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How Does Stress Disrupt Blood Sugar Balance?

How Does Stress Disrupt Blood Sugar Balance?

Your body and brain depend on balanced levels of blood sugar (glucose) to steadily supply your cells with fuel for energy. Stress normally drives blood sugar up to power a “fight or flight” physical response via the adrenal stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol converts energy stored in your body into glucose so that your blood sugar rises to energize that anticipated surge in activity. As your blood sugar goes up, insulin is secreted by your pancreas to move the glucose from your blood into your cells.

This extra glucose is meant to be used up by a strenuous physical response to the stress, which restores blood sugar back to normal. In the prehistoric world, stress typically came from physical threats against which a short burst of activity increased the odds of survival. However, in the modern world stressors are typically ongoing pressures against which physical activity is seldom used or useful.

If your life is stressful, especially with a diet high in refined carbohydrates and without regular vigorous exercise, the consequent repeated or chronic blood sugar and insulin elevation you experience can create problems over time that prehistoric humans probably never had to face.

When this is occurs too frequently, your cells become more resistant to insulin to avoid the toxicity of excess glucose. This can leave too much glucose in your blood and too little in your cells. To maintain balance, your body converts and stores the excess blood sugar as fat – usually around your abdomen.

Paradoxically the decreased amount of glucose getting into your cells triggers hunger and you may find yourself craving carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrate consumption spikes your blood sugar up and the vicious cycle of blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance continues – an added stress with ever greater negative consequences for your whole body over time. When it comes to blood sugar, maintaining balance is the key for good health and steady energy.

Tips for Keeping Blood Sugar Balanced

  • Keep a daily account of everything you eat for a week. In one column, list every bit of food, drink and medication that you take and at what time. In the second column, list your symptoms and the time at which you experience them. Very often you will see a correlation between what you have consumed and your symptoms. When you do, eliminate those foods or drinks that you notice are contributing to your behavior and note the difference. Important: do not stop any medication cold turkey. If you believe that your medication may be contributing to your symptoms, contact your physician. A diet diary is your personal blueprint: a clear overall view of what you are eating, digesting and assimilating. It can be the first indicator that something is wrong and, perhaps, a very inexpensive way of correcting a very simple problem.

  • Eliminate the “main offenders” from your diet. These include sugar, white flour, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, junk food and fast food.

  • Exercise caution when eliminating certain substances from your diet, especially ones that are addictive. For example: if you tend to drink a pot of coffee a day, gradually decrease your consumption over time. The same is true for tobacco and alcohol. If you are addicted to tobacco, alcohol or other substances, it’s often best to quit under the guidance of a professional. There are many physicians and support groups helping people deal with all sorts of addiction, which can be very difficult to beat on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  • Replace the bad foods with good ones. Aim for a diet that focuses on the natural: Lean meats, whole grains, brightly colored vegetables and some fruits (those with lower amounts of fructose). Instead of focusing on the foods you can’t have, focus on all the foods that you can have. You’ll soon find that healthy foods can have an addictive taste as well, but without the negative effects.

  • Eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day, with snacks in-between. This helps balance blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day. Reminder: do your best not to overeat. Having smaller meals at more frequent intervals can help avoid overeating.

  • Be prepared: have food with you at all times to balance blood sugar. Keep healthy snacks at work, at home, and anywhere you spend a lot of time. Having healthy snacks and food on hand will also make it harder to cheat by hitting the drive-thru or a convenience store.

  • Be careful of how much fruit you consume. Fruit is generally considered healthy, but can be detrimental for those with hypoglycemia. Many fruits are high in natural sugar, which can further disrupt blood sugar imbalance. Generally, fruits are better to have at lunch are later in the day. Avoid dried fruits altogether, as they are quite high in fructose.

  • Be mindful of natural sugars occurring in some natural foods, or foods marketed as natural. Fruit juices, smoothies, and yogurts (especially those with fruit) often contain high levels of sugar. Natural or not sugar is sugar, and your body will react to an excess regardless of source.

