My One Big Message
You hear me cover a lot of different types of topics in my weekly emails and blog – everything from the latest science about hormone testing and diet, to sleep, exercise, meditation and spirituality.
It may not always seem as if these topics have anything in common, but they do. They are all addressing different types of stress that we encounter throughout our day and how to combat it.
Stress isn’t just the mental or emotional stress that we initially think of in relation to work, relationships or traumatic events. Stress is much more than that.
Stress is anything that places a burden on the body.
Whether it’s inflammatory foods such as gluten, not getting adequate rest or sleep, under exercising or over exercising when your body is already fatigued, toxins in your environment, or physical ailments from misalignments in bones and muscles – it all equates to stress on the body.
When I went through my Functional Diagnostic Nutrition training program we were taught to identify H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors, or malfunctions in the…
- Energy Production
- Nervous System
Looking at these different systems of the body and recognizing malfunction helps me to also identify healing opportunities.
But in order to help someone heal and restore health to these systems of the body, I have to know what is causing the malfunction in the first place – stress.
To alleviate stress, I guide my clients in “coaching down contributors to stress, and coaching up function of the body” as my mentor Reed Davis says.
In all of the blogging and work that I do, my one big message for you is…
“I want you to be able to recognize the burden of stress on your body at any point in time and to know what to do about it in order to achieve your ideal health.”
Having a better understanding of what is contributing to a stress burden on your body leading to dysfunction, and taking action to minimize the stress is the secret to optimal health that we are all looking for.
In this week’s video I talk more about the different types of stressors, how to coach down the contributors and coach up function.
Our bodies are a miracle in and of themselves if you think about all that they do for us on a daily basis with little to no effort on our part: pumping blood and oxygen, breaking down and rebuilding cells, breathing, and giving us the ability to be mobile.
What we don’t realize is that those daily functions require a lot of work and energy from our body already, so we tend to pile on additionals tasks, toxins and responsibilities that force our body to work harder.
Our body will essentially do anything we ask it to, but that doesn’t mean we should.
It’s rare that your body will tell you no. It will climb to the peak of mountain tops, work through the night to meet a deadline for us and eat almost anything we feed it. But that doesn’t mean we should ask it do those things, especially if it’s already burdened with H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors that we can’t see or aren’t aware of.
Know that stress can be…
- The inflammatory or pesticide laden foods in our diet
- Eating foods that are not in alignment with our nutritional needs
- Staying up late at night consistently or not getting enough sleep
- Exercising at a high intensity or for long durations when the body is tired
- Perceived mental or emotional stress from work, relationships and traumatic events
- Lack of nutrients in the body for functions to actually take place
- Toxins in our environment which burden the liver, alter cells and disrupt hormones
- And there are many more
For the longest time exercise was actually one of my biggest stressors. As a naturally active individual with a personal training background, exercising was not only a passion but something I was intrinsically driven to do. I was constantly pushing my body to do more, get stronger or go longer.
A huge turning point leading to my remission with Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune thyroid disorder) was turning down the volume on my workout routine a lot, to relieve an unnecessary stress I was placing on my body so it could heal. As soon as I cut back on lifting weights and running, and focused more on walking and yoga, my body started to heal more rapidly.
I look back now and I can see many points in my life when I pushed way too hard when it came to exercise. I vividly remember running my first marathon and at mile 22 my body simply refused to keep running, but I kept pushing- an obvious moment in time when the burden of stress on my body was high and likely contributed to dysfunction that I probably never fully recovered from. Now I know better and I would never put my body in that position again.
If I go to bed late, get a crappy night of sleep, cheat on my diet, am traveling or doing anything else that might create extra stress on my body, I’m very mindful about striking a balance by doing things such as skipping my usual workout for something that is more restorative, going to bed early the next day and taking a full weekend to eat healthy and rest.
Using functional lab testing, I’m able to help clients see where dysfunction exists in the hormone, immune, digestive, detoxification, energy production and nervous system BUT the bigger question is what do you do about it.
The secret to restoring balance and health is working towards eliminating the things that are causing stress on the body and giving it the support it needs to function at a higher level.
Just fixing your diet won’t do it. It’s one aspect of healing but not the catch-all solution most hope it would be.
Coaching up function in the body and achieving optimal health requires a multifaceted approach, one that involves:
- Stress Reduction (of all kinds)
- And Supplementation to support and restore bodily functions while you eliminate the stressors
I have found in my many years of doing this work that the mindset and spirituality components are just as critical as any of the physiological and science aspects. One will only be able reach a limited level of optimal health without incorporating both and addressing all the burdens of potential stress.
Rebuilding the relationship with your body, taking responsibility and treating it with respect will help you forge forward in optimizing your health. If you don’t change your mindset and the relationship with your body, you’ll continue to beat it down and run into a wall with your health.
So I’ll leave you with this… think about how much stress is on your body at this moment in time as you are reading this blog…
Are there toxins in your environment that you can’t see, hear or feel?
Did you get a crappy night’s sleep?
What was the last thing you ate and was it nutritious or not?
Did your force yourself to work out today or push too hard?
Are you stressed at work or in your relationships?
What else might be contributing to a burden of stress in your life?
Remember to weigh your stress burden regularly and then you can quickly take action to reduce it before it reduces your health.
P.S. If you want to learn more about identifying the burden of stress on your body, how to take control and reduce it, then check out my upcoming webinar Activate & Upgrade Your Autoimmune Healing on Sept. 19th at 5:30pm PT/ 8:30pm ET
Regardless of whether you have an autoimmune issue or not, this webinar can help you to up-level your health. Molly Hamill and I will be sharing our best practices that we use on ourselves and with our clients to identify stress on the body, how to take responsibility for it, and take action to promote healing.