The Impact of Stress on Your Body
Let’s talk about the impact of stress on your body, starting off with your memory.
If you think that your memory is not what it used to be, it could be because of the high cortisol levels that are released when we experience stress.
When we are under stress, cortisol and adrenaline are released by our body to help us cope with the attack.
In our modern-day lives, we don't have the physical attacks so much anymore. (the only tiger I have is the one that hangs out on my son's bed)
Today it is more about the emotional and mental strain of modern-day living.
When you are exposed to stress you could find yourself forgetting where you put your keys or what's on the shopping list. My best is forgetting the shopping list and then trying to remember what's on it when I do the shopping - FAIL
You may find that you begin to suffer from headaches and this again is because of the cortisol and adrenaline that is rushing through your bloodstream.
Next up, when we are regularly stressed then our heart is put under pressure.
With regular exposure to stress, our risk of stroke increases. And studies have found that stress increases our bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Have you noticed that your skin can sometimes go completely haywire when you’re under stress? and you get severe breakout?
This again is the cortisol and adrenaline rushing around your body.
So what can you do about managing your stress?
There's a saying that goes he who half breathes, half lives.
Here is a technique called block breathing.
It doesn’t matter what you do whether you choose to play in the garden with your children, go to the beach or play in the park.
For me, I love to choose 3 songs and just dance in the kitchen.
These are my favourites -
Moving helps to reduce the cortisone and adrenaline levels in your bloodstream.
Do Something For Yourself
And another way is to take a few moments each day to do something for yourself.
It could be as simple as enjoying a cup of tea in complete silence or having an Epsom Bath (or if you have water restrictions - a foot bath).
What do you do to manage your stress?
Come over and join me and others in my Facebook Group - Being Healthy Made Simple.
There are lots of resources and a community of women who all want to get and be healthy in the simplest way possible.
I can't wait to meet you!
Let's talk about Hunger....
It feels different for all of us. I’m sure you’ll all agree that my hunger could feel a lot different to your hunger.
But there are some common signs of what hunger is all about like
So let’s take a look at some of these symptoms and what they could mean apart from hunger.
First off, headaches.
If you feel headache, instead of reaching for something to eat first, ask yourself, am I dehydrated, how much water have I drunk today?
Because so often dehydration shows as a headache and you are thirsty.
To avoid that, get a water app on your phone, an app that will remind you to drink your water on a regular basis throughout the day or have a large bottle on your desk, which you aim to empty by the time you go home in the afternoon.
If you’re hungry and you’ve got a headache, then you’re most likely dehydrated and you should drink water first.
Have a glass of water and wait 20 minutes and see how you feel.
Ask yourself, are you stressed?
Sugary foods and carbohydrate rich foods like muffins and cakes and biscuits and chocolates, help to boost our serotonin levels.
This has a calming effect on us and that’s why we reach the sugary foods when we’re stressed.
If you are going to reach for that sugary food, then do so while focusing on that food completely.
Sit in a quiet place, not on a couch watching your favorite TV show. But sit on the couch and really take notice of the taste of the sugary food, the texture of it, how it feels in your mouth, and how you are feeling as you are eating your sugary food.
Also when you are focusing on it so much, then you are less likely to overeat, so you are not going to finish the whole pack and you are also going to find it easier to stop.
Alternatively, get up and move about for 5 minutes or pick up the phone and phone a friend and talk your stress out.
The third thing is if you have low energy levels, and low concentration, you could be tired.
Food fuels us and when we’re tired, we are looking for more energy.
But the thing is that we usually reach for the non-nutritious option, the quick fix.
And that is not going to help us.
Aim for 7 - 9 hours of sleep consistently, every single night of the week.
And if you are really getting good sleep, then you need to look at having an afternoon snack which is high in healthy fats and protein and fiber so that it helps to keep your energy stable until supper time.
Now if you are bored, it is so easy to reach for a pack of chippies or some biscuits and just eat them mindlessly.
Because food actually gives you a purpose.
But instead of reaching for a pack of chippies or biscuits, the next time you find yourself bored, get up and do something.