  • Build up a library of cookbooks. These can help give ideas of healthy, low-sugar recipes. Sometimes coming up with food plans can be frustrating, so keep helpful resources on hand. Bookmark recipes and meal ideas on your tablet, phone or laptop for quick reference. There are many websites that offer free healthy recipes, including ones that focus on hypoglycemia-friendly foods.

Material for this blog sourced by Adrenalfatigue.org
Photo by Audrey Fretz on Unsplash

How Do I Fix Stress -3 Lessons To Improve Health

How Do I Fix Stress -3 Lessons To Improve Health

How Did Losing My Dogs Teach Me 3 Life Lessons for a Healthier Life?

This past weekend my two dogs became escapees after shimmying the gate open in our back yard. They were gone for approximately 36 hours and I was a wreck. …

Stress Management: Goal Setting

Stress Management: Goal Setting

Did your 2018 start out like so many other years? Full of promise and a fresh start? Did you make a list of all the things you will conquer this year? Are you like 80% of the population that has abandoned the resolutions already? 

A lack of a plan leads to leaving the goals in the dust by the end of January and thinking, "I'll get it next year!". 

If you are struggling to stay on track with the goals you set at the start of 2018, this is the episode for you. Fine-tuning your goals to be specific, targeted and time-sensitive is an essential start to the goal-setting process. In order to manage your stress, goal-setting and planning are imperative.

Goal setting can be overwhelming, especially if you are focused on many new goals. When you are overwhelmed, it's hard to stay focused, especially if there is not a plan behind each goal. 

Today we break down 3 strategies to manage your goals so that you feel equipped and confident with a plan to accomplish them.  Starting with a few goals in the areas of life that are your biggest priority is a great place to start.

 

The overwhelm is no-more with these goal setting strategies. Tell me what goals you have and if you have a plan to accomplish them!

5 Things To Look For In A Health Coach

5 Things To Look For In A Health Coach

’Tis the season for resolutions and goals; a certain focus tends to fall on the health that we may have let slip by in the past 12 months. We write out lists of well-meaning promises to ourselves that we will fulfill this year. THIS YEAR it will be different...

Stress Management: Hormone Imbalance

Stress Management: Hormone Imbalance

As I coach women that need help to manage the stress in their lives, we often discuss some of the "clues" or symptoms that drove them to work with me. Number 1 reason: weight gain. As we dig in, I have been able, with help from friends like Candace Burch, to uncover a hormone imbalance. Stress can play a HUGE piece of hormone imbalance that leads to so many symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, irritability, mental fog, melancholy, and a TON of other not so special things. I decided to interview my friend and trusted hormone advisor, Candace Burch from Your Hormone Balance. This interview is LOADED with helpful information and I promise you that you will want to get your hormones checked right away. Spoiler: Candace gives a GENEROUS code to my friends, because my people are the best!! 

I dare you to NOT love Candace! You just can't!! No way! She is a wealth of information and so very awesome-she truly understands what each of us struggles with! 

If weight gain IS a struggle, hormones could be the bozo to blame! There could also be a few other tricks that you are playing on your body making weight loss difficult. Download my guide, "5 Critical Mistakes Preventing You From Weight Loss" to find out what could be keeping weight loss at bay. 

 

Stress Management: Women-Balance, Self-Esteem, & Body Image

Stress Management: Women-Balance, Self-Esteem, & Body Image

I interviewed Dr. Ariane Machin, co-founder of Conscious Coaching Collective, to discuss modern issues that we, as women, deal with. There are impossible societal standards that are placed upon us requiring unachievable perfection. It negatively impacts our body image, self-esteem, relationships, and overall self-worth. This discussion is rich in grace, humor, and balanced perspective that gives women permission to say no and embrace your space. 

