Blog #701 Avoiding stress eating

How do you handle stress?  (Give me some food!!!!)

This article suggests that many of us (myself included) eat when we are stressed!!!  Six years ago I moved to Texas (to be with grandchildren) and I taught at the University of Texas.  Moving from the ‘gentle’ classes of Quinnipiac and Dakota State to auditorium classes of 75 to 80 students – and a full schedule (three back-to-back, then lunch (sanity) break then one last class was stressful.  I found that I wanted ‘energy bars’ – and I found I liked the energy bars with the extra chocolate – and I found if one was good, then two (or three) were better!!!

Then I kinda got dependent on the energy bars.  I believed they were helping with the large classes, with three classes in a row.  

By the end of the semester I was up to 250 pounds.  I had a check-up with my physician who said “You are prediabetic!!”  (Those were not words I wanted to hear!!!)

I put myself on a diet and by the end of spring semester slimmed down to 205.  (I had a goal of 200 and I got to 201 a few times but just didn’t quite get to 200!!!)

Let’s look at the article:

-1 Know your stressors.

What causes you to stress out?  What are the situations and what triggers stress eating?  Is it your job? Your fellow employees? Customers? Students?  One particular person?

Maybe you can change your job.  Let’s say you are in customer service and you get irate customers demanding refunds.  In many areas, grocery and other stores are implementing “buy-on-line-pickup-in-store’ options.  You could be an order filler and not have to deal with angry customers. Fellow employees? Maybe you can have a talk with those that are making you stress eat.  (Go back and read about ‘Haters’ last week – rise above the situations, love them and make them friends not enemies)

-2 Exercise regularly

Studies have demonstrated that exercise can bring hormones to your brain to help you with stress.  Maybe at lunch you can take a walk around the block and get some fresh air and sunshine. Put a sign up on your door or locker so people who want you know where you are.

-3 Practice Mindfulness

Develop an attitude of peace.  Notice the little things around you and become ‘one’ with them.  Maybe one of the best examples I know is Brother Lawrence – a monk from the 17th century – who could take all the mundane activities of his life and make them a reflection of God.  

If your stress eating comes from people, make an effort to see the good in that person – see that person as a ‘child of God’.

-4  Reach out for help

If stress is really getting to you, see a counselor, talk out your feelings and get support from others. [Note:  don’t ‘go it alone’ – there are many free programs even like Stephen Ministry where you can talk it out with a trained friend.  [And, generally don’t go to the bar for support – while you might find supportive friends there, the alcohol can weaken your stress toteration.

-5 Work on intuitive eating

Another form of mindfulness is intuitive eating.  Eat slowly and reflect on how the food was cooked, what spices may have been used, where the food came from.  I had lunch today with a senior group and had a baked potato – where did that potato come from? What type of potato was it?  How long does it stay in the oven? How do they make sour cream? How else can one prepare potatoes? AND … take your time eating – savor each bite – fully swallow each bite before starting the next.  [Aside – I love peanut butter – but I am already getting the next bite ready before I swallow the first. I need to let the taste linger in my mouth, enjoy it longer (and maybe I will take longer before I buy the next jar of peanut butter.]

Don’t madly eat junk food before you are stressed.  I know a friend who can eat a whole carton of ice cream in one sitting if they are stressed.  If you need to snack, plan it out better – empty carbohydrates and fat aren’t going to get you far.

See you tomorrow!!!


Posted by Bruce White

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