Puffy? A few fixes.
I know, bizzare. But let me explain.....
About 5 years ago I was in my early 20s, eating what I considered "healthy", working my butt off, under immense stress, working out at the gym like a fiend...well you get the picture. Life was in high gear. Because this is America, right? It's shameful to slow down and enjoy when you could be running hard for whatever goal is ahead. Ahem, I digress. Part of my big lifestyle transformation around this time was centered around my general feeling of "puffiness". I looked at photos and my face and body has become just...puffier. I had certainly gained a few pounds, but thats part of getting older,right? WRONG. Not at 22, at least. I had pretty much given up at EVER feeling slim or sleek....maybe that just wasn't my body type. I'd been fighting this my entire life. Never "fat", but never really slim. Once I began changing my lifestyle, everything about my sort of just started to deflate (for lack of a better term,haha). My round face became more defined, my soft arms became slimmer. I could sit down and still have a flat stomach. And the best part was...I WASN'T STARVING! Then, I began reading a bit about inflammation. Something I never had heard much about, other than in regards to a wound or injury. Our bodies reponse to enviromental stressors, which often menifests itself externally in our appearance. . And how this phenomena (often common) in us was easily cured with a few things.
Many of us do it...just not well enough. The old addage of getting your 8 hrs? Well, that means nothing unless those 8 hours are quality sleep & rest. For me that meant-
-Sleep in a DARK room (no electronics glowing...it disrupts our circadian rhyhms)
-Sleep in a QUIET room (earplugs my friends!)
-Wind down BEFORE bed (stretching, yoga, mediatating for a few before bed)
EAT WHOLE FOODS!:
No, not the grocery store itself. When I switched from a diet full of cereal, dairy, pasta and sugar to a paleo plan (meats, seafood, fruits, veg, only things found in NATURE....you cant find hot dog buns or bana bread in nature) my weight immeadiately and naturally went down. I for once felt free of any excess weight and felt as if I were the size nature intended. (A hard thing to understand unless you've experienced it). Snacking on things like oranges, rather than chips and keeping meals simple not only keeps things easy for YOU-but your body recognizes and deals with simple real foods MUCH BETTER. The phrase "as nature intended" comes to mind.....
Not obsessively, either guys. Over exerting your body can actually trigger release of the stress hormonr cortisol, which puts our bodies into "fight or flight" or FAT STORAGE mode. Dont scare your body. Take rest days when you're run down...but make 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week a new priority. It helps your body release stress, strengthen and makes you feel overall happier and better. Seriously, try it for a month and watch your mood and outlook on life skyrocket. I suggest strength training over cardio. Also, changing up your workout source is fun. So maybe you cant get that 30 minutes in at the gym, but you walk home rather than drive or take the train. Or you decide to take the stairs for the day, over the elevator. Its the little things. Little victories, big gains.
STRESS LESS, REALLY:
Easier said than done....I know. But finding small ways to train your brain to a more positive outlook does wonders for your health. If you are under stress, your body is constantly in that "fight or flight" mode...not a good zone to be in to fight inflammation. If your body is worried something is wrong (and it can't tell the difference between danger and a high credit card bill) , it will try to defend you. Inflammation can kick in as a defense. For me, I decided to change my lifestyle when I was under immense stress in all areas of life. My biggest helps were-
-create a social circle, reach out, even if its to call a friend and say hello. Humans need community to de stress.
-turn negatives into positives...ex. bad breakup? Not end of the world- but new OPPORTUNITY to meet someone new and better for your life
-take a minute....stretch...breathe...get outside...
-laugh. get together with people who make you laugh until you cry.
Combine these ideas and you are looking at a recipe for successful, happy healthy and inflammation free living. I challenge you to try and incorporate one or more of these things into your routine this week and see how life unfolds....I dare you, my loves.