I have a Sudoku app on my phone which I absolutely love. It is my go-to when I need something to do.
Otherwise, get up, go for a walk, move your body, play catch with your children in the garden.
If you enjoy sewing or knitting a crochet, grab one of those projects before you reach for the chippies and the biscuits.
Choose to do some kind of activity when you are bored.
I had a rave review recently that I'd like to share with you -
I started working with Lee because I did not want to go on ANOTHER diet, but I did need to become more healthy and lose some weight.
After 4 weeks I have lost a pants size, but more than that I feel 100% better then I did.
I no longer hit the 4pm energy slump, I am more motivated to do healthy things with my kids and I feel more positive about my job.
I enjoy the new foods I prepare (especially my smoothies) and my weekly check-ins with Lee keep me motivated and
teach me so much I did not know about nutrition and how our digestive system works.
This is not a diet, it is a new way of looking at food. Thank you Lee! My life is changed.
- Jucintha, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
I'd love to help you reach your health goals.
Go ahead and book your free Ditch the Cravings and Lose Weight Breakthrough Call.
In the United States about 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disorder. Mostly it is an under active thyroid (hypothyroid) but there are those who have an over-active thyroid which comes with its own problems.
Unfortunately there are no stats for South Africa.
What’s really surprising is that 60% of those who have thyroid problems are completely unaware that this is the root of their problems.
The American Thyroid Association reports that 1 in 8 women in the USA is affected by a thyroid disorder at some point during her lifetime.
Think of it as your body's thermostat.
It regulates your body temperature, hunger levels, sex drive, mood, how much energy use up during the day.
It is interrelated to every system in your body.
So if your thyroid is not running at its best then you are not running at your best.
Where is your thyroid?
It is a butterfly shaped gland in the middle of your neck and below your voice box.
Your thyroid produces the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. It makes sense that if your thyroid is not working at best case then there is going to be a knock on effect on every other system in your body.
There are 3 thyroid hormones all with long names!!! Their short names are T4, T3 and T2.
T3 is converted to Free T3 and Reverse T3.
Free T3 is what really matters.
This is the hormone that attaches to a receptor in every cell in your body and causes something to happen.
That could be body temperature rising, metabolism increasing or bowel functioning.
A sluggish thyroid will usually be experienced in these ways;
What can contribute to thyroid problems?
Genetics to lifestyle habits can all have an impact on the health of your thyroid.
There are a number of nutrients that play a role that are often overlooked in proper thyroid function.
These are iodine, selenium, zinc and B vitamins.
The number one cause of an under active thyroid or hypothyroidism is an iodine deficiency!
Iodine is needed for the production of thyroid hormones and the normal functioning of the thyroid.
So where do we find iodine rich foods?
Seaweed is a great source. But it is a bit weird in a Western diet, right!?
Sushi has seaweed so I guess we could all indulge in more sushi!! Other sea vegetables are dulse and kelp.
But for Westerners you can find iodine in raw dairy i.e. non pasteurised. Wild caught tuna, cod, sea bass and eggs.
When there is iodine present in the soil where crops are grown (remember iodine is a mineral) then these vegetables are good sources –
onions, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, pineapple, cantaloupe, whole-wheat and green peppers.
Selenium helps to balance T4 levels of thyroid hormone.
Foods that are high in selenium are Brazil nuts, spinach, tuna, grass fed beef, turkey and beef liver.
Zinc and vitamins B5 & B12 are also important for thyroid health.
Vitamin B12 helps to balance hormones naturally and treats chronic fatigue syndrome. Eat grass-fed beef and beef liver, tuna, raw milk and cheese, cottage cheese, lamb and eggs.
Vitamin B5 has many of the same benefits as B12 for supporting the thyroid as well as supporting metabolism. Eat these foods as part of your meals; peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, sesame and sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, spinach and ground flaxseed.
What else can you do?
Get enough rest and learn to manage stress.
Physical and emotional stress put your body in a fight or flight mode. When this happens then the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, are heightened.
This causes the blood vessels to narrow, muscle tension increases and blood pressure too. Antibodies and inflammatory proteins that suppress immune function are released. All this damages the adrenal glands and thyroid.
