day, to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Typically, this means breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks.
  • Minimise the junk food, refined carbs, caffeine and alcohol, which mess with your hormones.
  • Try out one of my favourite snacks – an orange with a teaspoon full of almond or cashew butter. Yum!

Not too much biochemistry this week, haha. Now, over to you. Let me know how you go.

Make your next years your best years.

 

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Do women in their 40’s and 50’s really have to lose their waistline?

 

What a week! The “busy bug” found me and bit me. 🙂 But I am otherwise very well, and I hope the same goes for you too.

After my last newsletter, Elaine wrote with a great question (thanks, Elaine). She asked, “Question about the weight gain around the middle. Is it unavoidable or even essential to have that belt of fat? A good friend of mine, who is also a qualified yoga teacher, told me that it is essential to have that belt of fat to retain or compensate for the lower level of oestrogen in the menopausal years. She said her gynae told her that. Say goodbye to the hourglass shape once past fertile years and accept the rectangle because it is nature’s way. True or false?”

Interestingly, this last weekend, one of the lectures on my degree was on “Nutritional Therapy and Healthy Aging.” Our lecturer asked if getting to 50 inevitably means you’ll get middle aged spread, and then proceeded to show us that that isn’t true, as she is living proof of that.

So why is it that we often see evidence of the thickening waistline, and an apparent shift in body shape from the pear (wide hips and thighs, with more weight below the waist, consisting of subcutaneous fat – that is, surface fat surrounding the muscle) to the apple (fat around the middle, and often, also around the organs, known as visceral fat)?

The short answer is, unbalanced hormones.

During our fertile years, oestrogen is produced by the ovaries, and as we get into our 40’s and 50’s, and we begin to stop ovulating, the body looks to its fat tissue to help with oestrogen production. Fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to oestrogen, so this becomes an important element of our hormone mix, because oestrogen helps with other bodily changes too, such as slowing down postmenopausal bone loss (which itself also happens because of less oestrgen).

Overall, therefore, as we get into our 40’s and 50’s, we produce less oestrogen, and lower levels of oestrogen lead to a change in the distribution of fat, depositing more fat around the middle. This happens even without any weight gain.

The trouble is, fat around the middle (specifically visceral fat) is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat, and increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Plus, it is highly receptive to stress, and with ongoing stress being common in our modern lives, the depositing of and holding onto fat in this area is exacerbated. Why? Because with the ongoing stress, the body thinks that it’s going to need readily accessible fuel for “fight or flight”, which is the only way it knows how to interpret stress.

However, in our modern lives, we generally don’t fight or flee, but we do tend to have chronically elevated stress levels. So the body continues to circulate energy in our bloodstream that it means for fighting or fleeing, upsetting our balance of hormones further, and depositing even more fat around the middle for the ongoing stress it believes it needs it for. And now, it’s not just oestrogen, there’s also the interplay of cortisol and insulin.

So does it mean that we have to say goodbye to the hourglass shape and accept the rectangle, and place all the blame on oestrogen?

The bottom line is that our bodies are hugely complex systems, and it isn’t as simple as saying that oestrogen on its own makes you fat around the middle. Too much is just as problematic as too little, and it’ll also be relative to other hormones like progesterone. It’s really about hormonal balance.

That’s why it’s especially important for women in their 40’s and 50’s, to manage their stress levels, to eat the right foods that help to keep their hormones balanced, and to have the right kind of movement, and daily moderate movement, such as walking in particular – because this uses up the energy in the system that the body thinks it needs for the ongoing stress. See how it’s all inter-related?

I’m not a hormone expert. This is something I’m learning more and more about. But what I do know, is that I used to have much more belly fat, and it all came to a head when I started getting episodes of hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia. And when I changed my diet and lifestyle, some of my waist returned, and the hot flushes and night sweats went. The insomnia took a little longer.

Perhaps the most interesting thing of all, is that if I tip the balance on my eating habits for long enough that I cross the threshold, some of those symptoms come back. And the good news is, I know exactly what to do to get right back into balance again. Now, my next target is to get into optimal balance. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, where are you at? Are there changes that you know would be beneficial for you to make, so that you can get some of your waistline back? How would that feel?

Make your next years your best years.

 

How Adult Coloring Is Bringing Sexy Back

A number of years ago, when I first came to coaching, I decided that I would follow my own advice to clients and take art classes, not for any other reason than to have fun. I found a small group of friends who were also up for it, and then, for 8 Saturdays in a row, we’d show up at Sheila’s (our art teacher’s) home.