I hope you love this interview as much as I do! Isn't Dr. Machin the greatest?!?! I could talk to her allllll day. If this spoke to you the way I think it will, then make sure you head over here to get on the waitlist for INTENTIONAL WELLNESS! It is a whole wellness program that flips "diets" on their heads! It's time to look at stress management, gain energy, and feel healthy & whole again. JOIN THE WAITLIST!

Until next time, sisters!

Whole Health. Whole Love. Whole Success. 

Stress Self-Care for Working Moms

 Do you remember the commercials in the 80's of the frazzled mom who would exclaim "Calgon, take me away!!"? The next scene would show her up neck deep in a frothy bubble bath and suddenly all was right in her world.   When stressors present themselves in your busy life of running a business, raising a family, maintaining relationships, volunteering, and the list goes on and on...you may feel like you are going to lose your mind. How can you fit one more thing on your to-do list? That is when self-care is so critical. Taking a step backward to change your point of view. Evaluate the bigger picture. Taking a deep breath and asking God for guidance. Giving yourself the gift of self-care.   Yet, sometimes the stressors come in the form of environmental toxins and chemicals you knowingly put in your body and not from your schedule or obligations alone. Those toxins instigate a stress response because it is foreign in your body and causes inflammation. Eliminating those from your environment and, more importantly, your body will begin with self-care.  I invited my friend, Kristin Szerszen, to share her top tips for natural self-care that rejuvenate, reduce your inflammation, and minimize your stress. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to essential oils and the benefits for your health. I am so excited to share my blog with her!    

Do you remember the commercials in the 80's of the frazzled mom who would exclaim "Calgon, take me away!!"? The next scene would show her up neck deep in a frothy bubble bath and suddenly all was right in her world. 

When stressors present themselves in your busy life of running a business, raising a family, maintaining relationships, volunteering, and the list goes on and on...you may feel like you are going to lose your mind. How can you fit one more thing on your to-do list? That is when self-care is so critical. Taking a step backward to change your point of view. Evaluate the bigger picture. Taking a deep breath and asking God for guidance. Giving yourself the gift of self-care. 

Yet, sometimes the stressors come in the form of environmental toxins and chemicals you knowingly put in your body and not from your schedule or obligations alone. Those toxins instigate a stress response because it is foreign in your body and causes inflammation. Eliminating those from your environment and, more importantly, your body will begin with self-care.

I invited my friend, Kristin Szerszen, to share her top tips for natural self-care that rejuvenate, reduce your inflammation, and minimize your stress. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to essential oils and the benefits for your health. I am so excited to share my blog with her!    

Did you know... the average person applies 300 chemicals to their body every single day, and 80 of those chemicals before breakfast?!?

Most of these chemicals are from four things --- soap, makeup, shampoo, and hair care. The biggest pollutants in our home are fabric softener, dryer sheets, air freshener plug-ins, and candles.

Health & safety data only exists for 15 percent of all the chemicals out there, even though so many are known to cause asthma or endocrine disruptions! I highly suggest you open your cupboards and start researching the products that you are using and the ingredients that they are formulated with. I found the phone app called 'Think Dirty' to be very beneficial and helpful in my research. 

Essential oils are a safe and natural option to use in our homes and as a part of our care routine. There are some very easy and affordable ways to incorporate these products into your life. I am going to share some solutions that you can easily implement into your beauty and self-care regimen!

Aromatherapy:

It's amazing that scents can have such a powerful impact on our bodies! Therapeutic essential oils are extracted from plants. These oils help plants thrive and maintain wellness so by using them we are able to gain the benefits that plants do from having the oils inside.

Essential oils can help you stay above the wellness line as opposed to always be treating symptoms and putting a band aid on things. They support body systems the way that they are meant to optimally function.   

Using essential oils aromatically is an easy and effective way to get the therapeutic benefit of the oil that you are using. You can simply open your bottle of oil and smell it, wear diffuser jewelry that holds the oil, and use a diffuser to disperse the oil in the air in your home.

