Muffin tops – we all hate them. Many of us have them. But why?!
It’s all down to our adrenal glands. These two pyramid-shaped glands sit above your kidneys and pump out adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones that set the rhythm of your nervous system. Adrenaline activates the fight and flight response. But when there is no tiger to face, we end up in a long-term, low-level activated state that keeps us hyper-aware. Over time, the knock-on effect is rising anxiety, palpitations, difficulty sleeping, poor memory and concentration, and difficulty word finding. Oh, and did I mention that your body starts to put down more belly fat in this state?
Many women come to me asking for help to shift their muffin tops and we discover that not only are they often not eating enough, but their stress levels are the reason their bodies have laid down fat there – and it won’t let you lose it until the stress has passed.
Life today means multi-tasking is the norm but it isn’t what our nervous system was made for. We were built to live 80% of our lives in the eat/sleep/rest/relax/digest/have sex zone and only 20% in the stress zone? Of course, we adapt but over time stress takes its toll. At first, it’s little things like feeling tired more than usual, being ratty with our loved ones, having less enthusiasm for spontaneity, and craving time alone. Then insomnia can creep in, anxiety, headaches. Self-care begins to feel like a chore and we start to wonder whether there’s actually something really wrong with us.
The internet is full of courses and free downloads enticing us to clean up our diet, do a 5-day challenge, exercise to increase our endorphins, eat healthier, take this supplement or buy that miracle herb. We are told to watch our food labels, avoid toxic chemicals in our beauty products and make choices that are better for the planet. The result is often more overwhelm and guilt as we spend money but don’t see results. We remain confused and still feel tired all the time.
If this sounds familiar here are some of the key things you can do NOW to turn things around:
Cut the caffeine
Drinking caffeine is like poking your adrenals with a knitting needle. You don’t need to cut it out, just cut it down. Instead of reaching for the same old cuppa all day, make your hot drinks work FOR you by opting for herbal infusions. Choose herbs like ginseng and guarana to avoid the caffeine jitters but perk you up when you need it. Later in the day blends with passionflower and valerian will help you to get better quality sleep.
Eat every three hours
As women, we need to refuel every three hours to keep our blood sugar level. If we don’t, our adrenals need to pump yet MORE adrenaline out to raise our sugar levels so our bodies can function properly. Protein is best here – keep mixed nuts and seeds by the kettle or on your desk and simply eat a small handful every three hours.
Step away from your task list!
Taking time out will make you much more productive when you come back. Being in nature is a natural de-stressor so even if it is just 5 mins in your garden, the proven benefits can be yours.
To find out more about how to stop without it all falling apart, download my guide to making your hot drinks work for you here.