We learned how to draw, we learned about perspective, color and the different mediums, from charcoal to acrylics to pastels to watercolor and more. For the first time in my life, my intention was not so that I could draw well or paint well or create a picture that I approved of (in other words, judged), but purely to enjoy something for the sake of it. It also helped me to become less critical of other people’s pieces of art.

But more than any of that, every Saturday morning, my friends and I would emerge from Sheila’s house as gleeful as children in kindergarten.

Now, you’ve probably seen the craze for adult coloring books. They topped bestseller lists in 2015 and it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon. People love it! Why is that?

Well, it seems that coloring helps relieve stress, and we are living in a time of great stress. With constant changes in our roles in the world, how we view ourselves, and the frantic pace at which technology is developing, it probably comes as no surprise that a mindful, meditative task that focuses on repetitive movements helps relieve stress by forcing us to be present in the moment. It’s a form of waking meditation.

Further, the back and forth motion of coloring engages both sides of the brain, while turning off the part of the brain responsible for situational awareness (the frontal lobe). It satisfies the creative side of our minds which often may not get a look in and goes some way to explaining why it can be so relaxing.

It can also give us a sense of accomplishment when we finish the coloring in of a picture, and then it allows us to indulge in the gift of giving because they make fabulous personalized presents for friends and family. And let’s face it, being in a relaxed state is also a wonderful gift you can give both to others as well as yourself.

So How Exactly Is Adult Coloring Bringing Sexy Back?

It all has to do with cortisol.

But hold on, what exactly is cortisol? Well, cortisol is our “stress hormone”, produced in our adrenal glands.

It rises and falls in correlation to our circadian rhythms, rising in the early hours of the morning to help us wake up and get out of bed, and then falling again at night-time, helping us to go to sleep and stay asleep.

When faced with a stressful “fight or flight” challenge, cortisol is the hormone that kicks into action, bringing glucose into our bloodstream for energy needed by organs deemed critical for handling the stress, such as our brain, lungs, heart and skeletal muscle. At the same time, it shuts down functions such as reproduction, digestion and the immune system, which are deemed as non-essential to the situation at hand.

Sounds good, we think, except that our modern lives are filled with one stressor after another – ongoing pressures at work, over-doing it at the gym, not eating enough, the challenging conversation with your partner, lack of sleep, and on and on. What happens when an individual experiences ongoing stress without adequate coping strategies, cortisol levels remain high. It’s this chronic elevation of cortisol that has many potential repercussions. Here are some of them:

  • It causes a redistribution of fat from the buttocks and thighs to the abdomen
  • It can cause insulin resistance
  • It can cause fluid retention and high blood pressure
  • The immune system continues to be “down-regulated”, as well as your reproductive and digestive systems
  • It induces the breakdown of muscle, bone and connective tissues

Let’s put it another way.

  • You develop a pot belly, whether you’re a man or a woman. As a woman, you’ll lose your waist and shapely feminine figure and get fat around the middle.
  • You’ll increase the likelihood of becoming sick with conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease.
  • You’ll look puffy and bloated, weigh more and put your heart and kidneys under more stress.
  • You’ll catch more colds and infections, your fertility could be affected and you’ll get less nutrition from the food you eat, which could lead to food craving and weight gain.
  • You’ll lose muscle tone, look saggy and flabby, and set yourself up for osteoporosis. Not only that, you’ll find it immensely difficult to build muscle, no matter what your exercise or strength training routine.

Not sexy.

The bottom-line is that we do need cortisol, in just the right amounts and we don’t want it to be continually elevated. To recap, it is chronic stress without adequate coping or management strategies that lead to ongoing elevated levels of cortisol that does the damage.

“Make Art”

The good news is, “making art” can actually help to reduce our cortisol levels. What’s more, and can you believe this, researchers at the University of Turku in Finland actually ran a study that found that women with lower stress levels were perceived to be more attractive that those who were stressed out. This was also found by the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland to be true about women finding men with lower cortisol levels more attractive. No need to have research to tell us that, I’m sure, we only have to look in the mirror or reflect on a day when we’ve been irritable and snapping at others to know that that’s not especially attractive.

See? That, is how adult coloring is bringing sexy back. 🙂 And I bet you never thought that adult coloring could have an impact on your health and fitness goals.

Have you ever tried adult coloring? Did you find that it helped you with relaxing and feeling good? Share with us. Come on over to the Facebook page and let us know.

Love

Veronica
xo

References

Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray & Juan Muniz (2016) Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making, Art Therapy, 33:2, 74-80, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2016.1166832

Jones D. (editor). Textbook of functional medicine. Gig Harbor, Wash: Institute of Functional Medicine; 2010.

