Don’t Stress Over Your Diet: When You Are Stressed!

Ahhh stress! It’s the not so silent culprit that leads to unthinkable damage to the body when left unchecked. However, what is often ignored is the damage it does to our diets! A diet is not what society has deemed it as (negative). A diet is simply defined, by www.Dictionary.com, as “the foods eaten by a particular person or group.” So when you are stressing out, how stressful is that?  Some of us overeat, gorge on junk, or some of us don’t eat at all!

Here’ my opinion: at this stage of my life, I am more interested in my health than my weight or jean size.  The world we live in would have us believe that being in a perfect size 4, 6, or whatever the flavor of the day is, will bring us peace and harmony in our daily life. I totally disagree.

If we are constantly worrying about perfect proportions, we add to the daily stress of just living.  So how do we combat this emotional roller coaster ride of being stressed out and then stressing out over our diets when we do get stressed?

Our food choices should be about promoting a healthy body all the time.  I know that it is difficult to think about having a salad when your significant other just dumped you or that promotion you wanted was handed to someone with half your experience and none of your swag but at that point, have the stinking donut! What I am talking about is taking the pressure off of yourself and LIVE!

I have a simple philosophy on food and indulgence since having bariatric surgery 13 years ago: practice the 80/20 rule.  Because of the restrictions that I have for eating, every bite I put in my mouth needs to be delicious and worth the space in my stomach.  What does this have to do with stress eating (or not eating)? If I spend my life eating right most days, when I have a moment that I am sucked into my own vortex of emotional need, if I eat a bag of Doritos and a half pint of caramel sundae ice cream, I don’t stress because I allow myself to be “naughty” sometimes then I get right back on my healthy eating routine.

The beauty of this scenario of fall out containment means that I can have a “therapy” session with my BFF and keep my body working for me and not against me.  I will bore you with the science behind this next time.  Until then, stop stressing and live! Stay in peace and not in pieces!

Sheila Seale, MSA HCA can be reached @ kayseaskorner@gmail.com

Taming Your Stress

 

Stress is a silent killer yet we find that it exists in our everyday lives. It’s unavoidable. Let’s face it we worry over a variety of issues. It has been reported through many sources that some stress is healthy, normal, and without it life would be unadventurous. There are different types of stress most common are 1) routine, 2) sudden change of any type, and   3) trauma, all of which causes the body to respond differently.

We anguish over the obvious occurrences that make most people anxious, i.e., financials, relationships, work, children, friends and family. Matters that occur in our lives that cause us to fear, which can turn to anger, are often associated with stress. As we already know, it can have long term effects if it’s allowed to burst forward without proper attention.

Over time if the body does not cope and return back to normalcy from routine stress (work, family, daily responsibilities) it can lead to serious health problems, e.g., heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, anxiety disorder, and other illnesses.

Ironically, stress doesn’t just attach itself to displeasing circumstances; it lends itself to positive episodes and events in our lives as well. Change is all around us and thus any change in a routine, favorable or atrocious, needs proper management. Some of the most festive and joyous occasions in the world can cause insurmountable amounts of stress, e.g., weddings, childbirth, moving, a promotion, reunions, vacations.

Notwithstanding the reason behind your stress, knowing your personal boundaries is essential when establishing ways to mitigate the effects that lead to declining health.

stress-managementCreate an Action Plan:

Of course you can always see a mental health professional to assist with treating your stress symptoms but the most common ways that most people deal with stress include self-help methods, self-management, and medication.

As you begin to think about what causes you to stress, consider the following suggestions to aid in creating a plan to regulate it.

  1. Many find exercise as a great way to relieve stress, so exercising at home, if you have the discipline to work out on your own or joining a local gym is a great way to get started. Exercising can be as simple as walking up and down a stairwell or taking a neighborhood walk. Just get started doing something.
  2. Water works wonders so soak in a soothing bath, a long shower and sing if you want, or choose an alternative water activity that can help with relaxation.
  3. Sharing duties and responsibilities at home and at work can help alleviate stress or significantly reduce it. Ask for assistance or delegate responsibilities to others. Do not be afraid to teach someone else what you know out of fear, this will create more time for you to work on other things or take a vacation if needed.
  4. Stop being a yes person; this can be a major stress inducer. This issue is prevalent for many people. One must learn not to inundate life with too much of others’ agendas. Not being able to say no can lead to an early unwanted retirement, if you get my drift.
  5. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol possible or eliminate altogether if necessary. Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs are not a solution to stress but many people resort to this to self-medicate their problems. There are a litany of ways to help reduce stress and one is to be open minded. If you cannot stop this habit then cut down gradually until you can.
  6. Revamp your diet to one that is healthy, nutritional and rich in protein and fiber.
  7. Controlled breathing techniques, meditation, massage, or yoga has been known to greatly help revert to normalcy from high stress situations.
  8. Regardless to the amount available, set time aside for yourself with no interruptions in which you are the only one that matters. This must be a priority. Find something to do that you like that relaxes you and do it as often as your lifestyle will allow. Use this time wisely. Dance a little, read some, listen to music, take walks, shop a lot (kidding).
  9. Talk to those close to you whom you trust and share what is on your mind;
  10. If self-management does not work then seek a mental health professional because high levels of stress without relief over prolonged periods can create mental and physical illnesses.

 

Lastly, I have seen many cases in which untreated stress has caused others’ relationships, friendships, etc. to wither, because often the behavior that stress can breed victimizes innocent bystanders. Leaning too much on friends, taking them away from their responsibilities, can also invoke problems for their relationships and others not within the scope of your worries. Be careful going to lay counselors who are not formally trained, if your own action plan does not yield the results that you desire, reach out to a trained professional for proper guidance. Acknowledging when one is overwhelmed and needs a life break are the most important steps to finding reasons and techniques to ending prolonged stress.