Raise your hand if you eat excessively when you are stressed? Find out if this is to blame for your weight issue.
I had a conversation this week with one of my clients about their eating habits and she started off the discussion by saying, “Well Betsy, I hate to be confessing to you, but I feel like I must. I am not doing as well as I would like when it comes to losing weight and I’m not sure why. Maybe it is due to the stress I have in my life right now? I’m just not sure.” I responded back to her with, “You know, it definitely could be your stress. Stress has a way of making people eat more than they normally would. They find themselves just mindlessly eating. However, there comes a point to where you can’t exactly be blaming stress anymore.”
First off, I feel the need to clarify that this conversation is with one of my long time clients, whom I just adore. She has the sweetest demeanor and is always be eager to understand and master whatever we happen to be doing at our training sessions each week. But this week, she came to me with more of a statement than an inquiry. I explained to her that stress eating is a very common issue millions of people deal with and most all people handle stress 1 of 2 ways: They either eat excessively or they do not eat at all. Both are very unfortunate and unhealthy, but the more common of the two is the excessive eating.
Whether the cause is family issues, work problems or money struggles – stress eating happens. However, the question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I have the option to pick what I am eating during this stressful time.” If you do (which more times than not is the case) and you choose to excessively stress-snack on foods that are greasy, heavy, fried, fatty or sugary, stress can no longer take lead blame in your weight issue. How? Well you are an adult, right? You have the ability to make a right or wrong decision. For example, let’s say you have just ended a long week of chaotic hours at the office and you decide to eat out at a restaurant. You have the option to order a fried chicken sandwich with onion rings, heavy sauce condiments and a dessert OR a piece of grilled chicken with a side salad and a bowl of mixed fruit. What do you choose?
Here is where the “stress can no longer be blamed” part comes in…
If YOU chose to order the fried sandwich instead of the grilled option, then YOU are making the decision. Get it? YOU are the key to what choices you make; not stress. Stress is not a diagnosed mental disorder. Stress is something that can be controlled by our decisions. The more we continue to make the wrong decisions, the worse our stress is going to become. It’s a cycle. Stress. Eat. Stress. Gain weight. We stress about something, so we eat. We become stressed from eating so we gain weight. The cycle is continuous until we take responsibility for our behaviors. Not to mention, the foods we choose that are bad for our bodies are also bad for our brains. Bad food creates a sad and depressed mind, where as healthy foods promote clear thinking and happiness. By simply making better food choices while we are stressed, we can alleviate a lot of the stress we have and protect ourselves from potential future stress!
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