Too Tired To Even Think About Exercise?

I haven’t been sleeping too well lately. I’ve been suffering with a frozen shoulder that aches most of the day and then wakes me up at night. Interestingly, in China and Japan, frozen shoulder is known as, wait for it, “fifty year old shoulder” and is attributed to an imbalance in hormones. Hmmm, imbalance in hormones. Sound familiar?

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I’ve also been reading that progesterone drops when we get into our 40s (by the way, this affects men too, but to a much lesser degree). It is a hormone that has a calming and relaxing effect. Further, it seems that tension in the neck and shoulders is often also a result when progesterone levels drop. I’m sure that it must contribute to “fifty year old” shoulder.

As if things aren’t bad enough already for us women over 40, lol, if you’ve been dieting quite a bit in your younger years, your adrenal glands are probably tired. Why? Because when you go hungry or get that dizzy feeling from lack of food, your body goes into stress mode, and your adrenal glands work hard to try and rebalance.

But not having known this at the time, we continued with the dieting, thinking feeling hungry is good for us, and so our adrenals have been overworked for many years. This may explain why many women often find that they don’t seem as able to handle stress to the same extent once they get into their 40s.

The long and short of it is that we end up carrying stress and tension in our body all day long for an extended period of time – years! Prolonged stress in the body drains energy, and also causes the body to store and hold on to fat, due to the continuing elevated levels of cortisol in the body and its cascade effect on insulin.

So on Friday, I took myself to a restorative yoga class. Restorative yoga uses props to support your body, so that you can relax into and allow the body to open with passive and longer held poses. Because the poses are still, some say that it is more about mind than some other types of yoga.

I confess that my mind wasn’t sure that it liked it. But my body loved it. I slept like a log that night. All night long.

How the stress of our modern lifestyle impacts our wellbeing

Now, here’s the thing. Work, commuting, financial concerns, a conflict with a co-worker or a difficult meeting – these are all seen as threats by our body, and this triggers a “fight or flight” or stress response. This causes a series of reactions. Your heart beats faster in order to provide as much oxygen as possible to the organs and cells, your muscles tighten and shorten in preparation for action and adrenaline is released, heightening your senses and causing your body to release energy into your body, so you can fight or flee, as needed.

This automatic stress response protects the body and is part of our survival mechanism. The trouble is, our modern day “sabre tooth tigers” never go away. We’re continually dealing with something that our body perceives as a threat virtually all day long. Remaining in this stress response for a prolonged period of time is known as chronic stress, and it negatively affects our overall health and well-being, including causing us to store fat, especially around the middle.

You might not even realise that some of the symptoms you may be experiencing right now could be a result of the continuous release of stress hormones and elevated metabolism brought about by chronic stress.

For example:

  • Digestive system issues such as stomach aches, nausea and intestinal irritability;
  • Impact on our state of mind, with racing thoughts, lack of focus, unreasonable worrying and pessimism;
  • Sleep quality is adversely affected;
  • Emotional and behavioural markers such as irritability, feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and low self-esteem;
  • Stress associated behaviours, for example, overeating or undereating or other nervous behaviours like nail biting and pacing or restlessness;
  • Muscular aches and pains in various parts of the body, depending on where the person holds muscular tension, as the stress response cause the muscles to shorten and tighten.

All these add up to energy being used up by our body to handle those stressors and don’t you think many of those symptoms are remarkably similar to some menopausal symptoms too?

How Restorative Yoga Can Help The Smart Woman Over 40

Let’s face it. You’re probably switched on, virtually all of the time.

Restorative yoga will act as a therapeutic antidote to that. It provides physical, mental and emotional chronic stress relief, that continues on after the class.

The poses stretch, lengthen, strengthen and relax tense muscles, and over time, reshape and improve the health and functionality of the muscles, the joints and organs. It has also been shown to relieve the immediate symptoms of stress related aches and pains. I certainly found that when a “crick” released in my left hip, the likes of which I’ve only ever experienced before in a cranio-sacral therapy session.

The conscious breathing and meditation calm the mind and nervous system, helping to re-establish mental focus and clarity. Restorative yoga helps to rebalance the body. It elicits the relaxation response, which helps to regulate stress hormones, lowering cortisol levels and triggers the body’s healing responses, both during and following practice.

This has a profound impact on various aspects of health, including the ability to lower blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar levels (and therefore fat storage as well as food cravings) and decrease anxiety.

