One step Forward, Two steps back.
I hope you are all having a fantastic week! As you can probably tell by the title this blog post is going to be a little different to my others. But don’t click off yet, read down to the end, even though its not food, it may help you in many ways.
Ive been wanting to talk about this for quite a while now but not knowing where to begin. Anxiety and extreme stress is something that a lot of people suffer from. Its not exclusive, but its intrusive to your lifestyle. There have been times when I couldn’t get out of bed because anxiety has made me feel so terrible. In 2013 there were a staggering 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. So if you are a sufferer, your not alone.
Anyway, we all know that anxiety and stress is harmful but not all of us are aware of how detrimental to your health and fitness it can be. No matter how clean you eat, and how many times you exercise per week, anxiety can prevent you from reaching your goals. As a sufferer of anxiety I am going to talk to you about the main symptoms that have affected and do affect me.
1. CHRONIC FATIGUE. As mentioned above tiredness is a massive symptom of anxiety and stress. Anxiety causes a huge raise of adrenaline in our bodies, heart pacing, skin itching and that deep panic. We get tired when something called the ‘crash’ happens. When our body slowly recovers from its anxious state it realises that all the energy it had has been used in that stressful state and in turn has completely drains us. Obviously this is detrimental to our exercise routine as we may not feel like pushing ourselves or even working out at all. This then causes a downward spiral because exercise can seriously help anxiety as endorphins are released when we work out, which make us happy and calm. My best tip when you feel anxious is to force yourself to do a little exercise. Even a walk, for me it works overtime.
2. POOR DIGESTION. We’ve all experienced this from time to time, but serve anxiety sufferers will have to deal this this on a daily basis. Its painful, annoying and most of all STRESSFUL. When you experience anxiety you are actually experiencing something called the ‘fight or flight’ response which is your body reacting to danger. When this happens your brain can become overloaded meaning that other parts of the body have to be used, most commonly our digestive system. Also to create adrenaline our body need glycogen, so our stomach starts processing nutrients far to rapidly causing an upset stomach. Again exercise can really help this but also getting more sleep can improve your digestion function. As well as this, when you feel anxious try to eat easily digestible foods such as rice, oats and potatoes. This will improve symptoms.
3. OVERTHINKING. This is not as common as the other two and difficult to describe but I’m going to try my best. When we get anxious our brain goes into overdrive, we all know that. This can effect every tiny decision we make during the day. Such as getting in the shower, what shampoo to use, when to eat etc. This can be hugely draining and very frustrating. What it does to our bodies is unbelievable. It sends us into a state of shock, almost like we can’t move, think, do anything. Again our body uses a ton of energy to be able to cope with this, meaning we are more likely to reach for that junk food to replenish lost glucose. Once again its a downward spiral, when we eat junk food we feel bad about it which can set the anxiety off again. Firstly we must STOP beating ourselves up, because this in turn causes us to eat more sugary stuff. If you can’t do this then fill your fridge with only healthy stuff. So if you need comfort food after a patch of stress you don’t turn to the crap and instead there are many healthy options in your fridge. I also find distraction is a massive help during anxiety. Surround yourself with friends and family, go to a class at the gym, create a new dish in the kitchen. It all HELPS.
Overall, anxiety is toxic, but we can’t get rid of it. Instead we have to train ourself how to deal with it correctly. Everyone is different and nobody can tell you how to ‘fix’ stress, unfortunately you have to find your own little tricks to help keep it to a minimum. It takes time, its hard work but its a massive part of being healthy, happy and fit.
I hope that this post has been interesting, will be back next Sunday with an awesome recipe!
Love Georgie xx