A few years ago I was stressed to the max. I was sometimes working 12+ hours per day, which consisted of attempting to manage a gym, coaching fitness classes several hours per day, working through some business changes, training for the CrossFit Games and, in the process, was limping along as a husband.
While attempting to juggle all these things, my nutrition took a back seat. I was choosing to eat out more, making unhealthy, quick choices when eating at home and, quite frankly, sometimes not eating at all!
Because of my poor choices in my eating habits, I was more stressed, less motivated to workout, unhealthy physically and super cranky with the people around me!
In my search for managing my stress I found that taking the time and energy to prioritize my nutrition was the number one key in managing my stress.
Nutrition gives your body the vitamins and minerals it needs for all the connections in your brain to fire properly. This regulates hormones, mood, helps you think more clearly, assists in better sleep which all leads to being able to handle and manage stress with more ease.
Here are some simple action steps you can implement in your daily routine to help nourish your body to flourish during stressful times in your life.
ACTION STEP #1 – HYDRATE
Replace sugary drinks with water. And instead of downing that twelfth cup of coffee, grab a glass of water instead.
When you drink sugary drinks your blood sugar spikes which also causes your body to release cortisol to balance the spike. Your body also releases more cortisol when you drink too much caffeine.
When you’re stressed, your body is already releasing high amounts of cortisol which can lead to fatty deposits in your body and eventually lead to poor health. Drinking those sugary drinks and excess caffeine adds to the excess cortisol levels.
Water can help reduce this spike, balance your cortisol levels and flush toxins out of your body.
ACTION STEP #2 – ADD VEGETABLES & FRUITS
Simply adding a vegetable and a fruit to each meal can significantly reduce stress in your life. Vegetables and fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your brain needs for synapses to fire correctly in your brain.
When these synapses are not firing properly, they can be misinterpreted by the body releasing hormones that are not intended to be released causing anxiety, worry and more stress.
Setting time aside once or twice per week to meal prep is the ultimate solution to this problem, however, if you’re a person on the go, here are some quick tips.
- Try adding baby carrots and an apple with your breakfast. These are easy to pack with you if you’re a little rushed.
- If you have time to make a breakfast at home, try adding sauteed spinach to your eggs. Finish the meal with an apple or blueberries.
- For lunch, if you eat out, add as many veggies as you can when you order and try packing dry fruit with you.
- I also find that having a freezer full of steamed vegetables is an easy, quick option if you don’t have time to (or just don’t want to) cook.
- For dinner, attempt to eat at home, prepare a meal with vegetables and fruits and enjoy the time you have to slow down!
Remember, simple choices make all the difference in the world!
ACTION STEP #3 – EAT MORE PROTEIN
Most Americans eat too many carbohydrates and not enough protein!
Carbohydrates also cause sugar spikes in your bloodstream. Your body then releases more cortisol (the hormone that is released when you’re stressed) to balance the spike. If you’re already stressed, this will wreak havoc on your body!
Replacing carbohydrate heavy foods with lean protein such as fish, chicken or turkey can help reduce sugar spikes, and manage your cravings for those carbohydrate heavy foods.
If you have the time and energy to prepare fish (especially wild-caught salmon!), it is the ultimate source of protein because it contains Omega-3 fatty acids which has been linked to reducing cortisol levels.
ACTION STEP #4 – HIRE A NUTRITION COACH
In some instances, nutrition can be the root of stress and anxiety.
Fear about change, not having time to meal prep, accountability to action steps and a lack of a game plan hold many people back.
Many of our clients have found that hiring a nutrition coach helps take the stress, guesswork, mental fatigue and time management out of dialing in their nutrition.
Making change doesn’t have to be stressful. Let our nutrition coaches take the stress and guesswork out of your nutrition, schedule a free consultation with one of our Nutrition Coaches HERE!
At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, we offer you both nutrition & fitness coaching, from personal training to group CrossFit classes we have the keys to help you reach your goals!
Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess about what to do!
Schedule a free consultation with a coach to see how we can help you with your goals! → I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!
COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier