“Used to be a time when you would pamper me
Usta brag about it all the time
Your friends seem to think that your’e so peachy keen.
But my friends say neglect is on your mind-Who’s Right?”
What Have You Done For ME Lately? – Janet Jackson/Control (1986)

It’s 5 am, and the alarm is blasting the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Why, because you need someone or something to motivate you right out of bed and remind you just how happy you are to be in day 235 of the same busy routine. You are a well-oiled machine, and you’ve got this down to a science. Everything goes excatly as planned. Breakfast is made, lunches packed and the kids are off to school. You head to work early, camp at your desk all day, skip lunch to catch up and stay late to get ahead. You are just getting into your productive work groove and Oh crap, it’s time for after-school activities, which you dare not miss so, BYE FELICIA!

Traffic is horrible, you have a 1/4 tank of gas, but you make it across town in time. You stand on the sideline screaming and cheering like the awesomely insane parent you are and realize, Wait, backup! Why am I dizzy? Oh, I didn’t eat. On the way home, you grab fast food for yourself and the entire family. It’s after 7 and you ‘showl ain’t’ cooking. Ah, home sweet home. Speaking of home, your 5th grader has a ton of homework, and it includes that “NEW” Math and you haven’t got a clue how to help. Frustrating right. Thank God for Google to help you out. Homework is done, and so are you. You’d love to take a bath but get real, who’s got time for that? A power shower will have to do.

Three days later, day 237, you hit a wall. You are feeling stressed and exhausted. What do you do? You get up, because you’re happy, put on a smile and make sure everyone and everything goes as planned. At the end of the day, you have no choice but to go to the emergency room because your blood pressure seems to be high and you are feeling faint. The doctor gives you a once over and asks about your schedule. You give him the rundown of all you do. He says to you, “You told me all you do for your family and your job but “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” You laugh and reply, “Well, I”m about to pay this medical bill, I’d say that’s a start.” He says, “No, what have you done for yourself? ME is YOU?

Personally, as a health professional, I learned to take care of ME a long time ago through proper diet and exercise. I found myself with a constant knot in my throat and soon realized it was from stress and anxiety. I knew I was no good to my family or my business if I was not good to me.

Ok, not everyone will be happy with your change especially if it means they have to ‘fin’ for themselves. They might call you selfish…SO. They may say all you do is think about you…SO. They may try to sabotage your success…SO because in the end, doing what’s best for you IS what’s best for them.

Stress-Related Weight Gain
Stress Happens! Unfortunately, it can lead to fat. I looked to www.prevention.com to help me explain this scientifically.

”Even if you usually eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight—or even add pounds," says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women.

“Here's what happens: Your body responds to all stress in the same way. So every time you have a stressful day, your brain instructs your cells to release potent hormones. You get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven't used very many calories. This can make you hungry...very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.

But do we reach for carrots or apples in these situations? Nooooo! "Instead, we crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension," explains Elissa Epel, Ph.D., a researcher on stress eating at the University of California, San Francisco. This soothing effect becomes addicting, so every time you're anxious, you want fattening foods.

With your adrenal glands pumping out cortisol, production of the muscle-building hormone testosterone slows down. "Over time, this drop causes a decrease in your muscle mass, so you burn fewer calories," explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., author of The Cortisol Connection. "This occurs naturally as you age, but high cortisol levels accelerate the process." Cortisol also encourages your body to store fat—especially visceral fat, which is particularly dangerous because it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into your blood, raising cholesterol and insulin levels and paving the way for heart disease and diabetes.

Obviously, getting rid of all anxiety isn't an option. But by taking these seven steps to beat stress, you can get your cortisol levels and your weight under control—and improve your health. Eat Right, Exercise, Take A Bath, Get a Massage, Meditate, Relax and Read, Have a Glass of Wine, Have a Glass of Wine, Have a glass of Wine. Oh, I said that already? Anywho, put some me time on your schedule and don’t deviate. One hour a day, 7 hours a week. Treat ME Time like an appointment you can not miss.