Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Avoiding Recessionary Butt Syndrome

Yesterday I promised I would share some of my favorite stress-busting ideas to avoid Recessionary Butt Syndrome...instead of reaching for the ice cream I go for one of these and I not only don't take in a bunch of calories I don't need I feel good about myself afterward, too!

Keep hydrated! Seems crazy, but when I get stressed I sometimes forget to drink my water. Then I will get cranky and headachey. That just increases my stress...so the first thing I do when I start to feel peevish is take a BIG glass of water and chug it.

Practice positive affirmations and/or meditation. Put good thoughts into your brain and calm yourself. When I am stressed I find it especially helpful to have a guided meditation or affirmations so that I'm not having to "remember" what to do.

Go for a quick walk around the block. This will actually reduce your stress level AND you won't feel like beating yourself up for "falling of the diet wagon"! This doesn't take a lot of time and you don't have to get on special exercise clothes...just get out and move a bit!

Take deep breaths. Breathe from your belly...nice slow breaths in and out, a full cycle should take at least 10 seconds. The breathing is calming and also brings more oxygen into your body (and brain) and oxygen is necessary for metabolizing food efficiently--so by breathing deeply you can actually burn more calories while you are reducing your stress!

Be aware of what is going right in your life. Write it down in a journal or notebook so that you can refer to it and add to it. Every day jot at least 5 things down that went well...this will help train you to look for the good things in the day. Take some time to reflect on these things and appreciate them and be grateful for the good moments, events and people you have surrounding you. I call this my gratitude journal and I feel happy just thinking about it.

Turn off the news! Give yourself permission to NOT watch all the negativity.

Instead, talk with a friend and have a good laugh! Or watch a funny movie or a favorite comedy...one friend of mine loves to watch old Abbott & Costello movies for a lift!

Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. It is easy to slide into the chemical "lift" or "relax" habit that caffeine and alcohol provide. These actually both add stress to your body and you will be better off not increasing quantities of either of these drugs.

Keep up with your exercise routine. Remember, you don't have to work out for hours...but whatever level you are at, be sure to keep with it. You will feel better about yourself if you do...and it will keep you burning calories, so if you do have a little comfort food you'll be able to handle it better.

Do something you enjoy every day. Even if it is just for 15 minutes. It could be as simple as smelling a flower or watching the sunset or listening to music.

I'd love to hear some of your stress buster ideas too!

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