Tuesday, 30 July 2013

5 ways to energise your day

Alarm goes off. Mind starts racing with the day’s to-do list (how will I get everything done?!). Launch out of bed. Get glance of self in mirror and subsequent huge fright, setting adrenalin into overdrive. Make coffee. Strip off onesie (What? You don’t wear a onesie? Get with the times!). Jump into shower. Brush teeth and clean self whilst in shower. Get out. Get dressed. Do hair. Grab coffee in travel mug. Run out door.

Sound familiar? If this is how you start your morning, then chances are your body has been kicked into fight or flight mode before you have even left the house. You have effectively set your body to up to be in a heightened state of stress for the rest of the day.
Running around stressed is far from something to boast about. You know what I mean – when someone says “how are you?”, you respond with “oh I’m so stressed!” like it’s some badge of honour to show how much you can juggle. I know this because this use to be me. Until it all came crashing down.

Stress is no good for anyone. Check out this impressive list of "did you know's":
  • Did you know chronic stress increases your risk of a heart attack?
  • Did you know that stress causes the hormone cortisol to increase, which increases inflammation in the body? 
  • Too much cortisol is also responsible for that belly fat you can’t seem to budge, no matter how well you eat or drink.
  • Did you know that chronic high stress and cortisol wreak havoc on your hormones, contributing to problems such as low testosterone in males and amenorrhea and fertility problems in females.
  • Did you know that chronic stress can disrupt your gut flora and, in turn, your overall health and wellbeing?
  • Did you know that too much stress and cortisol can lead to adrenal fatigue and low energy?                
  • Did you know stressing all the time can reduce your stomach acid and therefore your ability to properly breakdown and digest your food?                   

Now who's boasting? 

If you are a stress-addict and/or poor sleeper, no matter how hard you try with squeaky-clean eating and smart training, you’re probably not going to get the results you want.

So, what can you do about it? Well, I believe the morning is a pretty good place to start. Try out these 5 ways to get your morning off to a great start, reducing your stress, and energising your day:

1. Take 10 deep breaths. Before you get out of bed. This will only take 2 minutes, so no excuses please. Hold your hands over your belly and feel the rise and fall as you take deep breaths in and out through your nose

2. Have a healthy breakfast. If you don’t have time to make anything, prepare something the night before, such as my Berries Extraordinaire. If you do have time, fry up some eggs and veggies and serve with avocado.

3. Chew your food well, chew it slowly and do nothing else. A little while ago I found myself sitting down to my breakfast with my phone, checking my emails, then Facebook, then Instagram, then Twitter, then wondering where my breakfast went. No good for digestion. No good for stress levels. Concentrate on just one thing – your meal – to allow adequate digestion and to optimize the nutrition you obtain from your meal.

4. On that note – don’t touch your phone until you walk out the door. Trust me, you’re not going to miss anything of importance that the inter-webs has to say in that short amount of time.

5. Let this be your new mantra:                                                                                         

“There is plenty of time in the day to get everything done”                                              

I heard Tim Ferris say he did this to keep him focused and prevent him from becoming overwhelmed and stressed with everything he had to do in the day. He said it made him more productive. More calm. I tried it. Completely agree! You don’t need to say it out loud – just repeat it over in your head a few times, especially when you feel a little frazzled by your to-do list.

6. Yes, I know I said 5, but when do I ever stick to what I say I’m going to do. This was meant to be a short post. Clearly incapable. Right, number 6 (which I think is the most do-able and most rewarding):

Smile at 2 people that you walk past. Complete strangers. Hopefully they’ll smile back (if not, chase them down and ask what their problem is. Kidding! Don't do that). Maybe even say good morning. It’ll give you (and them) a little warm fuzzy feeling to kick-start your day, and theirs.

What’s your best way to start the morning? Let me know if you try any of these and if you notice a difference. I would say number 5 and 6 have made the biggest difference to my day.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Hypothalamic amenorrhea - huge thanks and an update

First of all I have to say how blown away by how much support I received from you all following my last blog post (which you can read HERE if you haven’t done so already). It was honestly so overwhelming – I can’t even express in words the gratitude I felt/feel.

I also received a lot of comments/emails/messages from women/girls who are in the same situation. No period for quite some time. Realise they need to put on weight as they are jeopardising their health and fertility. Scared to do so. 

