THE BLOG

5 Habits to Goal Weight, High Energy and Peak Performance

03/23/2015 11:10 am ET | Updated May 23, 2015

Does this sound like you?

• Do you drag yourself out of bed in the morning, and fight an eight-hour war with your own fatigue... before you finally call it a day?

• When you get home every night, do you barely have enough energy to talk to your friends and family?

• When people are talking to you, do you find it harder and harder to pay attention because your head is full of brain fog?

• Do you look in the mirror and see your waistline slowly expanding... and the number on the scale keeps climbing up and up no matter what you do?

If you feel like any of those things sound familiar, I have some good news for you! None of those things are the real problem. Those are just the symptoms...

The underlying cause of feeling fatigued, drained, lacking energy may really be ongoing STRESS.

Stress is the worst toxin in the entire body -- worse than sugar! If you really knew what was happening to your body when you are stressed, you would do whatever it takes to keep stress at bay.

Studies show that chronic stress can harm your immunity, making you more vulnerable to viruses and illnesses.

• Stress can also make you fat, especially increasing that belly fat, because the stress hormone cortisol not only increases your appetite, but it also slows your metabolism and promotes fat storage. So even if you eat salad all day long, you could still gain weight.

• When you are stressed, you can experience increased heart rate and high blood pressure, making your blood more likely to clot, your muscles get tense and in general there is chaos in your body.

I used to be one of those stressed out people until I incorporated five simple habit shifts and my life changed for good:

1. Managing stress starts with your mind. Our perspective is our reality, so it is up to us how we choose to see the stressors. They could be real or perceived. Regardless, they create the same response in the body. A study published in The Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine reports that perceived stress is more destructive to your immune system response than actual stress. If perceived stress is bad, can you imagine what happens to your body when you experience ongoing perceived stress? When I realized the destructive power of my thoughts, I made a conscious shift to not let little things get to me and I felt calmer instantly. Amazing how our mind has the power to change everything.

2. Remove stressors from your diet. You are what you eat. The right diet can be incredibly effective in de-stressing your life. When you remove stressors from your diet like caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars and grains, trans fats (basically all processed foods) and eat whole, real, unprocessed foods (protein, healthy fats, fruit and veggies and non-gluten grains), you can help restore hormonal balance in your body, keep your blood sugar stable and maintain a steady stream of energy all day long. I tried this and not only did I have increased levels of energy but I also lost 5 pounds naturally.

3. Burn off stress with exercise. Exercise makes you happy and energized, increases metabolism, balances hormones, boosts your immune system, slows down aging process, makes your brain function at its best and helps you sleep better. Studies show that just 30 minutes of walking every day is all that's required to reap big benefits including reduced risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

4. Lack of sleep increases stress hormones. Sleep is a hormone-dependent process, and with all the variables in our lives that can affect proper hormone balance (food, exercise, stress etc.), it makes sense that many people struggle with sleep. Our hyperactive minds are strongly linked with sleeplessness. Calm your mind by doing something relaxing before going to bed and you will enjoy a good night sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night for optimal rest, fat loss and muscle growth.

5. Learn to "switch off" to offset stress. We often rush through our days, making us anxious and stressed. We need to learn how to "switch off." In order to calm our emotions, we need to calm our mind. The only way to do this is to do something relaxing whether it is a walk in the park, deep breathing, meditation, bubble bath or whatever you find relaxing. Also, deep, slow full breaths can have a profound affect on resetting the stress response. Based on my experience, only 10 minutes of calmness a day keeps us focused and primes our energy so we can accomplish more.

When you make those shifts and learn to keep your hormones in balance, you will reach your goal weight, have all the energy you need to perform at your best and achieve all your goals.