August 08, 2014
Admittedly, this topic would make a great book. The subject matter is so vast, but can be narrowed down to a number of impactful actions for today's post.
The point of eating well and exercising during periods of stress is that it does help us to deal with that very stress we are experiencing, much better.
During times of stress we often stop exercising altogether, we tell ourselves we do not have time and our regular routine of being mindful fails. Likely a considerably more negative impact on our waistline are the food decisions we make when we are stressed. We tend to overeat, eat mindlessly and choose processed, sugary and salty foods from packages.
So what if you had a really simple plan to follow during those stressful times? Would it be easier to stay on track? The problem is that having a handout of exactly what to do during stressful times becomes a stressful thing to read in itself! As you are likely beginning to realize through my other posts, this is a mindset shift first and a 'follow the stress workout plan' second type of deal. You must first believe that it is possible to stay on track during roadblocks and normal life challenges.
I believe that a few steps to follow can help you to see that stress does not have to mean the end of eating well and exercising regularly. Sure, your workouts may be shorter, your food choices likely not ‘perfect’, but we can certainly create a plan that is ‘good enough’. In order for you to actually follow through when life gets crazy, the most important part is focusing on SIMPLICITY.
The thing is, following a ‘good enough’ plan during stressful life events is better than the option you are currently experiencing: Doing nothing with your body and everything with poor eating habits.
Step 1: Exercise Intensely
This past weekend my friend Janna and I completed a strength workout that included 3 rounds of 3 total body exercises and finished with us running downhill for 15 minutes to the beach to meet a friend. The fact that we were both texting each other days later with our muscle soreness woes is a testament to the 'something is better than nothing' approach.
I even had time to use my cat as resistance.
What you need for an intense workout during a time crunch:
- 10-30 minutes
Yep, that is all. No equipment? Try squat jumps, push-ups, jumping jax, stairs, plank. Repeat.
Step 2: Eat Simply
This is the biggest disaster area during busy, and emotional times. It can be as simple as telling yourself you do not have time to pack a healthy lunch or as deep as reaching for comfort food when tough mental struggles come up.
In keeping with our simplicity theme, I thought I would share my eating mindset during stressful times:
- Protein: usually boiled eggs (easy to make ahead) or I order sushi and get tuna sashimi, last option is a protein bar.
- Fruit & Vegetables: Always have apples in my fridge. Whip up a protein shake with spinach and blueberries.
- Water: Always have it with me and always choose this first before any other drink. (even coffee!)
- Have a treat when I feel I want it and move on!
This takes little to no effort, is my go-to plan and I only get to this point when super short on time (deadlines, projects, lots of traveling). It is totally not perfect and I do love to spend my time cooking, most of the time. When life gets crazy, you need to find a way to stay on track with food choices if you want to achieve your goals.
Step 3: Find Healthy Ways To De-Stress Quickly
Once again, we go to the 'I don't even have time to put on my seatbelt, how am I going to fit in a yoga class?' place in our heads, don't we?
Here's a question for you, how effective are you at completing work related tasks when you are super stressed?
Answer: Probably not so great. I tend to worry and procrastinate more than actually completing work when I am stressing. Finding ways to de-stress does matter. We become more efficient, we are a lot more pleasant to our friends and families and we are less likely to fall off the eating well and exercise wagon when we chill out a little.
My favourite de-stressing activities:
- Yoga (a class or 10-15 minutes of breathing and movement in quiet at home)
- Walking outdoors (this is so effective! Decreases heart rate and blood pressure, helps us to stay in the moment)
- Meditation (check out The Compassionate Mind started by my friend Bev Janisch for simple guidance)
As I shared with some of my Blast Fitness Bootcamp Ladies this week, I often write posts as an online diary of sorts. It helps to keep the information realistic, relevant and true! I really do follow the steps above during times of greater stress.
If you think this can help anyone else in your life, do not forget to ‘share’ this post with the social media icons at the top of the page!
Love & Peace,