Restorative yoga provides progressive therapy. This means that the benefit of each session builds on one another, when practiced consistently.

It’s been two days since I went to the class. I slept well last night too and I’ve decided to make this a regular practice. My mind and old thinking want me to do something more active. But physiologically, this is what my body needs right now.

Whether or not you choose restorative yoga or something else similar, you’ll definitely reap the benefits and wonder why you hadn’t started sooner. Give your body a break and get some of your energy back.

What deep stress-relieving practices are you going to choose? Come on over to the Facebook page and share.

Eating Healthy When You’re Crazy Busy

I fell off the wagon. What?!! Yes, my eating and yoga habits have become erratic and it doesn’t feel so good.

Without going into all the detail, our routine was disrupted and what with work and the studying, life got crazy busy. Plus, I discovered that I am sensitive to more than 20 foods and that threw me into the doldrums and I lost interest in cooking. I’m sensitive to my beloved dairy, and also to some of my rely-on staples, like asparagus and broccoli. Who’d have known that you could be sensitive to vegetables. Oh, and onions! And cod!

So although I had been trying to steer clear of those foods, I only managed it for the most part and everytime I ate something that my body is sensitive to, my eyes get a “blodgy” feeling or my fingers swell up and I definitely feel the water retention. I know, weird huh.

Now, 6 months later, I am finally coming to terms with it and I am feeling inspired to cook some delicious meals again and to put my body and my health right at the top of the list.

I didn’t forget about the L.E.R.F. Connection. I ate cleanly 80% of the time. Generally, that would have been perfect, but for those foods to which I’m sensitive, that’s not good enough. 80% doesn’t allow my body to heal. It has to be 100% of the time. Time to get back to “hard core”.

Some people say, “Oh but it’s OK in moderation”. Let me tell you, right up; it’s not. When someone has an allergy, which can be life threatening, people accept that they should steer clear of that food. But food sensitivities are insidious. They’re not immediately life-threatening, but they create ongoing low-level chronic inflammation in your body, which is linked with conditions such as eczema, asthma, dermatitis, or fibromyalgia. It’s no wonder that dis-eases like fibromyalgia are often thought of as having no known cause. To make matters worse, the longer you leave it or continue to eat those foods in moderation, the more likely you are to develop an even wider range of sensitivities and/or an even wider range of dis-ease.

Knowing this, would you still choose to eat those foods in moderation when you know your body is sensitive to it? It’s like saying, “I know arsenic is going to kill me eventually, but it’s OK, I’ll take just a little, in moderation.” That’s crazy, right?

[Tweet “Ditch the moderation! It’s time for hard core!”]

But how do you do that when you’re crazy busy?

Here are my tips on how to eat deliciously, cleanly and healthily all of the time, even when you’re crazy busy.

Plan Ahead

Plan the week ahead. The basis of planning ahead is knowing what meals you are going to have and when. Decide what you’re going to cook, what can be prepped ahead and then do your shopping. This way, you don’t have to rack your brains for what to cook on any particular day and then get lazy and order a take-out (yes, been there, done that!).

Use a meal planning schedule like the one that I use (see Resources). The beauty of it is that once you’ve done this for about six weeks, you can change up each week quite easily, switching some meals around between the weeks or adding in the odd new recipe to give you variety.

Cook once, eat several times

This means cooking extra portions of the same meal, and doubling up that meal for the next day’s lunch, and/or freezing extra portions for another day’s dinner. For example, when I cook a chilli for dinner, I’ll also have chilli for lunch the next day, and I’ll have some more leftover that I’ll freeze for next week. That way, I don’t have to think about tomorrow’s lunch, which is often a packed lunch for work, and next week, I’ll have a night off from cooking on chilli night. Yay!

KISSSAS – Keep It Simple, with Smoothies, Soups And Salads

No, no, not Kiss Ass but Kiss Sas ☺

Keep It Simple – Smoothies, soups and salads are simple, quick and easy. They all have one thing in common – throw a bunch of things together and you’re done! Here’s how.

Smoothies – Just pour some coconut water, almond milk, rice milk or hemp milk into the blender, together with some low-glycaemic fruits, and some veggies (spinach, cucumber, romaine lettuce, just to name a few), add some protein you like (chia seed, a scoop of protein powder) and some healthy fats (avocado, coconut milk) and blend. For extra flavour, add some vanilla extract or dash of cinnamon.

