Truthfully as I sat there trying to answer that question I really couldn't come up with an answer for how I handle stress other than that I ... well ... handle it. It's not that my life isn't stressful, oh no no no, it is but the only answer I could come up with is that when I'm feeling completely pushed to my limits stressed I usually just need some alone time where I can recharge and sort things through in my mind.
Ehhh... I was only partially right. This weekend I definitely found out what my true answer to the question of what I do when I'm stressed is: I want to eat carbs.
Seriously, yesterday I hit that level where I was stressed to my max w/ issues with my roomates and this god-forsaken snow and there was a moment around 9:30am where I just felt almost desperate to eat something. It was 9:30! I had just eaten breakfast about 2 hours before and I my snack was at least an hour away and when I truly sat down and asked myself why it was that I felt this urgent need to eat it was because I was freaking stressed out and anxious.I would not (and still don't) classify myself as an emotional eater- I don't go on binges, nor do I even have the desire to- and this was the first time in the past 3 months that I've felt like my mood was trying to take control over and tear down the decision that I have made for myself to no longer eat like crap. No worries, I didn't give in- there is no going back for me in this.
But it got me thinking- it seems like there are 4 things that are usually contributing factors that lead to people giving up on losing weight and becoming healthy; I call them the 4 Pitiful Pitfalls :)
1- Stress from Other Aspects of Life.
2- An "All or Nothing" Attitude.
3- Impatience and disappointment with results.
4- Life Throwing Curve Balls that Force Us to Re-adjust.
I believe that these 4 things are something we are all going to have to come to terms w/ at some point in our journeys or plain and simple- we won't make it. Take a personal inventory and ask yourself if you've fallen prey to any of these pitfalls during your journey. I call them Pitiful Pitfalls because none of these 4 circumstances can actually stop us from losing weight in reality- they are just pitiful things that trip us up and give us the opportunity to demonstrate the determination that we either have or don't have in regards changing our lives.
For the next 3 days I'm going to address the remaining 3 of these Pitiful Pitfalls so that we can go the distance this year and achieve every goal that we have set for ourselves. We know that these things are real and that they really do cause people to fall down and never get back up again- I can think of at least 3 bloggers that started their journey (and blogs) at the same time I did and now are nowhere to be found; it's sad- b/c on around December 29th of 2010 or so they will re-emerge making yet another New Year's resolution to lose weight. And I just can't live like that anymore- I don't want to live like that.
So on the days that you have just hit your limit and you are feeling stressed to the max- don't turn to food; realize that it is nothing but a pitiful pitfall that is knocking you back 100 steps and isn't really helping you de-stress anyways. Instead, find ways that help you to destress that won't completely sabotage you and leave you more stressed in the long run! Think about how you will feel after making that bad food decision and ask yourself if that will really change the stressful situation at all?
Some de-stressing suggestions:
- Take a Nap
- Take a Breather (even if it's just going into the bathroom, closing your eyes, and counting to ten).
- Get outside for some fresh air.
- Work out (I never work out harder than when I am mad- take it out on Mr. T!)
- Gain perspective; a lot of times we get so caught up and focused on these problems that we don't realize just how small and truly insignificant they are. Take a moment to zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
- Talk w/ a friend- sometimes we just need someone to validate our feelings and reasons for being stressed. This is exactly what I did yesterday- I was so stressed and instead of going home and inhaling food like I wanted to do I met a friend for dinner at Panera, ate a 400 cal dinner, shared my frusterations, and left feeling like I could handle the stressful situations.
Don't allow the decisions or craziness or ignorance of someone else to take control over the decisions that you make for yourself- you hold the power to change, don't give it away to someone who doesn't give a rip.
Hope these tips/thoughts help someone- I want this December 31st, 2010 to be not only one of the best days of my life but of yours as well!
Peace and Love!