Here’s a transcript of what used to be a typical day in the life of being Me:
I am so sick of doing everything around here.
I have to be a mom, work a full-time job, and start a business, all while trying to keep this house clean and pay the bills.
No one listens to anything I say.
I never have any time for myself.
I am OVER IT.
That script played over and over in my head for years. And I still sometimes hear it.
Here’s another thing about me: Whenever I gain weight, I gain it around my stomach.
Believe it or not, that negative inner conversation and my tendency to gain weight around my middle are connected.
Stress and Weight Around the Middle
It’s actually a biological fact that stress and weight gain in your midsection are connected. But I believe there’s a deeper connection going on.
I believe these two things go hand-in-hand because of the anger I feel from not managing the stress effectively.
And whenever I don’t manage stress properly, it’s because I’m not experiencing my own power.
When I disconnect from my innate power, I’m not able to deal with the chaos around me. This causes stress. The stress leads to resentment, which turns into anger — which I then hold inside.
I believe that holding onto anger and letting it build up unexpressed inside the center of your body is why it shows up there.
Doctors will tell you that it’s because of the stress hormones involved, but I believe that the physical location of the anger you feel is why it accumulates in your midsection.
So in today’s post, I want to talk about your stomach — or your pot belly, or spare tire, or wine baby, or whatever you want to call it — and why it’s there.
If you can accept that it’s there because of stress, let’s take it one step further and say that it’s because you’re not managing that stress effectively. (There’s always a true starting point that you’re not seeing if you just keep peeling back the layers.)
And if you take it back one more step, the reason you’re not managing stress effectively is because you’re not accessing your power.
You’re pinging back and forth throughout your day, being unnecessarily powerless.
Let’s Talk About Women and Stress
First of all, women are under unbelievable stress.
If you’re a mom, you’re expected to not only do the daily mom things like pack lunches, run errands, and keep your house clean, but also entertain your kids every second, make nourishing gourmet meals for the family, and post about all of it on Instagram. And make it look like you’re swimming in gratefulness — because what kind of mom isn’t fulfilled by doing these things?
Oh yeah, and in your spare time kill yourself to get the perfect body and look as young as possible.
And if you’re a working mom . . . forget about it. You win the Academy Award of doing three people’s jobs and simultaneously acting like you’ve got this — all while feeling the crushing guilt that you’re letting everyone down because you can’t get it all done.
But whether you’re a working woman with no kids, a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom, you have been trained to shove it all down, put a smile on your face, and keep on going. You’re supposed to be self-less. After all, you’re a woman, and that’s just what we do.
And then we get stressed to the breaking point, then we eat, and then we gain weight around the middle. And we wake up every day and look down and think “Ugh” — just one more reason to feel like a failure and pile on the stress.
And this is how those wretched internal conversations get started.
But here’s the thing: the dialogue in your head is far, far worse than the immediate stress around you. Because these conversations are what make you feel powerless and keep you stuck in a perpetual state of stress.
The biggest problem with this back-and-forth in your head is that you’re not really aware of it. Ranting, bashing yourself, and blaming everyone and everything around you is about the least effective way to handle anything. It drags you down into victim mode, feeling helpless. And then because we’re trained to shove down all our feelings and smile through our rage, we feel even more angry.
All of it totally unnecessary and counterproductive.
It’s like suffering through one of the tirades of your most negative friend with glue in your chair and a piece of tape slapped over your mouth — when the whole time you could just say “Enough,” get up, and walk out. (In other words, act powerful.)
How to Access Your Power
Since your dirty kitchen, your kids, and your job aren’t going away anytime soon, it’s critical that you summon your power to handle the stress they cause. Power that’s just sitting there, filing its nails and waiting for you to ask it for help.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
The only way to access your power — is to choose to feel powerful.
So how do you feel powerful when your house looks like a bomb went off, your kids are fighting, you have a thousand emails in your inbox — and you have to stop every five minutes to pull your jeans back over your muffin top?
Here’s a list of 14 things you can do to decrease stress and own your power:
- Slow down. Stop rushing around. Walk, speak, and act with intention. Try taking five seconds in between every task to center yourself.
- Stop talking. It brings tears to my eyes how many times that horrible inner dialogue has been unleashed on my kids. (My youngest asked me just the other day if she got on my nerves.) Think before you speak. You don’t need to add guilt to your stress.
- Stop reacting. Slamming doors, kicking walls, throwing stuff across the room. Yep, been there, done that. When you feel that coming on, be still for a second.
- Leave the room. If that doesn’t work, remove yourself from the environment. When you feel like a pot of scalding water that’s about to boil over, walk out of the room to collect yourself.
- Put the food away. Keep foods that you tend to stress eat out of sight. Freaking out about everything and then walking by a plate of cookies on the counter is a recipe for disaster.
- Get control of your environment. Do what you can to keep your kitchen running like a well-oiled machine. Prevent having the stress of not cooking enough or not eating healthy. (I have a free guide to setting your kitchen up for weight-loss success if you want help.)
- Stop sucking it in. Resisting the weight keeps it there. Contorting your body physically keeps you from your power, which can only manifest when you expand your chest and breathe freely. Let it all hang out. No one’s judging you. You will be amazed at how liberating it is.
- Dress up. Get out of your sweatpants and put on something cute. Put on some makeup. Feeling like your best self gives you confidence.
- Stop obsessing about the past and worrying about the future. Thoughts about the past make you feel shame and guilt, and thoughts about the future make you feel fearful and powerless. Focus on right here, right now. Be present.
- Sleep more. Poor-quality sleep is strongly associated with belly fat. Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Even if it means dropping your kids off at school and taking a nap. It’s that important.
- Get up earlier. Assuming you’re getting quality sleep, set your alarm 30 minutes early. Have coffee in peace. Read something inspiring. Get your plan together for the day. Figure out how you’re going to be proactive — instead of spending the day being reactive.
- Do something for yourself. Even if it’s something small. Light a candle, give yourself a five-minute facial. Call a friend. Focus on yourself for a few minutes a day — instead of killing yourself for everyone around you.
- Find something to laugh about. We take everything so seriously. Make fun of yourself! Laughter obliterates anger and that tight feeling in your gut.
- Focus on what you did right. There’s no doubt that you’ve used your power at some point in your life to do great things. Whether it’s overcoming adversity or achieving something worthwhile, take a minute to remember it. And be proud of yourself.
You Were Born to Be Powerful
Think about how you act when you feel powerful. You move differently, you think differently, you speak differently. You build yourself up mentally. You don’t bash yourself mercilessly, silently telling yourself how overwhelmed you are and what a failure you are for not being able to handle it.
Owning and expressing your power keeps you in control, which helps you deal with stress more effectively, which prevents anger and resentment from building — and letting that unexpressed rage turn into a bulge around your middle.
Remember why you’re here. You weren’t born to be a to-do list master or to have the cleanest house in America. You weren’t put here to constantly take care of other people and never yourself.
You are here to daily become the best version of yourself, to experience your greatness as much as possible, and to express your full potential into the world.
Do whatever it takes every single day to feel powerful. Because that’s what — and who — you really are.
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