Beat Stress, Beat Belly Fat


If you haven’t heard, stress is a huge enabler of weight gain, and specifically to the abdominal area. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is a hormone that is secreted into the bloodstream in response to stress. The higher the stress level, the higher the secretion of cortisol, and the higher the secretion, the more prone your body is to storing fat…right in the belly.

Don’t let yourself be a victim to stress-related weight gain. Although it’s much easier to reach for the remote control and lounge around while chomping on high calorie and high fat foods, try to make the better decision – like hitting the gym, going for a walk, and eating the healthier, belly-fat fighting snacks, like fruit and yogurt, and other foods high in fiber. Not getting enough sleep also contributes to high-stress levels, which will cause your cortisol levels to be higher, so don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep.

 

 

Take care of You

A while ago, I wrote a post about pampering yourself, as it is a key to stress relief.  Well, I just recently pampered myself for the first time since having a baby, and wow did I feel good!! It felt like a whole new experience to get my nails done and go to the mall just to stroll! No changing diapers, no feeding, no rocking a baby to sleep, I was all by myself, enjoyed a long mani-pedi with a small back massage and it really did change my entire mindset! I went from feeling so stressed and tired to being super relieved and really happy :). Pampering myself has become a new priority, because I learned that going almost 3 months without any self-care really caused my sanity to spiral out of control! Whatever it is that is keeping you from taking care of yourself, drop it now and put yourself first.  Find a friend, spouse, parent, or a babysitter to take care of your kid(s), or set a goal to treat yourself to something after a big assignment, or leave work early if you are guilty of over-working yourself! Just take an hour (or five) to spend on yourself, and do whatever it is that you really miss.

I know a lot of people who have let stress take over their lives. Some people are affected physically by it, and you can tell by their deteriorating health that they are not taking care of themselves, and others are affected mentally by it, which is scary since it is not as obvious to the people around you.  Whether you let stress affect you physically or mentally (or both), you need to learn to stop and take a time out. I learned a lot just from taking a personal break, and I hope you can find time to do the same.

Don’t Eat to Procrastinate

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I know I am not the only one who eats to procrastinate, right? I am working from home right now, taking care of my baby, trying to set up the small things in my new house and writing thank you cards – I kind of have so much to do, I could forget that I’m hungry, but that doesn’t happen to me.  On days like today, I don’t give myself the chance to feel hungry! It’s like the more things I need to get done, the more often I find myself in my pantry instead of in front of my laptop or at my desk or anywhere else I should be. Maybe I should add “eat” to my list of things to do so that I won’t do it! 🙂

Any of you out there guilty of the same thing, take it from me before you open your fridge or pantry, or do whatever it is that you do to procrastinate. You just feel worse after it! I now have to work later and the day feels as if it’s almost done and I have accomplished nothing except for eating a nice variety of foods! Just go ahead and get your work done, you will be a lot happier by night time when you don’t have a longer list running through your mind. Start with the small things and then work towards the bigger ones. Once you get into work mode, you will feel much more productive, and you will get a lot more accomplished. I’ll try to start now, but looks like I need a better start to tomorrow!

The Power of Chocolate

I don’t know about you, but chocolate has a special power over me. A power that brings a nice, satisfactory smile to my face. For those of you who don’t like chocolate, I’m sorry (and I’m kind of envious), but for those of you who do love it, like me, then I think you may know where I’m coming from! If you need a nice, genuine smile, go get a piece of chocolate. I usually don’t crave sweets until the afternoon, but I was craving a piece this morning and after I took a bite, I found a huge smile on my face…that’s when I realized I had to write my post on it, today. What a simple and great stress relief! Thinking and writing about it, now, makes me smile and remember the women in my life that love chocolate so much – from my mom who hides it in every drawer in the house to eat a piece as she walks by, to my grandma who has tried every single dark chocolate made in this world, to my aunt who craves white chocolate on a daily basis and my sister, who you can always woo with a dark chocolate and mint bar.

And for all you chocolate lovers out there, I’m sure you’ve heard the good news that a piece of chocolate actually can be good for you! Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has antioxidants in it (to learn more about antioxidants, visit this post).  Furthermore, dark chocolate is said to be a heart-healthy food.  A small piece of dark chocolate a day is keeps your heart beating and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels – who would have thought? As mysterious as this sounds, it’s true! And the best part about it is that it is also said to stimulate endorphins and act as an anti-depressant (now this, I have no doubt about!). 

