According to Denice Austin in an article for Prevention Magazine (on MSN.com), stress could be keeping me from having rock-hard abs!
Here's what she says I should do:
Exercise Rx30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise most days of the week plus a couple of yoga sessions each week.
Exercise can counteract stress and its negative side effects by bolstering brain levels of calming, feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Before you start panicking about how you'll fit it in, take a deep breath and keep reading. This tummy type should focus on accumulating activity by aiming for 10-minute bouts throughout the day. For even more stress reduction, add two yoga sessions a week, or substitute yoga for weight lifting. Yoga builds strength, but even more important, it lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Diet RxEat frequently.Hunger can stress the body and trigger the release of cortisol, a hormone that encourages the storage of fat in the abdomen. To keep your hunger under control, split your meals and snacks into five or six minimeals.
Get 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye a night.Chronic sleep deprivation can raise cortisol levels. It can also drive down levels of the appetite-control hormone leptin, making you feel hungry.
Laugh more.Here's a tactic anyone can stick with! In a study conducted at Loma Linda University, men and women who watched a humorous video had 30% less cortisol in their blood not only while watching the tape but also up to 24 hours later.
Day 1: 30 minutes cardio, 10 minutes strength-trainingDay 2: 30 minutes cardio, 10 minutes yogaDay 3: 30 minutes cardio, 10 minutes strength-trainingDay 4: 30 minutes cardio, 10 minutes Core MovesDay 5: 30 minutes cardio, 10 minutes yoga
Your Smartest Snack Vegetable and Onion Dip
Crunchy foods help dissipate stress. Try this low-cal alternative to chips.
Recipe: Coat saucepan with olive oil cooking spray and heat over low to medium heat. Add 1/2 c chopped onion. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until translucent. In a bowl, mix onion with 1/2 c fat-free sour cream, 1/8 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp light canola oil mayonnaise. Cool and use as a dip for 2 c raw veggies.
While a big part of me feels like this is ridiculous, remember what I said in the last post... that if I don't have those release activities then I go crazy. Well it's making me think she might be right.
Okay, I'll commit to trying to lower my stress level and we'll see what happens between now and bikini season.