Stress? Everybody knows what it is. It’s part of life. The way we handle stress translates into how we treat our bodies.
Among many faith and fitness platforms there’s this concept of Temple vs Trash Can. It’s not my original idea. But the idea here is how do we treat our bodies? Do we treat them like the temple that they are? Or do we treat them like a trash can?
Let’s talk about food intake for a minute. And more importantly how we use food to deal with stress. I find that in those times when we are stressed and need our bodies to function even better is when we treat them the worst.
To be sure, stress happens. We have deadlines to meet. We have to be at school and work on time. We lift weights or run marathons. These things, and countless others, cause stress in some form or another. It doesn’t necessarily indicate something bad. You can’t live life and make decisions without some stress. When we let it take over is when it becomes a negative thing. And it seems that more times than not, the way we deal with stress is food.
We get in a hurry. Stress makes us feel rushed. And one of the first things that suffers is our mealtimes and the quality of food we consume.
Solution: Plan ahead. Make meals you can freeze. Have protein bars available. Drink a superfood shake.
We wear ourselves out. We get tired. We lose sleep. We grab something like sugar or extra caffeine to give us a jolt of energy.
Solution: Make rest a priority. Stick with a bedtime and wake up routine. Consume foods like nuts and lean protein that will give energy that sustains.
We lose our focus. We become mindless when it comes to what we put into our bodies. We grab ‘n go.
Solution: Take time to breathe. Take five minutes in the morning to focus your day and pray and meditate. Take another five in the evening to count your blessings or read a devotion.
When we rush and grab or load up on sugar and energy supplements, we trash our bodies. And when we trash our bodies, the stress on them only becomes worse. Not only are we dealing with stressors outside but now our bodies are fatigued and low on energy, our mindset is negative and we lose confidence in the task at hand.
But when we take some time to plan, get some rest, get our focus, we treat our bodies like the temples they were meant to be. We honor them by filling them with good things. We honor them with rest and time to breathe. And when we do this, then those things that are demanding our time and our attention…..our schedules, projects, family, sporting events, etc…..we can show up for them healthy and present and ready to give our best and face the challenge before us.
How do you deal with stress?
Have you ever considered the concept that your body can be a temple or a trash can?
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Please tell me I’m not the only person who has eaten half bag of trail mix or half dozen (or more!) mini Reese’s cups and then stop and say “Why did I just do that???” Can anybody relate?? It’s like I lose my mind for a minute only to realize (too late!) that I just made a poor choice!
Let’s start with a dictionary.com definition: “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”
So first of all, WHEN do we have time to focus full attention only on the present??? Aren’t we usually doing 3 things or more at once?
AND, what’s this “not judging” business? I’m bad or a cheater if I eat half bag of M&Ms right?? I need to punish myself. I need to verbally beat myself up.
I’d like to propose that we can begin to take some steps towards mindfulness to reduce (and eventually rid ourselves of) “Why did I just….” moments!
I find that I have these out-of-control, mindless moments most often when I’m tired, stressed, overwhelmed. I’ve had it. I’m over it. I have no willpower or self-control left. My tank is empty, and I think my tummy is too! So I go on a spree before I realize what I’ve done.
I believe that when we slow down, even a little, and take care of a few areas of our lives, we become more mindful. It’s what we do in the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of our day that will save us from ourselves in those 5 minutes of losing our minds. And it boils down to taking care of ourselves.
Some time back I posted a picture of me getting a mani/pedi while reading a book and said that this is something that helps me stay mindful. Now, how is that? Those things (even though that mani/pedi was the first one I’d had in 2 months) provide some relaxation. I took about an hour out of my day for some self-care. I had a half marathon on the following Saturday. I had PMS. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with a few things. I needed to take care of me.
Girls, it’s okay to take care of yourself. You are better for everyone when you take a little time for you. Because this is how it goes otherwise…..back to our scenario of “Why did I just do that?” If one of those moments happen, then it leads to feeling bad about yourself, the negative chatter in your mind, and it all spirals out of control.
So a key thing to help you stay mindful is self care. It could be in the form of mani/pedi, a massage, bubble bath. Whatever says “pamper me” to you.
As I mentioned, when I’m tired it’s easier for me to have those out-of-control moments. I think I need “fuel” and not in the form of lean protein or my superfood shake. It’s usually in the form of chocolate!
When we’re well-rested and feeding our bodies proper fuel, it’s easier for us to practice mindfulness. We have energy. We’re not dragging in the mid-afternoon grabbing for a quick pick-me-up.
Here’s the thing, when we have more energy and mental focus, we can Experiencethe signals we’re getting from our bodies and then properly Assess them as to whether to Take action.
We’ll call it the EAT strategy 😉 When we begin to condition ourselves to slow down in other areas….taking the 5 minutes for quiet time, a bubble bath after the kids go to bed, a 10 minute walk before everyone else wakes up, scheduling an hour once a month for a mani/pedi….we can slow down in response to our hunger and craving signals and begin to assess what, if any, action we need to take to satisfy that urge.
