Good Morning Friends, et al.
As many of you know from your own experience, a lot can happen in a year. Sometimes more than you can imagine. And sometimes it’s all good; sometimes it’s all bad; and sometimes it’s a combination of both.
This past week, I spent a fair amount of time reflecting on what has transpired in the last 12 months of my life. And as I stated above, it was a combination of both bad and good. But, without a doubt, what helped me persevere through the most trying year of my life, believe it or not, was me sticking to my Program. Yes, at one point I did report that I dropped 10 pounds of lean body mass. Stress for me results in weight loss not weight gain. “Lucky” or not, it was what it was.
From my lowest (152 pounds), I gained the 10 I lost and another 12 on top of that. I am now 174 with probably four pounds of fat to lose. Really. No joke. But the most amazing thing about this past year, with all its ups and downs, is that I remained healthy. I attribute that too the following 10 Commitments I believe everyone should follow in order to keep your Temple (or Church as the case may be) free from “evil”.
I use the word “Commitment” instead of the often used “Commandment” for a specific reason. A Commandment is defined as a “rule” or something one is instructed to follow, whether one likes it or not, by order of someone else (usually an authority figure). A Commitment is more of a “pledge” that one makes, usually out of love, of his/her own free will to either oneself or someone dear. I believe Commitments are easier to follow because you never want to let yourself or the one(s) you love down. While Commandments are more difficult; as they may not “jive” with one’s’ inner desires – leading to inevitable failure.
So, without further ado:
1. Eat a nutritious breakfast: It’s the most important meal of the day. It should include protein, carbohydrates and fat. Its total calories should be approximately 1/4 – 1/3 of your daily caloric intake.
2. Do some sort of exercise every day: Everyone can find 30 minutes a day to either lift weights, do cardiovascular exercise or even take a class.
3. Get your sleep: I know many of you believe I don’t get enough, and you’re probably right. But worse than not getting enough (on a regular basis), is getting less, or sometimes, even more than you are used to. If you are normally able to function well on whatever amount of sleep you get, try to keep your sleep patterns the same; especially when you are stressed. Not enough is obviously not good and too much sleep can lead to depression.
4. Keep a regular routine: I know it’s hard to be in a routine when everything around you seems to be in disarray. But your body and mind likes stability. If you normally train three times a week, make sure you continue to do so when you are stressed. Your body and mind will thank you for the endorphins the exercise will release.
5. Eat enough protein: When we are stressed our body goes into survival mode and our muscles “hunger” for protein. If it is not fed, muscle loss/wasting can take place.
6. Watch the sugar intake: During times of stress, we ALL want comfort foods. But try to be aware of when and what you are “eating”. What may satisfy you immediately might disgust you later when you see it around your waistline.
7. Drink a gallon of water: Fluids bring oxygen and other nutrients to the cells of the body. It also carries away waste products and toxins making your body (and again your mind) feel refreshed.
8. Get your vitamins in: B Vitamins especially are ideal for reducing stress levels in the body. While they can be found in many cereals and grains, they are also plentiful in meats, fish, poultry, milk and eggs. Sound familiar? Protein!
9. Limit your fats: Ok, we all know stress doesn’t cause me to get fat; but it does in most people. Why? Cortisol, the stress hormone, when released in the body can cause excess belly fat. Therefore, if you are stressed and producing more cortisol than normal and you are again reaching for comfort food (especially those high in fat), you may end up carrying extra fat weight on your body while you are carrying the weight of the stress on your shoulders.
10. Don’t Cheat: It’s always important to follow the above “Commitments”. However, during times of heightened stress levels, it is imperative that you stay faithful and not cheat! It won’t help your problems go away, but I guarantee you that you will feel better and remain healthier until they eventually do.