Have you ever been doing good on your healthy eating only to have a stressful situation crop up and you find yourself with your nose buried in the feedbag?
Yep, me too.
In fact just yesterday after an exceptionally stressful day I found ice cream in the freezer. It’s not every day we have some and this just happened to be my favorite flavor. Imagine that.
I was saving it for the weekend for my free day that I allow myself to indulge in anything I want. I don’t binge eat on that day, I just allow myself a special treat and I refuse to feel guilty about it.
Well, I didn’t make it to that day and I ate enough for about 3 days worth of indulging. Aren’t I efficient?
I didn’t even bother to get a bowl. Why dirty a dish when I can just eat it straight from the carton. And I did. Ugh!!
You’ve done that, too? Whew! It sure is nice to know I’m not the only one!
It seems like whenever we get rolling, something always manages to happen to us that cause us to slip back into our old habits.
We try so hard to take those three steps forward only to end up slipping on the banana peel and slide two steps back. OK, so it wasn’t a banana peel, it was an ice cream slick.
So what’s a stressed out girl (or guy) to do?
We can’t escape stress and we can’t escape our feelings, but we can control how we react to both.
If you often turn to food like me, when those times hit and they will, believe me, then we need a battle plan.
We need to write the alternatives down (our battle plan) and hang them everywhere we look – the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, the TV, our car sun visor, even tape the battle plan right to the top of the carton of ice cream!
Writing things down that you can turn to instead of food when you need comforting or a boost in confidence will be your lifeline when life throws at your head cupcakes with stones inside of them.
What are the alternatives to ice cream, cookies and potato chips you ask?
Let’s look at some of these alternatives and please add your own. We may be the same when it comes to our reactions, but everyone is different when it comes to solutions.
So here are just a few lifelines to grab on to when you find yourself drowning in that carton of ice cream:
- · Have a buddy to call. When you decide to make the commitment to lose weight and get healthier, many studies show making yourself accountable to someone you respect is extremely beneficial in reaching your goal. Find a friend who has the same goals as you do, lock arms and vow to stick together through thick and thin. (pun intended)
We feel the guilt if we have a check in and there is no progress to report to them. A good friend will also talk you off the cookie binge cliff that we all find ourselves on from time to time.
And don’t worry about abusing your friend, I’m sure she will be calling you next week stressed out, in tears and she can’t seem to get the oreo cookie wrapper open. Then it will be your turn to talk her down off of that binge eating ledge.
- Write down what you eat. Gasp! You ask, “Do I really need to?” Yes, you do! Study after study has shown those who keep a food log lose more weight than those who don’t.
It’s not hard, just write down what you ate and for what meal – breakfast, snack, etc. Write the times down to see if you notice a pattern. And no cheating! Write everything you eat down. You will be surprised at how much you are shoving in each day.
- Have an exercise you LIKE to do. I promote doing structured exercises – cardio, weightlifting, etc on a regular basis for health and weight loss. But when you are stressed, this NOT the time to do something you have to push yourself to do.
I am not a big fan of structured exercise. Yes, I do structured workouts, but sometimes it is a struggle to get motivated to do them. I sometimes have to dig real deep to do them. I ALWAYS feel great afterwards and I am really happy that I did it, but there are days….
Guess what, everyone feels that way at times. Even the fit Hollywood stars with personal trainers will tell you they need pushing to get to the gym now and then.
So when stress hits you and you feel the sting of the brick wall in your face, don’t turn to an exercise you dread, turn to something you love.
- Go for a walk with the dog, your kids, your neighbor’s kids, your friend, whoever. Grab them and go.
- Take your phone and call someone and talk while you walk.
- Take your favorite tunes, ones that get you pumped and feeling strong.
- Walk outside. Nature has an amazing ability to heal mind and soul. Walk to a creek and sit on a rock and breathe deep. Get lost (on the park trail) for just a little while and really soak in the beauty around you.
- You can also garden. Like to pull weeds? Come to my house, I have plenty to share.
- Go to an animal shelter and play with puppies or kittens. Sit on the floor and have them climb all over you. I dare you not to smile and forget your troubles for a while. You might even take one home with you. Pets have been proven to make people happier and healthier. Have a fat dog? Then you aren’t walking enough.
- Refinish furniture; paint/sketch; make crafts; clean (again come to my house if you need to do more)
Do anything that gets you up off of the pity party floor, out of the refrigerator and into life.
Distract yourself, do something with your hands and drink a lot of water.
Find what inspires you. Find your passion and turn to it for comfort instead of food.
What is your passion? What do you like to do?
Make time to figure this out if you don’t know yet and make it a priority. Then write it down, post it everywhere and turn to it when you feel weak.
So come on, stand up, brush the cookie crumbs off your shirt and hall your heavier than it should be butt back up and back onto the healthy wagon. It’s coming around the bend again and we all have our hands out ready to help pull you back on.
I just ask you to lend me a hand when I fall off the wagon and bounce on the hard ground littered with cupcake crumbs and ice cream scoops.
To your good health,
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