Menu Monday

Stressed – OUT… and dealing with it 

Staying focused is sometimes a very difficult thing to do. Most of us know what our triggers are. Triggers are situations and circumstances that put us at our weakest point in terms of staying on track. I have to admit my greatest trigger is stress… any and all stress: job stress, financial stress, teen stress, other family stress, and friend stress. It all adds up to a big mess of stress.

The past couple of weeks have been STRESSFUL!!!! STRESS is out of control! In fact, life is out of control! The more stressed I get, the more I eat, and lately I’ve started to feel out-of-control when it comes to my emotions and the food that I consume. To be honest, it hasn’t been pretty.

Yesterday was particularly hard. I was involved with helping a friend get the help she needed… we just had to convince her. It was so HARD. By the end of the day I dove into stress eating big time! Fish sticks. I think I ate 20. Really, I wasn’t keeping track. Until then I had kept things under control and had only had oatmeal and fruit for breakfast… a salad for lunch… and a little trail mix as a snack. Thankfully my calorie count was lower by the time I went crazy with the fish sticks. At least I got in a walk too.

Today I started the day as a fresh start… and it’s been great. I’ve controlled myself… I still need to get to the end of the day… LOL. Today I had an omelet from one of my chicken’s eggs, spinach from the garden and a little feta. Yummy. I had Thai Lemon Chile Soup and some turkey for lunch. For a snack I ate a hand full of almonds. I made potato salad and BBQ chicken for dinner. After dinner I plan on having a few chocolate chips as a snack.

Normally, I would have gone nuts snarfing every morsel in sight with the kind of stress I’m experiencing.

Stress is like dark chocolate. A little of it won’t kill you. This week has helped me to see that a little stress can help me be stronger. (Although, I would gladly take a break if God offered it!)

I’ve heard people say…”I’m an emotional eater”…aren’t most of us? For a while there I was an emotional eater in DE-NILE (that is in Egypt). Truth is, I’m not just an emotional eater I’m also a celebratory eater and a spur of the moment craving eater. I’m a “ah, the heck with it, give me a large bowl of death by chocolate ice cream with a chaser of hot chocolate” eater. I’m a “there’s nothing else to do” eater. I’m a “I’m just testing” eater.

Identifying my triggers is important. What makes me feel the urge to eat a couple thousand calories in extra helpings and chocolate chip cookies? What makes me eat an entire bag of chips? Stress. For the longest time stress has been a convenient excuse not to get busy with this journey toward better health.

“I’m just too stressed out to get started right now.”

Yesterday I asked myself: If I’m waiting to have a stress free life before I start losing this weight, will I ever start? The answer was no. Everybody has stress, just like everybody breathes air. Stress is part of daily life. Stress can be so many different things. I realized that if I were waiting for my world to be completely perfect and stress free, then I would never, ever, ever finish this journey. I have to adjust my strategy in the face of my triggers. Time to ask myself, will eating this really improve my situation? What can I do besides over-eat that will help me deal with this issue? I’ve turned to food for comfort for so long, that I know how incredibly difficult this can be. Just take one day at a time. One day at a time I deal with cravings; one day at a time I deal with triggers; one day at a time I succeed. Maybe… eventually all of those “one day at a time”s will add up to an amazing result.

I know that everyday will not be perfect. I know that I need to face everything that life throws my way and still maintaining my focus. It’s crucial because I’m not doing this just to lose the weight. I’m doing this to change the way I handle food and exercise everyday for the rest of my life. I’m doing this to be a healthier me. I’m doing this for my kids and for my future grandkids. I’m doing this to teach myself and my family along the way how to eat…how to exercise…how to be healthier. I’m changing old habits into new positive habits. Constructive habits will be what get me through many days and week like the last few days and weeks. I know how I normally handle things. I’ve always turned to food. Not today. Not tomorrow.

Here is the stress-management plan:

• Step away from the refrigerator: Go for a walk, clean a room in my house, and paint my nails (Hey! I can start a new habit). Do something besides going into the kitchen.

• Take a deep breath: Close my eyes, take a deep breath, and meditate for a minute or two. The slow breathing will help relax me… or so my yoga tapes say.

• Drink some water: Sometimes I mistake thirst for hunger, so chugging down some H20 sometimes does the trick. I’ve been drink tons in the last two days and it helps!

• Chomp on veggies: If I want “mouth satisfaction,” eat veggie crudites. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anyone gain too much weight from eating too many vegetables!

• Be more conscious: Pay attention to what I am doing and it will help me put on the brakes when I feel stressed and out-of-control with what I am putting into my mouth.

So that’s it. I’m surviving. I hope I can hang on to my momentum despite the never ending stress in my life.

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