Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stress and Food...How Does it Affect YOU?

The fact of the matter is that it happens to all of us. It doesn't seem to matter how happy we are with our life, what routines we have created, how much we like our job or the people we choose to associate with. STRESS happens! Some stress can come in the form of little daily things. Things that add up or don't seem to be going right day after day causing stressors to go off in your brain. Other forms of stress can sometimes come when tragedy or life-changing events seem to fall into your once perfect path, causing the strong ground you thought you were standing on to feel as though it were shifting sand and as though the ground beneath your feet that had been feeling secure was now moving.

Stress and food are not a good combination. Why? Well, it doesn't take much for anyone to figure out that when you or maybe even somebody you love is under stress, food will cause you to do one of two things. Eat WAY too much and basically eat anything that sounds good or that you can get your hands on. In fact during these times you may even make a special secret trip to your favorite fast food restaurant looking for one of your favorite pleasures to smooth things over and make you feel better about your situation. If you are not a stress-eater than you are a non- eater when stress comes your way. Your stomach is often in knots or you just don't have an appetite. Most of your day is spent thinking about whatever stressful events are happening in your life so that you're not one bit hungry, and you forget to eat. One might think this option is not so bad if in fact you were already trying to lose some weight. Wrong. The worst thing you can do is let your body go into starvation mode by not feeding it enough. It will cause worse damage then a person headed to the fast food reasturant. It will shut down your metabolism, store anything you give it as fat, and cause your body, that is supposed to be operating as efficiently as a machine, to be very sluggish and non-responsive.

There really is no middle ground here. Often times you are either one or the other. The key is developing and coming up with some strategies to get you through these types of situations. We never know when these times will come and go, but if we can make a plan of action way ahead of time, it could save even more stress when we're then dealing with the poor eating or non-eating choices we have made. I know it's easier said than done and I'm the first to admit, I'm terrible at this. Like, horrible! I get stressed and my water intake stops. I'm terrible about remembering to eat when I'm supposed to, and then when I do, nothing really tastes very good. My body runs SO like clockwork that when my routine is suddenly thrown a curve ball, it often takes me several days and a swift kick to get me back in place. (Not recommended.)

I can honestly say, this last week was a struggle for me in this way. My Mother-in-Law is terminally ill, and all the emotions, stress, and just trying to carry on as a mom and wife were weighing heavy on me.  Yep, I forgot to eat. I forgot to drink. I only got to the gym twice. Knowing that I am up against a lot of the same emotions in the coming weeks, I've made a game plan. I will eat even if it means setting my alarm on my phone so I remember. I will drink my water because I will remember to fill it first thing in the morning. I will get to the gym as long as my family does not need me and situations allow, as sometimes during stressful times we have to learn to be flexible. All I know is that I don't want to create more stress for myself in the end by not doing what my body needs from me in the now. 

What's your game plan? How are you going to avoid the stress trap? 

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! I think I just have experienced the two most stressful years of my life, plus an injury and I'm really, really noticing the effects of it now (not good either). This is a good post to get me thinking. I hope you have a better week and that you'll be a blessing to your mother in law and husband too.

  2. thoughts and prayers coming your way, take care of yourself.

  3. Thinking of your family during this difficult time.

  4. Prayers for you and your family:) thanks for sharing stress stresses me out. Ha!

  5. Paige we will be praying for you and Steve and his family. Thanks for the reminder on your post - it's a great one.

  6. Paige I have never commented on your posts but have been a reader for a long time now. I truly believe God uses you to speak truth just when I need to hear it. My mother is in the end stages right now of her life and it is incredibly hard watching her suffer and trying to help my dad take care of her, take care of him and also continue to be a wife, a mother and a grandmother. One of my little grandsons has a lot of special needs so life keeps us hopping with his ups and downs too. Pretty much life is very tough right now and I keep struggling to follow the Weight Watcher's plan. Forget exercise. While I know in my head it would be a great stress reliever for me, I just feel sort of numb to anything that takes any thought or planning other than my care giving to everyone. Great post at just the right time. I will try to "make a plan". I'm so very sorry for what you are going through also. I certainly empathize. Thank you for always sharing what is on your heart. God is using you.