Our coaching question of the week comes from a member of the Metabolic Renewal Facebook group, who we will call Caroline for the purposes of this post! If you’ve been trying to get started with the Metabolic Renewal program, but also feel like this may add more stress to your life rather than help with reducing stress, please be sure to keep reading! 

Always remember that we view metabolism as one big “stress barometer”. After reading our question of the week, we will discuss the “stress barometer” in more detail, but before we get to that consider the following related to this concept. Sometimes stress reduction involves making space, or eliminating things on your “must-do” list, to create clarity and to enhance dedicated focus on things that help you perform at your highest level. High-level performance, even done through the process of creating space, often leads to greater success!

“Hi everyone! I’ve been reviewing the recommendations and programming materials for Metabolic Renewal and I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed. How do you all find the time to fit in all of the weekly workouts, daily walking, and meal prep, particularly while working a full-time job? I understand managing stress is a key component to success here, but  I’m actually finding myself more stressed about it all rather than feeling more in control of my stress. Any suggestions for how to be successful with all of this given my heightened stress level now?”

Hi Caroline, and thanks so much for your question! If you are looking for ways to help with stress reduction related to the process of starting off strong with the Metabolic Renewal program, you’ve come to the right place! It sounds like you are well aware of the recommended action steps that are involved as part of the  Metabolic Renewal programming guidelines, but it seems like you want to “eat the whole elephant” rather than focus on small bites.

“There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu said:  “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time,” meaning that almost everything in life seems daunting, overwhelming, or even impossible when your goal is to try to tackle everything at once. What I notice from your question, Caroline, is the underlying feeling that you’ll only be successful with Metabolic Renewal if you check all the boxes and do all the things!

It’s rather common to think of all of the things we want to add to our lives when working on wellness goals (i.e., more movement, daily walks, time to devote to meal prep, structured workouts, etc.); however, it isn’t nearly as common to approach goal setting from a “what do I need to let go of” perspective. The reality is we can’t create more time in our day to spend on health and wellness goals, but we can create more space. In doing so, you free up time for truly working on things that lead to goal achievement or SHMEC improvements. 

When thinking about stress management, or creating space in an effort to keep stress low, you may recognize that our recommended action steps as part of the Metabolic Renewal program need to be revised. It may be helpful to think about creating more space by removing distractions or eliminating anything that can be viewed as a “time suck” in your current routine. So many of us can identify minutes wasted each day on things like social media consumption, endless phone scrolling, or time spent in procrastination rather than action. 

If you are stressed out because you know that you can’t possibly follow the Metabolic Renewal program as prescribed (partly due to true time constraints), your metabolism tunes into this feeling. According to Dr. Jade, your body’s internal dialogue when sensing a rise in stress,  will go something like this: “I am stressed. I must be starving and I better increase hunger and/or conserve more energy.” Once you recognize how the stress response impacts your body and your SHMEC, you’ll understand why so many diet and exercise approaches fail in the long run.

Your metabolism’s job is to keep you in balance. The Metabolic Renewal program is most effective when your metabolism is humming along, and you’ll know that this is happening by having repeated good-quality sleep. You’ll wake up feeling well-rested, which will lead to more stable or predictable hunger, mood, and energy levels. Your cravings will be manageable and your mood will mostly be high.  

So, Caroline, you probably want to know what our recommended solution is. Eliminate the things in your life that aren’t necessary, are part of a procrastination tactic,  or can be delegated to others. Go through your day and identify periods of time that can be used for stress reduction, or easy actions that are in alignment with our programming recommendations. 

Challenge yourself to avoid overthinking the process of getting started and focus on making one or two small, realistic changes over time. This blog on small steps will actually walk you through the process of building new habits and routines as part of the Metabolic Renewal program. 

And don’t forget about mindset shifts that may be required for success. If you catch yourself in the “all or nothing” mindset trap when starting small, challenge yourself to think in shades of gray. Identify one or two things you can practice consistently, even if those one or two things may only be a small part of the Metabolic Renewal program.

Simplicity when starting a new program, or setting goals, really has no downside. Creating space can be rather simple to do in comparison to adding more and more into your day. It may not sound exciting or possible to see results when practicing habits in this way, but that is flawed thinking. Starting small, keeping stress low, and building in daily activities that feel effortless rather than overly challenging will actually make your metabolism happy. A happy metabolism equals a balanced body, and in the long run, a balanced body leads to real, sustainable results! 

Photo by NASA on Unsplash