I also love thatthe See’s Candy chocolate boxes say “A Happy Habit.”  So go enjoy a piece of chocolate so you can de-stress and keep smiling :).

Celebrate Independence

This would have been better if posted yesterday, on Independence Day, but I had to share my “I’m back” message :).   Also, I was so excited about coming back, that I forgot to wish you all a Happy 4th, I hope you all enjoyed it! I was inspired by the 4th of July to think about independence and freedom, and how important they are to the self.  Turns out, they are extremely important, as I’m sure you already know.

I have always prided myself on being so independent and, while I think I am in some aspects (I’m happy to spend time alone, or show up anywhere solo, or even tell myself that I don’t care what people think), the truth is, I have found myself to be an extremely dependent person. I have realized that I want people to be on the same page as me, I want people to agree with me, and I don’t want to be alone in my beliefs and opinions.

Then, I had a conversation with my impressively wise and younger brother, and it occurred to me that my personal happiness has been so rooted in what people think of me and whether or not they can understand my feelings.  Even though I think I can physically handle being alone, I cannot stand being alone emotionally! As I listened to my brother passionately explain to me his philosophy and outlook on life, I realized that he must find himself in a minority among many of his peers.  Does he realize that? Yes. Does he care? No.  I was in awe listening to him and at the same time thinking, how can my younger brother be so much more evolved than I? He truly doesn’t care what people think, he only cares about what he thinks and how he feels. Now that’s freedom.

I wasn’t thinking about the emotional dependence that can exist because I was focusing on the physical and financial aspects of dependency. I wanted to write about how, while we will always be in need of friendship, love and people that we know we can depend on, we should know that we can also depend on ourselves, more than anyone else.  Now I see one more element to independence, and that is freedom from caring what people think and what they believe, and the dependency on yourself to be happy. I’m really thankful for that conversation, because it really opened my eyes.  As we celebrate the USA’s independence, let’s also celebrate and embrace our own!

I’m Baaaaack!!

I am finally back from quite a hiatus, taken without any warning! I would like to thank all of the dedicated readers who kept coming back to check up on my posts. I don’t know who are, but I did see that there were a good number of you, so it really means a lot to me! I apologize for disappearing. I went on vacation and really thought that my travels would inspire me to post pictures of the beautiful sights I was so blessed to see and enlighten me on the different ways people around the world cope with daily stress. While I was inspired and enlightened, I was also exhausted and ended up taking a full-fledged vacation – even from the blogging that I love to do! So, my plan is to take my experiences and pictures and use them in my future posts.

Today’s picture is one of peace and serenity, which sums up one week of my recent adventures. I have decided to use this picture as a new stress relief.  When I need a break, I will take a deep breath and use this picture to remember my “happy place.”  A place I can let my mind run to when I need a break to think about quietness and happiness. I hope your summer has been a peaceful one, and if not, you can borrow my “happy place,” until you are able to take your own break and release some stress.

This  picture was taken of the Kaptan Şevket in the Mediterranean Sea from Knidos off the coast of Turkey…such a beautiful part of the world!

Take a Break!

I apologize for disappearing for an entire week of blogging, and I thank those of you dedicated readers who did come back looking for a stress relief tip for the day! I guess I just needed a break! Not that I actual need a break from writing or letting out all of my thoughts, but, sometimes, life just gets in the way!

So, it reminded me that it’s a good idea to just take a step back every now and then. We can’t do it all – no matter how hard we push ourselves. I think we would find a lot more energy to finish certain tasks (at home and at work) if we remind ourselves that it’s okay if we don’t finish everything on the to-do list and if we force some things to just wait.  Whether you are a mother who feels like a chauffeur, an involved community activist/philanthropist, working two jobs or working and studying, a dedicated friend, or employee or spouse, etc., I have no doubt you are stressed. While many have turned into superman/woman, they have also turned into stress-balls. 

Sometimes a break is just what we are looking for to give us time to think, time to relax and time to rejuvenate. In my opinion, it is probably one of the best ways to beat stress.  Our minds can recharge to be more creative and our bodies can recharge to be more energetic.  So to all of you out there, just take a break and allow yourself to relax, just once!

Boost your Immunity

It seems as though everyone around me is getting sick. Make sure you fight off anything you may see sneaking up on you, so you can enjoy your weekend! Today’s stress relief tip is to boost your immunity, so you don’t have to deal with the added stress of getting sick!  These are my favorite tips to stay healthy and well during “flu season,” “cold season,” “allergy season,” ok – all seasons!

