SPRING IS THE STRESS SEASON
For this week’s blog I am featuring a guest blog from my mom, Pam Scantalides, who is a CHEK Level II Holistic Life and Nutrition Coach. She also is certified by CTA (Coach Training Alliance). Not only is my mom a CHEK Level II Holistic Life and Nutrition Coach and mother of 3, but she holds an MBA, is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and in sum, is basically a badass :)… I hope that you enjoy her post!
SPRING IS THE STRESS SEASON
April 15th, the IRS, taxes……and other harbingers of Spring (such as extremely inconvenient snow storms) are upon us. Although many people think the end-of-the year Holidays create tension and uncertainty, I believe that this time of year can compete equally. Controlling and eliminating stressors in our lives is a year-round, and indeed, life-long conscious effort. There is much evidence to show that stress shortens our lifespan and is a factor in chronic diseases.
Stress factors come in many forms, not just the texting driver riding your bumper in the left hand lane of I95 or your unreasonable work schedule. Disturbances in circadian rhythms, improper food choices, lack of sufficient hydration, excessive electronic stimulation, lack of exercise and even too much exercise, are only some of the stress points which affect each one of us daily.
The first strategy in controlling lifestyle stress is to recognize it. When I first made the decision to study holistic and nutritional life coaching, it was because I was working in a corporate environment, traveling 2 to 3 weeks each month with team members who followed very similar schedules. I soon noticed that many of my co-workers were sleep-deprived, over-weight, improperly nourished and exhibited several chronic diseases, the two most common were Type II Diabetes and Gastro-Intestinal digestive problems. These maladies were and are caused by stress brought on by choices most of us never realize we are making.
Let’s take “nutrition”. Our bodies run on food. We would not be able to drive our cars without gas. When the gas tank is empty, the car stops. Our bodies are exactly like our cars in that functionality. We need to realize that consuming “food like substances” (thank you Michael Pollen) is not the same as eating food. Our bodies are looking for nutrients to run the machine. When we consume high-fat, over-processed, highly-sugared non-foods, the machine does not work. It’s like feeding a baby a bottle of water instead of milk. If you keep it up, the baby will die in a few days. While we don’t die right away, our bodies tell us we are dying slowly. The message is delivered through chronic diseases, lack of energy and obesity.
Our Circadian Rhythms should work to help our bodies rest and regenerate from our daily activities. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies are deprived of the restorative powers and processes that Nature has integrated into our cycle of activity, fuel and restoration. A human being needs between 7 and 10 hours sleep in each 24-hour cycle. Although some people maintain that they need no sleep or very little sleep, I believe there is sufficient evidence to show those people are only fooling themselves. When we sleep, our body restores lost nutrients, stores thoughts, memories and events from the day, and regenerates and replaces cellular losses. The sleep cycle is specific and depends on darkness and calm to successfully work. When we take electronic devices into the bedroom, watch television immediately before retiring (especially if it’s news or a particularly violent program) and allow any ambient light into our sleeping environment, the body releases cortisol in response and the sleep cycle is impaired.
How do we reduce our stress (without causing more anxiety)?
I encourage my clients to pick only one factor at time, and perfect or improve that one area. Since You Are What You Eat, I generally start with nutrition. Be sure to eat real food. Organic is always better. If it doesn’t grow, then it’s not food. For example, a muffin or a bagel for breakfast is not real food (unless you know where I can find a muffin or a bagel tree). Whole grains – steel cut oats for example – eggs (eat the yolk), fruit, nuts, yogurt (without sugary jam in it). Pizza, while tasty, is also a processed item. Ask yourself if what you are about to put in your mouth ever lived in some way. Did it grow? Did it have eyes? If the answer is “no”, you don’t want to make it a major part of your diet. Avoid the 3 Devils: white sugar, white flour, white salt (also known as Sodium Chloride). Sea salts, Himalayan Salt are good substitutes for table salt.
Stay tuned for more. In future blogs I will cover sleep, hydration, exercise and much more. I’m looking forward to this adventure. If any of you have suggestions for topics you would like to see covered, please submit an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About “Coach Pam”
Pam Scantalides (“Coach Pam”) is a CHEK Level II Holistic Life and Nutrition Coach. She also is certified by CTA (Coach Training Alliance). Since 2006, Coach Pam has helped her clients achieve both fitness and nutrition goals through individualized coaching guidance.
Coach Pam assesses each clientʼs lifestyle, food choices, activity levels, stressors and metabolic type to develop customized strategies. Her emphasis is on long-term practices which will enable each one of her clients to realize his/her full potential for vitality and health to enable them to live active and drug-free lives.
Coach Pam enables her clients to integrate several healthful practices into their daily regimes. Exercise, Nutrition and Stress relief and the three primary focuses of her practice. Emphasizing “The Six Basics”: Thoughts, Breathing, Water, Sleep, Food and Exercise, and the necessity to include them in each plan, every client is guided into a sustainable and vital program.
Coach Pam believes there are no short-cuts to a vital and healthful existence. Good Health and Long Life are the result of daily practices. Specific diets and weight loss programs and popularly-marketed exercise programs are not the answer to long-term sustainable practices. Strength, endurance and health are only achieved through serious commitment over a lifetime.