I use the diffusers in our home throughout the day. In the morning, I will use oils for alertness, focus, and to help wake our minds and bodies up for the day; my typical go-to selection is a citrus oil like Lemon or Orange. Throughout the day I will use different oils based on what may be going on for us; as a mom of a two-year-old, I find myself diffusing the oil blend called Stress Away most of the time! At night, I use calming and grounding oils like Lavender and Frankincense to help us unwind from the day. You can also use your diffuser during your detox Epsom salt bath, I often do!

Epsom Salt Bath with Essential Oils:

Who doesn't love a great bath? I have found that incorporating a relaxing detox bath with Epsom salt into my routine helps me destress and unwind. This is my favorite and most used thing in my self-care routine so I will go into good detail on this.  ;)  Oil and water do not mix so mixing the essential oil with Epsom salt is a great way to add two amazing products to your bath!

Find an Epsom salt that only contains magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) without any fillers or additional ingredients. Epsom salt has 7 amazing benefits: boosts magnesium levels, reduces stress, eliminates toxins, relieves constipation, reduces pain & inflammation, improves blood sugar levels, and volumizes hair.

Take about 1 cup of salts and mix with your preference of essential oils. I typically use about 5-8 drops per cup of salts. By using essential oils with the salts, you will also benefit from the therapeutic properties of the oils. Lavender and Frankincense oils are my favorites to use for when I want to relax. For those days that I have a tough workout or have worked hard in our yard, I use Peppermint to relieve sore muscles. You can even use Eucalyptus oil to help if your breathing needs some support! The oily combinations are endless so you can truly customize your bath experience however you want!

Once your oil is mixed with the Epsom salt, pour into your bath under the running water and mix it into your bath water. I keep two glass jars of ready to use Epsom salt beside my tub with my favorite two oily combinations; this way I don't have to mix it for every bath. 

It is so much fun to be able to create your own spa experience at home! Enjoy!  

Skin Care & Personal Care Solutions:

26 seconds is all it takes for the ingredients in your personal care products to enter your bloodstream! Once I learned this statistic, it became more important than ever for me to make sure that the products we are using are safe for our bodies.

I switched a lot of products that we use to simple DIY options or researched safer options to purchase. Please visit my blog at www.KristinSzerszen.com for recipes to make things like facial masks, hand soap, makeup remover, rash balm, anti-aging facial serum, bar soap, sugar scrub, and a recipe that I am working hard at perfecting... body butter that is smooth yet not greasy! If I started listing all of my recipes and specific solutions in this post... it would be never ending, so I'll be respectful of your time and point you to my blog where I am posting all of my recipes. 

If you are not a DIY type person, don't fret! There are solutions available for purchase that will meet your needs.  I always suggest to research ingredients!  I am happy to make suggestions on our favorites so please don't hesitate to reach out!  

Essential oils are a very versatile and safe solution to use for personal care and beauty care. There truly is an oil for everything! The therapeutic properties of oils can be used to help make product swaps in the effort to achieve a toxin free lifestyle. I would be so happy and honored to help guide you and offer any suggestions in using essential oils. Please email me at Kristin@KristinSzerszen.com with any questions. 

Thank you to Ericka for sharing her blog and having me as a guest!  

 


As a gift to my readers, Kristin is giving away this awesome diffuser necklace to one of my lucky readers! Simply leave a comment below to be entered and I will pick a winner on 7/15/17. She is also offering a 10% discount at her website on any purchase with the code: ErickaEller. Yay!!! 

Surviving Stress

Surviving Stress

You’re exhausted. Burnt out. Done. You’re trying to do everything. All the things. All the time. But you’ve hit a wall. You wish for moments of complete silence. Time alone, doing nothing. How do you manage the stress?...

You Might Be A Woman With Stress If...

This “stress” topic isn’t new if you are a human. Who might be a woman. And probably has a career. And a family. And you need to bring treats for the classroom party. And you’re trying to make healthy meals for your family but the kids have soccer practice 4 days of the week during dinner time. And you have to schedule your dentist appointment that you are 8 months late for. pic isn’t new if you are a human. Who might be a woman. And probably has a career. And a family. And you need to bring treats for the classroom party. And you’re trying to make healthy meals for your family but the kids have soccer practice 4 days of the week during dinner time. And you have to schedule your dentist appointment that you are 8 months late for.

Happy International Women's Day!

pexels-photo-167921.jpeg

It’s about time. The world gave ME a day….today is International Women’s Day!! I have one day to bask in all of womanhood and delight in the estrogen flowing through my body. Break out the piñata! Fiesta! Such joy! 

However, the ironic humor is that this very celebrated (everybody celebrates, right??), festive, pinnacle of all peaks, day that the world has given ME…..is the day that nature gives me the swift kick in the pants and I get my period. Of course. Happy International Women’s Day to ME. To begin the celebration, here is the fiercest of cycles! Of course. I feel like my body turned on me. 

Nonetheless, I do celebrate being a woman. I celebrate all of my femininity each day.  I don’t need a day to celebrate or acknowledge that I have a uterus. I celebrate all the good and bad of being a woman. The best part for me was that God made me a woman because He knew I could do hard things. Each day I am given breath, I am thankful for the women who have gone before me and done hard things. I am thankful that I have gifts and talents and I can share those with others. I am grateful that I have a chance to impact my children in a positive way, especially our daughters. I am grateful for women who will come alongside and help mentor me to become a better wife, mother, leader, and friend.   

I celebrate the hormone shifts because it reminds me that even on my fiercest of days, when it seems as though I have no heart, I can still cry at someone being compassionate to another human. I celebrate my changing body, because I grew three babies inside and they are miracles! Who cares if it’s softer and I have stretch marks?!! Without this body, those amazing people wouldn’t be here….there are days I wish I could shove them back inside to give me some quiet, but they are still amazing and I love them with all my heart. I celebrate all that I have accomplished. Life is tough and we have each been knocked down. There were times that I thought there was no way I could get back up. But God. He has a way of leading us down the dimly lit path. I celebrate having courage. I celebrate having faith. I celebrate being bold. I celebrate being quiet. I celebrate being thoughtful. I celebrate being scared. 

 

We are busy. We are tired. We are overwhelmed. We are over-scheduled. We sleep too little. We worry too much. Sometimes, it’s just one day at time. And that’s ok. We are loved. We are precious. Take a deep breath. There is always something to be thankful for. 

Each day, I choose to celebrate and love myself so that I can also love others better. It’s a choice. I haven’t perfected it. Some days are easier than others. Each of us, as women, have gifts that we must share with the world. Don’t keep it to yourself. You are a gift. Celebrate it. Make a cake...You are THAT special!

Today, try these three things to celebrate yourself:

  1. Be thankful. Take time to write down 3 things you are thankful for right now. Anything. Gratitude breeds joy.
  2. Do something kind for someone else. Nobody ever feels bad after doing a good deed for someone else.
  3. Love yourself. Speak kind words to yourself.  Take some time for you. Take a nap. Whatever you need today. 

Don't just celebrate being a woman today. Celebrate every single day. Celebrate you. Don't forget the cake. 

 

 

 

 

 

Room To Grow

This past weekend I decided to tackle the most giant of tasks. The Goliath of tasks. I didn’t want to. I thought it wasn’t bad enough. I’ve procrastinated for months already. Life was still continuing to move forward without this task being finished. I was getting by. 

What was the task that made me feel a little nauseous every time I thought about it? Purging and organizing my closet. I can hear the collective groan from all of you too. I dreaded this task. But I couldn’t stand it anymore. 