Drink LOTS of tea – there are many different teas that help fight colds.  The trick is to add Lemon and Honey to them, because Lemon is high in Vitamin C (and my mom always tells me it’s good for stomach aches and cold and flu symptoms), and Honey is good for the immune system and for sore throats.  And, I have read that Ginger is considered a natural remedy for the cold/flu, among many other ailments. 

Also, I prefer to drink a lot of Echinacea Tea (I drink the Yogi Tea brand, but not with tea and honey).  Echinacea root is considered an herbal remedy for a weak immune system.  I feel that drinking lots of Echinacea tea helps prevent oncoming colds and strengthens the body and immune system when feeling weak.  If you don’t like the tea, many people opt for the Echinacea supplements. 

Vitamin C – I think we all know the benefits of vitamin C, and who doesn’t have a stash of Emergen-C or Airborne in their medicine cabinet? I think it’s important to boost your immune system with natural vitamin C, but you can always increase your intake by drinking lots of the supplement packets with water, or the actual vitamin C pills.

 Finally, get LOTS of sleep! I know we don’t always have time to sleep during the day, or we may not sleep enough during the night, but your body will not repair itself fully until you are at total rest.  Try to sleep as much as you can so your body can re-energize.

These are my immunity boosting “secrets,” so hopefully they will work for you, too!  Hopefully, you can fight it off before you have to take the actual medicines to make you feel better, or to sleep through the night.

Have a great weekend!

Listen to Bob

The one common thread I share with my 3 siblings is our love for Bob Marley (well, that and the common understanding of the growing pains we’ve been scarred by).  The four of us are very different in regards to social interests, music interests, even our views on spirituality…but we can all agree on Bob. If the 4 of us can appreciate him, I think most people can.  And my assumption is confirmed by the fact that today, 30 years after his death, he lives on – on people’s walls and t-shirts, radio stations, and remixed versions of his original songs. I think today, being the 30th anniversary of his death, is a good day to share some of Bob Marley’s philosophy.  He was a peace lover and a social activist, who spoke to the world as one race.  You can see his ideals in his lyrics, which can apply to so many lessons in life. I think everyone can appreciate at least one of his songs, and apply these lyrics to an aspect in your life:

Personal Growth – “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds, have no fear for atomic energy.”  (Redemption Song)

Human Rights – “…I know you don’t know what life is really worth, it’s not all that glitters is gold, half the story has never been told, so now you see the light, stand up for your rights, get up stand up, don’t give up the fight.” (Get Up, Stand Up)

Change – (whether political, social or individual) – “It takes a revolution to make a solution.” (Revolution)

One Mankind – “Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner, there ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation…One love, One heart, let’s get together and feel alright. I’m pleading to mankind…” (One Love)

Attitude towards life – “Rise up this morning, smiled with the risin’ sun, three little birds pitch by my doorstep, singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true, sayin..this is my message to you… ‘don’t worry bout a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right.” (Three Little Birds)

I hope everyone is singing by now, because the lyrics are one thing, but they are even more powerful with the music. 

With so many articles written about Bob Marley, today, I learned that the national motto of Jamaica is “Out of many comes one.” Bob Marley truly lived by this motto, which may be one of the many reasons he is considered by Jamaicans to be a national hero.  But he is not only remembered by Jamaicans, he is also an international legend and a world-recognized musician.  Let’s relieve our stress by remembering Bob and listening to him, today. Whether you feel the need to be inspired by his words or relaxed by the beat, there is no doubt that Bob Marley’s music can be a stress reliever.

Go Fly a Kite!

I don’t mean “go fly a kite” as in “get lost,” I literally mean, go fly a kite! Hopefully the weather around you will be nice enough so that you can do something different this weekend.

I don’t remember the last time I flew a kite…actually, I don’t think I’ve ever even flown a kite! I remember trying once and failing miserably, and that was probably 20 years ago. This weekend, my company is having a grand opening event and we’re inviting people out to our property to come fly a kite. So, I look forward to learning, tomorrow.

I decided to read about some benefits of kite flying, because in my mind, it seems to be a calming experience, which must relieve some stress!  Turns out, there is a Chinese proverb that says, “Those who fly a kite can have a long life.”  (The kite originated fromChina.)  When looking and focusing on your kite, it relaxes your mind and your body.  While concentrating on your kite, you stare into a blue and white sky, which will give you a sense of serenity.  At the same time, kite flying is said to rejuvenate and reenergize the body.  So go fly a kite this weekend, and see how it makes you feel!

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