A friend of mine, Susan Tate, asked me to write a forward for her book, Into Mouths of babes, a book about infant nutrition. I was so, so honored, but not quite sure why she asked me. Maybe because we had discussed nutrition for my son a few times, especially when he was an infant. Fortunately, I had started writing in preparation for the blog, because until the decision to start a blog, the only time I wrote was in compulsory English classes.
There was a part of her book where she discussed “seven sacred nutrients”. They highlighted the attitude towards feeding rather than the foods themselves. In an ensuing conversation, she told me about an aunt that lived to be 92. That aunt outlived her mother and her sisters. When they were clearing out her fridge, they saw a lot of cholesterol filled foods, that are supposedly bad for your health. But, what Susan’s aunt did not do, was ‘Stress’. Just deciding that she would not be stressed produced longevity. Looking at her life, it seems like level of stress was a better measure of longevity than quality of food.
This got me thinking about my own experience with ‘Stress’. I moved to a new town when I was 8 months pregnant. Prior to the move, I had been in an environment that I was very familiar with. I had my friends and my lifestyle and the pregnancy was going really, really well. After the move however, I had a month to get a new house in order before the baby came. I didn’t have a lot of friends, neither had I had time to adopt a lifestyle that worked well for me. I also had to deal with the financial strains of to leave my job.
Anyways, the move and having a new baby were very stressful for me. So stressful that, I did not lose a pound from the day I left the hospital until my baby was 16 months old, even though I was jogging, doing Insanity workout videos, and a whole host of other things. I will take my vitamins but it didn’t seem to have the same effect on me. My arms were getting so huge, that I put weights in the bathroom so I could work them out every morning. My belly was also not going down. Others had had babies months after me and their bellies didn’t look like they were 3 months pregnant. My body just didn’t seem to respond to my efforts to recover.
I then attended a convention where a lot of doctors talked about the effects of stress on the body. They mentioned lots of symptoms, almost all of which I had. They included reduced nutrient absorption, increased fat around the arms & stomach, hair loss and a host of others. They also discussed ways to deal with it including deep diaphragmatic breathing. On my way back home, I realized that life was not so bad; I was back to work and we had help with the baby. I could finally relax. Without doing much, I lost 10 lbs in 4 weeks.
I finally realized how important stress reduction and self-care are in creating a more balanced and holistic life. I now know that worrying can be more harmful than the effects of what we are worrying about. If a worry comes up, I ask myself if there is anything I can do about it. If there isn’t, I try my best to let it go, there is nothing I can do about it anyways.
When I am stressing myself about whether I should eat something not so great for me, instead of worrying about it, I just eat it and relish every morsel of it. I make sure I am as relaxed as possible, taking deep breaths, instead of the tightness that comes with stressing about it. I like to believe being relaxed will allow it to flow through and out of my body more easily :).
I will discuss more on the ‘how’ of stress reduction in later posts. For now, “Let go and Let Live!”
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