Slow down to drop pounds and boost energy [I’m back!]
When was the last time you sat down and did nothing? I mean, literally did nothing – just enjoyed the sun on your face, the cool breeze, listened to the birds chirping, and let all of your thoughts just drift away?
It’s HARD for me to sit still, but after realizing years ago that my busy Type-A ways were part of what drove my energy into the ground and weight up, I have progressively worked towards allowing myself to take more time off not only for health benefits but also for professional ones.
Dr. Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan’s 10x is Easier Than 2x book inspired me to finally bite the bullet and take a semi-sabbatical for July with the intention to…
- Have more space to just BE
- Do only deep focus work to 10x my health and biz
- Rest & restore all parts of me to be my best physically, personally, and professionally
After taking a month off, I feel AMAZING physically, mentally, and professionally!
We underestimate the impact always having “to do something” has on our health.
Being in constant movement, or always doing something, triggers the body’s stress response without us even realizing it.
The American Medical Association once stated that stress is the basic cause of more than 60 percent of all human illnesses and diseases.
This study even notes the correlation between stress, weight, and other health issues…
(paraphrased to highlight key takeaways)
“The relationship between stress and illness is complex…chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifests an illness….Stress increases the risk for diabetes mellitus…since psychological stress alters insulin needs….Stress also alters the acid concentration in the stomach, which can lead to peptic ulcers, stress ulcers, or ulcerative colitis. Chronic stress can also lead to plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis)…The correlation between stressful life events and psychiatric illness is stronger than the correlation with medical or physical illness…recent studies found a link between stress, tumor development, and suppression of natural killer (NK) cells, which is actively involved in preventing metastasis and destroying small metastases”
From the moment we get up, we are constantly moving, always doing something and soliciting a stress response or pattern…
Checking email and texts first thing in the morning then every five minutes.
Rushing to get ready for work and the kids to school.
Back-to-back meetings, appointments, or errands to run.
Multi-tasking at stop lights and in traffic on our way home.
Cleaning the house, doing yard work, and marking off our mile-high list of responsibilities.
The to-do list that keeps us going is never-ending. And I don’t know about you, but it seems like the older I get, the more responsibilities and commitments I have.
As I like to tell my clients all the time, “You don’t work in an emergency room. No one is going to die if you don’t respond to that email or text, empty the dishwasher before bed, or don’t pick up your dry cleaning today.”
Learning to live a slower-paced life is what will heal us all.
In this week’s video and blog, I dive into more detail about how a fast-paced life impacts your body and why slowing down will help you shed pounds and boost your energy!
The truth is, your body can only heal in a relaxed state.
And contrary to what we’ve been conditioned to think, you have to get healthy to drop pounds and boost energy, not the other way around.
If you struggle with energy and/or to lose weight despite your “healthy habits” it’s because there are more pieces to your health puzzle waiting to be uncovered.
My Type-A ways used to run the show: running from task to task, constantly on the go, getting high by checking things off my to-do list. I never slowed down. That was until I realized just how much damage my fast-paced life was doing to my health.
A lot of us live in a fight-or-flight-stressed state all of the time, whether we recognize it or not, simply because of our modern fast-paced world. In this state, all of our energy is diverted outward for quick thinking and quick moving, instead of internally for healing, weight loss, and energy.
When in a rested state, our energy is focused inward on digestion and healing.
These biological responses are quite brilliant if you think about…
The classic textbook example of this is to imagine being chased by a lion. Your body’s brilliant fight or flight response would act quickly to send all resources and blood flow to your arms and legs for running and to your brain for quick thinking.
Although we do not face lions in our typical day, on a biological level our body does not know the difference between a lion chasing you and the sense of urgency you feel to respond to email, the stress of traffic or your job, and the constant worrying about life’s daily responsibilities.
This consistent state of fight or flight triggers the body to release the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol not only responds to stress but it also regulates inflammation (the root of all disease), blood sugar levels, and sleep cycles and plays a major role in balancing the thyroid and many other bodily functions.
Even low-grade stress triggers the fight-or-flight response and the output of cortisol. Over time, this constant output of cortisol creates imbalances in the other body systems that it controls, in addition to taking a toll on other hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and thyroid.
Aside from cortisol and overall hormone dysregulation from constant low (or high) grade stress, the fight or flight response also impacts your digestive health.
Beneficial and bad bacteria in the gut respond to stress by creating something called biofilm. The accumulation of biofilm can alter the internal environment of the gut, contributing to internal toxicity, inflammation, and leaky gut.
Alternatively, when we are in a rested state, the body is able to focus its resources on healing, digesting food, and nutrient delivery for cellular functions which all help to promote weight loss and more energy!
With this in mind, I’m continuously looking for ways to slow down in life to allow my body to heal in order to maintain my ideal health and weight and feel like my best self.
Here are examples of simple steps you can take to slow down and allow healing to happen:
- Technology Breaks: Put all devices on do-not-disturb from 7am to 7pm.
- Deep Breathing: This flips the body switch from a stressed to a relaxed mode.
- Sit Outside: Take 5 minutes to sit outside and just be one with nature.
- Politely Decline: Be mindful of how much is on your plate and polite decline or ask for help.
It’s common to feel guilty about taking time and space for yourself, but we actually show up better in the world when we do.
When we invest in slowing down, more healing happens, lending us the ability to be more productive in life instead of being slowed down by low energy, weight, and illness, so we can be more present for our family, friends, and loved ones.
Even though I actively try to practice a slower-paced life, I still get that sense of urgency bubbling up from time to time. But I can quickly diffuse it by breathing deeply or stepping away from the “busyness” of what I’m doing and resetting my mindset around the priority to heal and support my body.
I challenge you this week to look for where you can add more rest, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, and where you can slow down in your life to allow the healing to happen.
Comment below to share one action you can take to slow down this week for some accountability!