Many of you may know that I became the happiest of brides last September. God heard my most fervent of prayers and blessed me with an amazing husband. Jeff moved into the house and it was a challenge to find room for his things. I didn’t realize the amount of shifting, moving, donating, and selling that we would each have to do! I thought he was coming with his toothbrush and a bag full of underwear and socks and we would live happily ever after. I figured I would give him my side of the bed (because it turned out we both slept on the left side of the bed on our own and I can compromise) and it would all be good. Then I see a moving truck pulling up. And it was FULL. 

Fast forward to the master bedroom closet. We needed to make room for his clothes! I let go of 5 tops and what felt like 1,000 pairs of shoes and it didn’t even look like I made a dent, but we carried on with the tight closet. I knew I needed to get rid of so much more but I just couldn’t. I’d sacrificed so much already! I NEEDED all of that stuff! I put it off and procrastinated. Then finally I decided it was time to rip off the band-aid. 

I had been inspired last week when I listened to this podcast on closet organization by Chalene Johnson. She inspired me to make the move I was dreading, my conviction and need flipped the internal switch and I began the dirty work. Within two days of listening to Chalene, I went through every single piece of clothing and purged what was no longer in style or fit. I was ruthless. It was liberating. 

Cleaning the closet made me think…how many times have there been things in our life that we are afraid to change? How often have we known that in order to grow, we need to move past something holding us back? How often have we let fear of the unknown prevent us from experiencing a “clean closet”? How many times have we told God, “not now”?

You see, there can’t be growth when things remain unchanged. In the same way, I couldn’t appreciate so many pieces of great clothing because they were being hidden by items that I would maybe one day wear again. Never mind that it has been over a year or more since I’d worn it, one perfect day, when all was right in the world, I would be glad I hung on the cardigan with layer upon layer of ruffles or that skirt or blouse! Those extra, unnecessary, items were preventing me from having an organized, open space. I was being greedy and selfish by holding on to items of material worth. I wasn’t willing to let go and allow someone else to be blessed by what I no longer used. I wasn’t allowing myself to dwell in the place of contentment of what I have. Cleaning my closet allowed me to see my blessings and find contentment. 

Similarly, we prevent our own personal growth because we allow the clutter in our lives to hold us hostage. We don’t allow God to use the old to bring forth the new. We don’t allow the growth. We seek “perfection”and acceptance through new things. 

We allow the fear to creep in, we stay safe. 

We don’t share that idea at work because nobody will care, or worse, they will think it’s dumb. 

We don’t reach out to that person because they probably aren’t interested or are too busy to have another friendship. 

We don’t participate in groups or activities because we probably wouldn’t fit in. 

We don’t change our diet and lifestyle because it’s too hard and we won’t be successful again. 

We don’t jump forward with the business plan because we would probably fail. 

We don’t leave toxic relationships because what if we end up alone?

We don’t join in conversations because what we have to say is probably not valuable. 

We don’t submit our resume because we probably won’t get the job. 

We don’t give up the addiction because it brings us comfort. 

Think about this. What if we did? What if we said yes to what God has placed in our hearts? What if we stepped out in faith and allowed God to work through us? What if instead of fighting the pruning that will come anyway, we submitted? 

I have had some hard lessons in life. I have regrets. I’ve hung on so tightly to things, and sometimes I still do. I’ve looked for people and things to fill my needs. Slowly, I am learning that when God says it is time to move forward, it’s at that time I need to obey. Letting God do what He needs to do while I have a willing heart is so much easier than acting like the toddler who you’re practically sitting on to get the medicine in their mouth because they NEED the medicine to get better.  If I just took the medicine or washed my hands so that I wouldn’t get sick in the first place, it’s much easier to handle. The medicine can still be bitter but it allows us to grow, regenerate, and stay healthy. 

I know, such a life lesson from a closet about to explode, right?  But God uses everything. And there lies the blessing.