Skinny Daily Post


Cut off in traffic? Almost drop that hand-blown glass heirloom? Forgot about the exam? Canít figure out how to cover that check to the IRS?

Yeah, you know what stress feels like. Itís that quickening of the pulse, the instantaneous sweat, the jumps, the jitters, the sleeplessness of adult strains and stresses.

And it makes you fat. Seriously. Freaking out makes you fat. It turns out you gotta stay cool to stay cut, especially around your middle. Freaking out releases stress hormones that encourage your body to pack on pounds for fighting and flying. And those stress pounds pack on primarily around your middle.

No wonder itís people whose kids can drive and parents canít who are softest between the shoulders and the knees. Stress gets you if youíre smart, involved, busy, concerned, emotionally mobile, in love, out of love, and especially if youíre a parent. When people depend on you. When youíre undependable. When things go very, very well, and when they go badly. Good stress and bad stress and even medium stress. It all shows up in the center of you. On the other hand, if youíre really dumb and unaware, you probably donít have to worry too much.

So, if stress fat is your foe, and you know who you are, hereís one little trick: Breathe.

No kidding. Seriously. Breathe. Donít just count to 10 before blowing a gasket. Really learn some breathing exercises, and take some time every day or so to do them.

Who can teach you to breathe? There are good books on the subject, good tapes. DVDs, and nearby yoga instructors. I like the latter way the best, learning restorative breathing with the help of an instructor who can guide you into a good technique while you are in a relaxed state. Breathing audio tapes are my next favorite. The crush-worthy Andrew Weil offers a CD for that purpose. He has a yummy voice. If his cuteness isnít too distracting, it could work for you. Remember panting and regenerative breathing are not the same thing.

Why focus on it. The shallow breathing that accompanies stressful times can help sustain the stress, cutting back on your oxygen and your energy. Restorative breathing not only restores your oxygen supplies, but helps to massage your organs, increasing healthy circulation throughout your system. And of course, regenerative breathing is relaxing. Even if you return to your stressful world, taking a few minutes out of your busy day to reach a rested state always helps.

So try breathing. You might get hooked. I will if you will.

Try breathing differently now

Pranayama, Yogic breathing,

Doc Weil on breathing

4 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. Trish says:

    Got to love spam! Uggh.

    Hey! I could have used this post a lot sooner than the 30th of April (Cda’s tax filing deadline), instead I used food LMAO. Yes I know, not a good thing, but it got me through tax season! Now – the key, the next week or two or three to undo the damage I did to myself in the last 1.5 weeks!

  2. JuJu says:

    Hi Trish. Thanks for alerting me to spam boy. (deleted the spam message folks, if you’re wondering what Trish refers to) For some reason I wasn’t notified about this one. Clever little bot, me-guess.

    Good luck recovering from tax day. I’m still picking myself up from the holidays. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn 4 lbs. I’m hoping gardening will help. Maybe if I spent less time on the Web? Hmm?

    Nahhh. That can’t be it.


  3. Rachel (in Galway) says:

    Do you have any other good resources on the weight-stress connection? I was looking over my body log last night (prompted by a recent comment you made) and I noticed that my weight loss had reversed in the last three months. Food and exercise weren’t too different (I was training for the mini-marathon), but I was dealing with some very unpleasant office politics. I really think this migth be the key for me and would welcome any help you had.


    PS: I suppose I could start by trying to remember to stop and breathe!

  4. JuJu says:

    Hey Rachel,

    Read “Fight Fat After Forty,” Pamela Peeke’s book on the subject, or visit her website, She does a lot of work on the stress-fat connection, which affects all of us, not just women over 40.


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