Feeling stressed out? It seems to be a common part of everyday life. Stress at work, stress at home, stress over the current environment and situations.
Many of us cope with stress by stress eating. Regardless of your reason for going keto, stress eating will not get you any closer to reaching your goals. In fact, it will take you a step back!
Stress alone causes spikes in the hormone cortisol. It is our body's primary stress hormone. Excessive cortisol leads to higher blood glucose and fat storage.
When we eat, our bodies release the hormone insulin. Most are familiar with insulin lowering blood sugar. However, it is also signals the body to store fat.
It's not hard to see how stress eating only makes your goals more difficult to achieve. High insulin levels are also responsible for most chronic illness and disease. And chronic high cortisol levels make us feel worse unless we have a way to bring them back down. More stress!
Here is a list of ways to cope with stress that will actually help your journey rather than harm it!
1. Let's start with something easy that can be done anytime, and anywhere. Deep breathing exercises. If you're in a hectic environment, excuse yourself for a moment. Head to a quiet room, or even the bathroom if it's your only option. Take some time to practice deep breathing. Eventually you may be able to summon your deep breathing skills even during a meeting or at your workstation.
2. Meditation. Taking a few minutes in the morning for meditation can help make a big difference in your focus for the day. If it's been a stressful day, take a few minutes before bed for meditation to help you relax and get a good night's sleep. (Good quality sleep also plays a very important role in stress management.) The good news is you can't over-meditate, so even if you prefer to meditate in the morning, throwing in an extra session after a stressful day can only help.
3. Yoga. The definition of yoga literally translates into stress reduction: "A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation." Find a yoga for beginners class, or even a video on YouTube to get yourself started. Commit to at least a few days a week.
4. Scheduling. We often over commit ourselves between work, family, and social life. When you forget to schedule some time in for yourself and your well being you end up living in chaos. Once we've reached that chaotic point it seems impossible to get out, yet we make excuses for why we cannot change the schedule. Go over that schedule very carefully and look for a time slot you can block out and commit to self care practices. I suggest any period when you would typically be scrolling social media or watching TV. Take this time and invest in your wellbeing.
5. Workout. Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, while stimulating the production of endorphins. Endorphins are a chemical that act as a natural painkiller and mood boost. Pick the exercise of your choice, whether heavy lifting, cardio, or even some form of martial arts. Get your heart racing and let those endorphins flow!
As discussed in a previous article about mixing up your ketogenic lifestyle, give these new practices time for the benefits to make themselves apparent. Hopefully soon you'll be finding yourself naturally reaching for these tools when you start to feel stressed or anxious. If not, you may need some help. Elaina Wang, author of this article, is available for Ketogenic Lifestyle Coaching and wants to help you work mind and body and diet together to achieve your best ketogenic success!
Elaina Wang is one of our Ketogenic Lifestyle Coaches. Our ketogenic coaches help clients achieve habit change via coaching. Your keto coach is happy to work with you to best support your goals. Learn more about Ketogenic Lifestyle Coaching or start your coaching plan today.