Soups – Learn how to make some simple pureed soups and then bulk make and freeze them so you save time and effort. Put some chicken broth in with some veggies – for example, cauliflower, season with salt, pepper and spices (I like cumin or caraway), boil until the veggies are tender, then put into a blender and blend. When ready to eat, heat up the soup, add some protein (cooked and sliced organic chicken breast is good) and a dash of milk, garnish with a dollop of cream and some chopped parsley and yum, delicious comfort food.

Salads – Chop up a bunch of lettuce, add some spinach, pile on some other veggies – tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, sliced beets, bell peppers, beetroot – then add some protein (cooked organic chicken breast, grilled salmon, hard-boiled eggs, tuna), followed by some pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for texture, maybe a few raisins or some orange segments or some pomegranate, then top off with a dressing.

The simplest dressing going which I love, is olive oil plus generous splashes of Tabasco (spicy), or olive oil with some cider vinegar and a dash of mustard with a sprinkle of salt and pepper shaken up in a jar. You can even make the dressing ahead of time or several servings of dressing and store in the fridge for a few days.

If you chop the veggies in bulk you can make a couple salads at a time, don’t add the dressing to them yet, and they usually last a couple days.

Know where you can get healthy take-out

Check out what’s available. Look at the menu ahead of time and decide which meals are aligned with your bio-individuality of what is healthy for you. Then, when you come to ordering, you already know what will work for you. For me with my extensive food sensitivities, there are not even a handful of meals that work, but I am still able to order take-out, woo hoo!

With the growing awareness of food and the shift towards eating healthy, there are now also companies that do healthy ready-cooked meals that they will deliver to your home (Artisan Bistro Pro (US) and Eat Evolve (UK)). All you have to do is heat them up.

No, it’s not quite as cheap as buying and preparing it yourself, but on those extra busy days, I find that this can come in useful.

It’s always the small habits that add up. Don’t let yourself fall back into old habits that cause you to not feel so great! Are you going to go hard core too? The first step is taking the decision! I’d love to hear from you. Let me know!

Much love to you.

xx

Are You Broken or Are You Beautiful?

We were in Barcelona this last weekend. The weather was just amazing – bright blue skies and sunshine and it almost felt like summer. Just perfect for Gaudi.

Gaudi was a renowned Spanish architect, and his works are nothing short of astounding. If you don’t know his work, then you must check it out. The picture you see here in this post is a photo I took of just a little piece of Parc Guell. What do you see?

Do you see beauty? Or do you see “broken”?

Not so many years ago, I would see “broken”. So many of us are conditioned to think this way. We have somehow learned to see ourselves as too fat, needing to lose weight, not clever enough, not good enough, thinking we should be one way or another, lacking in some way… seldom appreciating how we are and who we are, overlooking and not even recognising our own talents and gifts.

But what does this have to do with health? Or finding your optimal weight?

Everything. Mm-hmm, that’s right. Everything.

Our entire system is connected – our mind, body and spirit. Our cells eavesdrop on our every single thought and our every internal conversation. This means that every single thought you have has an impact on your body. When we put ourselves down, we make an enemy of ourselves. Our body recognises “enemy” and turns on our stress response.

So let’s pause for a moment and think about it. If you came across your fierce neighbour’s dog who looks as if he’s ready to have your guts for garters, what would you do? Run for your life, right? And in order to be able to run for your life, what would you body need? Yep, it would need energy in your extremities – your arms and your legs – in order to be able to get away as quickly as possible. The hormone, cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone”, is released and curbs functions that would not be essential or detrimental in such fight-or-flight situations. Our immune system is suppressed (we don’t need to use our energy or effort in healing, we just need to get the hell out of there!), our digestive system is suppressed, as are our growth processes. This translates to the reduced ability to put on muscle and increased storage of fat. And that’s just the physical side of it, never mind the impact on our emotional self.

Now just think what the implications of an ongoing stress response being activated in our body would be.

[Tweet “We have desensitised ourselves to messages from our body, telling us we need to rest and relax.”]

Remember the times you’ve dismissed tiredness and ploughed on? Aha, yes. Now add in all those internal conversations and negative self-talk and boom, just like that, you have low level ongoing stress response.

How do you feel when someone criticises you? Yet so many of us are willing to do exactly that to ourselves. We see the “broken” instead of the beautiful.

Well, now, you’re in a prime position to actually do something about it – only if you so choose, of course. And I hope you do choose. Start with self-awareness. Each time you catch yourself putting yourself down, just notice. Then practice finding something good you can recognise and acknowledge yourself for.

This simple every day act has a cumulative effect, adding to your ability to reach your optimal weight as well as improving your health at a profound level.

Are you broken or are you beautiful? The choice is truly yours.