I was hanging with a group of people this weekend and one of the ladies came and put her hand around my wrist, which people do sometimes because my wrist is really small.  She asked me if my size was genetic or if I do something to maintain a small figure.  And I just told her I’m a small person.  She said she used to be my size but after she got married, she put on weight and her hormones shifted.

She did not know I was a doctor when telling me all of this.  I then asked her if she was happily married, and she replied that she was getting a divorce.  I then said to her that once she is done with the divorce, she would probably notice her health improve, but in the meantime keep a healthy diet and keep exercising.

The reason I said that last part about diet and exercise is because when people go through chronically stressful situations, sometimes they just let everything go.  When people come to me with a chronic condition, I take a history and I ask what was going on around that time.  What I have noticed is that sometimes, right before that chronic condition appears, maybe about 1-3 years before, my client had let everything go, on top of having a chronically stressful situation.

Even though it may feel like you are not getting the gains you expect from a good diet and regular exercise, keep doing it, because it may protect you during a chronically stressful period of your life.

And yes, when you can finally get out of that stressful situation, do it.  You will likely notice an improvement in your health afterwhile.

Sometimes you can remove stress while being in a relationship or other difficult situation, and sometimes it is best to let it go.

Acupuncturists take a particular type of pulse reading before they needle you. I was getting regular acupuncture during a stressful period of my life, and when I removed the stress, my pulse got stronger within a few days, which in my case was a good sign, because at that time it was typically a bit more faint than it probably should have been.

Getting Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in my early 20s is what prompted me to eventually become a Naturopathic doctor.  What I have experienced with IBS is a tendency towards constipation.  I remember my bowels becoming more regular the day after I let go of another stressful situation.  I didn’t realize until they had become more regular that I had gone through a period of them being more constipated due to the pent-up stress.  I say that because sometimes when we go through certain stressful situations for so long that we don’t always track them to being a cause of our physical ailments.  Leaving those situations can be quite eye opening.

As rewarding as Naturopathic school was, it was 4 years of chronic stress.  It was very discouraging to go into school hoping to feel better and realizing in my 4th year that I was more bloated than I had ever been prior to school.  But after I graduated, the bloating drastically reduced.  I eventually realized that it was the stress of school that was the major cause of the worsening.  I remember one of my classmates started experiencing thyroid imbalances and another started experiencing blood sugar dysregulation.  A point I want to make here is that if you maintain a good diet and exercise and stress still causes some stuff to happen, whatever happens may not be as severe as it could be otherwise, and that is also why it is worth keeping up the diet and exercise.

Another thing to do your best to maintain is adequate sleep.  Towards my 3rd year of Naturopathic school, I started having sleep problems and they got worse.  This too I contribute to the stress of school.  This is when I delved into trying different supplements and other therapies for sleep and I was successful at finding what worked for me.  Sleep is vital for your overall well-being, and that includes weight management, mood, learning and cognition, as well as managing inflammation and various symptoms.

Lastly, maintain some sort of stress management technique, such as meditation or doing nothing for 20 minutes per day.  Although it may seem small compared to what stressful situation you may be going through, remember that every little bit has the potential to help keep you and your body in some sort of balance, or to keep you and your body from going so far out of balance that it is hard to deal with.

And to repeat, when you can get out of the chronically stressful situation, do so.