Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Stress Management and Weight Management – what is in your toolbox?

I have been sitting on this post for about a week. I wrote it in my head and then rewrote it about 60 more times before I finally opened up my computer and started writing. So what you are getting now is a stream of conscious thought that has been overthought. And that’s about where I am with this topic right now.

I had a very stressful series of incidents occur recently in my life. Without going into detail, I will leave it as one of the more stressful moments in recent history. And now, in the aftermath of the initial fallout, I am left reflecting on what I did well and where I need to continue to work on my stress management strategies.

First, a good practice, is that I exercised. A LOT. I worked out every day for at least an hour and on top of that took long hikes several days with friends. This physical activity helped me to relieve a lot of the physical anxiety I was feeling about the events that had unfolded. For an hour, I could just run, bike, row, kick, jump, sing loudly to music and leave my stress at the gym door.

I also tried to ensure I met my minimum intake of vegetables and fruit each day. I didn’t alway make it. But I kept it in the front of my mind and would opt for produce if it was available and in front of me.

But then there was the bad. And if you have been reading my posts for awhile, you can guess where I am going with this. I ate and drank just about everything in front of me after consuming that produce. I didn’t shovel food nonstop, but I did not make conscious choices about what I ate or when I ate it. I ate to comfort myself from the emotional and mental stress that I was facing. I would go out with friends to avoid facing the stress and would drink (in mostly restrained quantities) but this loosened my inhibitions which resulted in even less restraint about food choices. And it was a holiday week which meant those bad choices were everywhere around me.

I didn’t stop to think. I didn’t stop to evaluate how those food choices would impact my weight management. I didn’t consciously, in most cases, even realize I was making decisions about food. And now in hindsight, I can see where I didn’t use my other tools to manage my emotional and mental stress.

I am trying to regroup. I have meal plans and have food prepped. I am preplanning in order to reduce my choices about food. Which will help me continue to work through the current stress factors in my life. But I want to continue to build my stress management toolbox. And I think there are some pretty awesome people reading my ramblings. So I am throwing it out to you.

If you are still reading this post, please take one minute to reply. Share one way you manage stress. Or one way you combat emotional eating. What’s in your Stress Management/Weight Management toolbox?


5 responses

  1. Cruz, Gregory T.

    Great post! My tools are PA, sleep, and more MRs. Love the aspect of reflection in this post. Always a great idea. ________________________________________

    December 12, 2015 at 2:44 am

  2. Marcia Mulcahy

    We will always have to face stress and how it effects our decisions. I know my triggers-they are 1)doing too much for my energy level, 2) trying to accomplish more than is realistic-my mind wants to do but my body may be dragging. When I’m at that stage-as I was today-I want to have a glass of white wine. Well, when I do that-I may have a second glass-then all my plans of what to eat are OUT THE WINDOW!! So I recognize my triggers-tiredness, overachieving, trying to get things done for my family and friends, having Christmas Party at my house this Monday-reading recipes-cooked for my brother-fudge, marshmallows, carrot cinnamon bread, fig-date-nut bread, the list goes on.
    My goal today was to not lick the spoon, or fingers, or anything with the remnants of the candy I love to make. I made it through that-but then the old message-“just put your feet up-have one glass of that “light” wine–I kept saying no to myself. Self talk is what it took and making an allowance that I could have two slices of the carrot cinnamon bread. My PA today was working in the kitchen-taking foods to church-run run run-I failed to put on may watch to see how many calories I burned doing all I ddi today. Anyway-I’m going to have a long soaking bath-add some lavender oils-eat my HMR dinner and watch a movie.
    I am an emotional eater as most people are who admit it.
    Practice! Practice! Practice saying NO to yourself-but reward yourself with foods that will not cause you harm.

    December 12, 2015 at 11:38 pm

  3. Kristen

    Sometimes I find it helpful to say to myself ‘just do this for today’ and it does not seem so overwhelming. I tell myself that if I really want that (fill in the blank food ) that I can have it 3 days from now – usually I have forgotten all about it by then.

    December 15, 2015 at 11:32 pm

  4. Dot (Leoba on Twitter :-) )

    Ugh, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I hope things are improving since you made this post.

    FWIW I think you handled the situation really well. Sticking to exercise is key for me, it is sometimes the only thing keeping me from going down the black spiral of constant binging (which used to happen pretty regularly, and almost never happens now – because now I exercise so much). Another thing that helps me a lot is planning. This can be hard if there’s a sudden whack of awfulness that comes into your life unexpectedly, but just taking a few minutes to plan out the next week, when I know it’s going to be stressful, is a helpful thing for me. I find it calming to have a plan at the start of the day, so I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to go and what I’m going to eat for lunch and snacks. This may involve bringing a lot of food with me! And taking the time to make a plan is calming too, so it’s like a two-fer.

    I know the next week will be stressful for me, made worse because I don’t have work so I don’t have that regimen to cling to! So I need to sit down and write out my plan for ever day… to be honest I’m a bit stressed thinking about it (!!!) but I know that once I do it I’ll feel much better and next week will be better for it, too.

    Also… binges happen. I used to get very stressed about it and call myself names and then I was deep in the black spiral. But the last time that started to happen I decided not to beat myself up about it, to let it happen and reset when I could. It took me a couple of days but I was able to pull myself out (yay!) and I actually felt good about it. Not that it happened, but that I handled it well. I find that if I keep positive, even when I’m not eating the way I’d like to, it helps pull me up and get me back on target.

    December 23, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    • Thank you! Things are going MUCH better now 🙂

      April 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm

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