You know these “busy mom” headlines in the press?
They’re all over the place and they seem to define our identity (mom, woman = busy) and make us feel guilty whenever we’re sitting down 10 minutes to just rest and do nothing.
But here’s what happens in the body when we’re hustling and rushing 24/7.
Let’s imagine the following story:
You get up in the morning, skip breakfast (no time), drink 2 mugs of coffee “for energy” (or eat some processed breakfast cereal), and rush out the door.
At this point, here’s what happens:
- your blood pressure increases (the coffee),
- your blood sugar skyrockets (the coffee and/or the cereal).
- insulin is released, and will do a good job of storing excess glucose as body fat.
After a few hours, you feel you can’t concentrate on your work anymore, your blood sugar has plummeted, and I bet it’s 10.30am (hello, mid-morning hunger pang!).
It’s time for a break; coffee (again), maybe a muffin? You have a big day ahead with lots of work and you need energy.
Back to work now. By 12:30pm your blood sugar has plummeted again and you need to eat your lunch. You haven’t gotten much done so far, you feel stressed and pressured, and you can’t be lingering here after 5pm because you need to pick up the kids and fix dinner.
So lunch needs to be quick. A sandwich, a bagel, a quick salad. Eaten at your desk in 10 minutes. And now you want something sweet…chocolate? A cookie?
By now you may be feeling like you’ve been eating and sitting at your desk all day long. Your stomach is bloated, you feel fat and you feel guilty. You won’t be able to go to the gym today because there’s this project that needs your attention.
And by 3pm, your blood sugar has plummeted again and you feel like taking a nap. Your body is asking you for sugar. You eat some bread or high-carb food and here we go… you feel guilty, again.
Guilt makes you feel stressed, and your body makes the hormone cortisol when it feels stressed.
Cortisol is your long-term stress hormone, unlike adrenalin, which is our short-term stress hormone. Cortisol also makes your body store fat through dysregulating your metabolism.
Note: that’s why coffee + bread/sugar/cereal is the perfect cocktail for gaining weight (more on adrenalin and coffee here).
And your day goes on.
So the Busy Woman Syndrome is about this.
It will make the body produce too much adrenalin, cortisol and insulin, and it will lead to a fat-storage situation, as well as many other health issues over time.
Once it all becomes a vicious circle, it can be hard to get back to “thin and healthy”.
In spite of what you may have read, you can’t “control your hormones”; most of the time, your hormones control you.
What you can control are your food, your sleep, your physical activity, and your stress/worry level (at least to some extent).
Slowing down, getting enough sleep, making time to cook and to move. This is what you can control.
Once you do, your hormones will balance themselves without you having to do anything else.
Newspaper headlines are lying. We do not HAVE to all be busy moms (or busy women).
Let’s just be moms/women, with a right to slow down, to not be perfect, and to take care of our health and our diet.
This is #3 of these nutrition and weight loss series. Here are the other articles:
#1 – When Coffee Makes You Gain Weight (or Have High Blood Pressure)
#2 – Your scale is lying to you