What bothers me is the amount of conversations I have had that go like this:

Me: “I haven’t had my period in 2 years”
Them: “Oh that happened to me too”
Me: “Really? How’d you fix it”
Them: “Oh I just ate more and stopped being obsessive with exercise”

And what really concerns me is how blasé everyone is about all of this. Like losing your period in the pre-menopausal years is normal. I’ve got news for you – IT’S NOT! If your health is suboptimal, your reproductive system will be the first to stop working. You don’t need it to survive. And the first sign of your reproductive system going into shutdown mode is a lack of menstruation. Let’s not dull down how significant this actually is peeps!

OK, so I thought I should give you an update on my progress. No period yet. I have put on 6-7kg. Note – this has been over the past 4-5 months, not the past 5 weeks. That would not be healthy. Just as a healthy weight loss is around ½ kg per week, a healthy weight gain is about the same. I have reached the weight that gives me a BMI of 22 (I was 19.6 before). This is where my doctor and naturopath felt would be ideal for me in terms of baby-making.

How have I done it? I eat more. And I eat more carbs. I snack – mostly on smoothies. Yes, I have become one of those annoying people who drinks green smoothies, but not in a mason jar. My friend Caitlin won’t allow that kind of crap. She already tells me that giving thumbs up isn’t cool anymore. 

Just for you, Caitlin. xx
Aaahh where would I be without my young uni friends to keep me in line?! But I still eat in a paleo/primal/Weston A Price manner. Just because I have needed to gain weight doesn’t mean I should throw away all of my basic nutritional beliefs and principles. Especially in the pre-baby-making phase of my life. You can read my post on that here.

How do I feel about it? I’m not going to lie. I still have the occasional “I’m fat” moments. And then I just give myself a mental slap in the face, tell myself I’m beautiful (yes, I have also become one of those hippy-dippy self-love people. Laugh all you want. It helps), then get back to focusing on things that actually matter in life. You see, what I have realised is this – nobody cares if your thighs touch except you. And you only care because you think everyone else cares. Which they don’t. So stop caring! And please….go and un-like anything related to the “box-gap”. That shit is just going too far!

Because I like lists so much, I have decided to create a little pros and cons of gaining weight:

  • My jeans don’t fit me anymore – actually it’s only one pair that doesn’t fit. The rest are pretty good with their stretch-ability (yes, that is a word!).
  • I probably won’t be called up by Victoria to replace Miranda as her new Angel.

  • I have boobs (see below) – this may seem insignificant to all you life-long well-endowed ladies out there, but coming from someone who has always struggled to fill an A cup (don’t laugh!), it’s pretty exciting! My husband also agrees. Although he says he likes my old boobs just as much. Smart man. Very smart man. Learn from this, gents!
  • My skin and eyes are clearer than they have ever been (see below). And I don’t use any fancy shmancy skin products. I use olive oil and soap. Maybe a bit of rosehip oil in the winter. That’s it!
No filters - I felt it only right to show my skin as it is. And boobs.
Thanks to Bloch for the new top! 
  • I feel stronger. I can lift heavier weights in the gym! Despite doing less exercise overall. Maybe there’s a lesson there….?
  • I have more energy. Eating more = more nutrients getting in!
  • Most of the time, I actually feel more comfortable in my body. Seriously. For the first time in about 15 years, I feel good. Really good.
  • My husband still finds me sexy and my friends still want to hang out with me. Some of you may laugh at this one and say “of course they do!”, but this is actually a legitimate concern for some people (including me) as stupid as it may sound (and yes, we know it sounds stupid too, but the mind works in funny ways).
  • Did I mention I have boobs?!

So it would seem that this whole business ain’t so bad after all!? And yes, as I said, there are days when I feel a little frumpy and want to go back to my svelte ways. But slowly, the good days are crowding out the bad. These things take time. And they can be scary. If you’re in the same position as me, please don’t feel that you have to do it alone. Telling friends and family (or, in my case, the entire inter-webs) about what’s going on can be so powerful. The feedback and support you receive might surprise you. I can tell you – writing that blog was the best thing I have ever done for my health. But if you don’t want to tell people close to you, feel free to tell me – either in the comments below or email me kate@theholisticnutritionist@gmail.com. This is an issue that needs more attention! So let’s get talking!

Thanks again everyone! Much love to you all! I'm off to have a bath and admire my new boobs! (kidding! Or am I?) xx