It’s a practice. I still have moments. In fact, a common phrase I use is “I need a moment”. My son knows it’s like a “mom time out”. I need to get my head right and my attitude right before I respond to anything or anyone.
If you want more on mindfulness and exclusive content, sign up for my weekly email here. Tomorrow we’re going a bit deeper into how to become more mindful.
When do you feel most out of control?
Do you have a key word or phrase that lets your family know you “need a moment”?
No More Excuses! Easier said than done, right? I mean, I don’t always make excuses, I just don’t or can’t or won’t do said thing. Anybody with me?
But there are definitely times when our excuses feel very real. And honestly, they don’t feel like excuses. They are facts of our lives. They are real to us, and it’s hard to see a work around or another option. Healthy eating? I only have so much in my grocery budget. Work out? I only have so much time in a day. Rest? Have you seen my schedule??? Quiet time? I pray when I’m falling asleep at night.
Today I’m going to take on a few excuses, or maybe even facts of life, and bust them with some practical tips to a fit and healthy lifestyle.
1. Not enough time
As it relates to working out – For some reason we think that we must work out 30, 60, 90 minutes for it to “count”. But that just isn’t the case. Whether we do 10 minutes when we get up and 10 minutes at lunch or a 15-20 minute workout, something is better than nothing. And those 20 minute workouts can give you some amazing results. I recently reviewed some YouTube workouts that were only 10 minutes long, and they left me sore and sweaty. Check them out here!
As it relates to preparing healthy food – Do you have a crock pot? Do you have some time on the weekend or maybe one evening a week when you can bake ahead some chicken and put it in the refrigerator? How about put snacks in a baggie or small container? You can freeze a variety of dishes and pull them out to fix for dinner. The key is to plan and prepare ahead of time.
2. Not athletic, can’t run, hate cardio – First of all, running isn’t the only exercise. While some people (me included!) love it, others hate it, and that’s okay. You don’t have to become a runner. You didn’t have to be an athlete in high school to be able to exercise now. There are so many workouts these days, I’m confident you can find something you’d like to do. Do you like to dance? What about Zumba or Cize? Do you like hardcore bootcamps? What about a kickboxing class or the new Hard Corps 22 workout? Bike. Walk. Lift weights. Yoga. I can help you find a workout that’s right for you!
3. Weather – My husband has been known to be a “seasonal” exerciser. I tease him about hibernating in the winter. Lol! I often say it’s not the weather it’s the clothes. With the right clothes, you can get out in any type of weather (for the most part. I know issues like asthma do make extreme conditions difficult. Listen to your body!).
4. Too expensive
As it relates to working out – It doesn’t cost anything to put shoes on and go out the door for a walk. But even if you want/need shoes and workout clothes, they can be found on sale all the time. You can purchase one DVD with several workouts for a small amount of money. There are several workouts on YouTube and Pinterest that are legitimate and easy to follow…and free!
As it relates to eating healthy – Places like Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Target know that people are interested in organic, gluten-free, and just all around healthy foods these days. You can often find store brand for cheaper than name brand items. Places like Amazon and Drugstore.com offer great deals on healthier versions of items. Frozen produce or seasonal fresh produce are usually priced right.
5. My family doesn’t support me – This is often where it comes in handy to define your Why. (read more here!) Get your family involved. Set the example. If you have to, when they’re eating chicken nuggets and fries for dinner, have a salad. Eat the protein and veggies while they go ahead and eat the starch. Just choose smaller portions of whatever you have fixed for the whole family. Take the kids to the playground and walk laps while they swing and slide.
6. Healthy food doesn’t taste good – There are so many healthy Pinterest boards to follow with easy recipes. One of my favorite websites is www.hungry-girl.com. She has some great ideas on how to make your favorite recipes healthy without losing the yummy taste. Seasonings are your friend. Be willing to experiment. Check out some ideas here.
7. I’m tired all the time – I know it seems backwards, but getting fresh air and movement will help your energy level and get those endorphins moving in your body. Even if it means getting up 10 minutes early to go for a walk. When you begin to replace sugary and starchy foods with fruits and vegetables and lean protein, you will notice improvement in your energy level.
8. God knows what’s in my heart – Yes, He does. But He still wants time with you. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Just take a minute to really notice His presence in your life. Write down 3 things for which you are grateful. Be purposeful in this time. It will provide mental clarity.
I know it’s not easy to bust these excuses on your own. Accountability is key. Support is critical, especially if you feel like you’re the only one in the house who wants to get healthy. I have an answer! I’ll be opening an exclusive coaching group in September. It’s for those who have a desire for and ready to make a commitment to living fit and free! It’s not always easy, but together we can “Fight the Good Fight!” To get complete details, please email me to let me know you want in AND what excuse you’re ready to bust!
I'm a coach and counselor for women who are tired of the gimmicks and quick fixes and ready to be free to live a fit life that is designed for her unique lifestyle. I'm also an avid yet average runner and "mom" to our local running club.
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