So take stress seriously and find the root causes of your mental strain. Try multiple methods to deal with your stress.
Aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night.
Meditate, exercise, journal and look to be part of a community.
Either a faith based one or support group. And schedule enjoyable activities for yourself and the people that you enjoy spending time with.
Lab tests to determine if you have a thyroid problem.
Normally doctors only check for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4.
There are other tests though, that will show a better picture of whether you have a thyroid problem.
Ask your doctor to run these tests.
Dr Amy Myers is a leading a Functional Medicine doctor specialising in thyroid treatment. She herself has the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system turns against the body's own tissues. In this case the body turns against the thyroid.
According to her these are the optimal values for the lab results on the tests done…..
If you’re looking for increased energy then take a look at my program –
21 Days to Increased Energy.
It's Ok to be stressed...
It was 5:15 a.m. one morning that I got a message from my maid.
She was man down with a tummy bug and would not be coming to work.
We rely so much on our maids, don't we?
They really are an important part of our families.
So she wasn't coming to work. It's school holidays. I'm thinking, "Oh crap! Not just one child but now two to sort out."
Anyway, snacks got packed. Toys and entertainment packed. Blankie for naptime packed.
And we all went to work.
But in between receiving the message and getting to work I got so stressed out. My whole plan and morning-time routine was now out of whack .
And along came my 6 year old who said , “Mom. It's Ok to be stressed. It's ok but you need to calm down and breathe. Breathe, Mom.”
Don't you just love that what you say to them comes right back at you at the most appropriate time?
I breathed and reached for Relicalm.
It's like a large cup of tea - it has the same ingredient as tea l-theanine - which helps to calm you. Now you know why that cup of tea works so well! Relicalm also promises 5 hours of calm . Just what I needed!
And that is the kind of stress that we all dealing with - not the fight or flight - that is part of our evolution.
There was no fight for me and no physical escape route that I needed to take.
It was all mental but our bodies release chemicals for the physical fight or flight. Snce we're not in a situation that requires physicality those stress chemicals start to cause havoc on our body’s systems.
Let's take a look at the impact of stress on our body -
Memory - Long term exposure to cortisol is linked to shrinkage of the memory part of your brain. A Finnish study found that patients with persistently high cortisol levels were 3x as likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Head - Studies have shown that an increase in the stress hormone adrenaline can cause migraines. People who have tension headaches tend to translate their stress to muscle contractions.
Heart - reggular feelings of being highly stressed can lead to an increased risk of a fatal stroke. High cortisol levels are more likely to have high levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Long term stress is a factor leading to raised blood pressure.
Skin - skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis can worsen when you are stressed.
Digestion - emotions and the gut are closely linked. Think of butterflies in your tummy. But also runny tummy, a sore tummy, indigestion and heartburn .
Immune system - Ongoing stress can deplete the body's resources to fight infection . Studies have shown that those under long-term stress have lower white blood cells - the guys that fight the bacteria and viruses that cause illness.
I know that when I was diagnosed with pneumonia in August ‘17 it was a result of long-term stress. My immune system was at rock bottom .
Mood - stress can leave you unable to concentrate, inefficient and accident prone. The ongoing release of cortisol and adrenaline - the stress hormones - disrupt levels of the feel good chemical - serotonin . This may lead to depression.
So what's a girl to do? -
1) Breathe! Really.
When you're under stress your breathing is rapid and shallow. Breathe through your nose for a count of 5 and out for a count of 6.
Do this 5 times .
He who half breathes, half-lives.
2) Get Moving
Chase your children in the garden, what about a game of touch rugby? Turn up the radio and dance! Go for a walk around your complex or on the road .
3) Create a list of activities and people who bring you Joy
Make time to do something that makes your heart sing .
I love crocheting and I am making a blanket for our king size bed!
P.S. Stress suppresses your body's production of testosterone which helps control abdominal fat.
Book an initial call at no cost and let's identify your top 3 current challenges.
P.S.S - You can't be a great mum, wife, employee and friend if your stressed out and struggling with your health....