The biggest reason I gained the weight I gained was because I used food to help me deal with stress. I used food to deal with my emotions. When I was sad or depressed I ate, when I was happy, I ate. I was always so proud that I never had any sort of addiction, I didn’t smoke, didn’t do drugs, didn’t even drink but what I didn’t realize is I really did have an addiction. Food was my addiction!
The difference between a drug/alcohol addiction and food addiction is this. With drugs/alcohol, when you decide you want to change, you stop what you’re doing and try to get rid of the temptations. Maybe you get rid of the enablers, the people you partied with, you remove the alcohol, cigarettes or drugs from your home. Out of sight out of mind right?
You can’t do that with food, it’s the one addiction you can’t get away from. You have to eat! So not only do you have to make the lifestyle changes but you have to learn how to deal with the temptations, the emotions. It’s there, in front of you… all the time! People eat, you can’t help but be near it! It’s not like you’re going to hide in your home and never go out and buy groceries again!
You have to step back and take a look at yourself. Figure out why you eat the foods you eat, what triggers your temptations and you have to come up with new ways to deal with those situations, those triggers.
This isn’t as easy as just changing when or what you eat or exercising more. This is so much more than that! You almost have to re-think everything you do. Figure out what you’re doing wrong and why you’re doing it, like being your own psychiatrist in a way.
I ate to deal with pain, deal with emotions, sadness, anger.. any emotion I had, I would eat and it made me feel better while I was eating, but when I finished eating, I felt so much worse! This just wasn’t working for me.
Everyone eats the foods they eat for a reason. What is that reason for you? You can’t just STOP eating or you’ll end up dying! So you need to figure these things out, change the way you think about food, change the way you think about exercise and your health!
Stress plays a huge role in our lives and I admit I never realized how much it did until I started making changes. I now realize I felt so awful because I was so stressed out, the stress I had made me emotional, which made me eat!
I didn’t know how to deal with stress! Nobody ever told me, if you’re stressed you should do this. I honestly didn’t even know what being stressed felt like. I didn’t think I was stressed out but I was. I now know what stress feels like. I could feel it everywhere in my body. I had digestive problems, I had muscle aches and pains, I carried my stress in my neck, back, I’d get headaches. I’d use quick fixes, Tylenol, prescriptions from my doctor, I’d go to the chiropractor and it helped but the pains never really went away. I wasn’t finding the root to my aches and pains, I was just dealing with them.
I didn’t realize how much exercise would help me deal with my stress… until I started doing it. The changes weren’t noticeable immediately but as I got past the first couple months things changed.I felt better, I wasn’t as sore, my stomach wasn’t sore..
The foods I ate also played a huge role in my digestive problems but I never realized what was causing the stomach issues until I changed the way I ate. At first I thought the digestive problems were because of an intolerance to something I was eating. In a way it was, it was an intolerance to crappy food but it was also from stress.
I made huge changes in my life, I dealt with the things in my life that were causing me stress! I changed jobs, I changed the relationships with people who were causing me stress and I started exercising and eating better. Like I said before, the aches and pains, these are ways your body is telling you something is wrong. It is up to you to figure out what those problems are and deal with them. Make those changes in your life… deal with stress, don’t just ignore it and hope it will go away!
I now recognize the signs of stress. I know when I am starting to get stressed out and now rather than eating when I’m not even hungry, to deal with that stress. I exercise! I crave the exercise when I’m stressed… It’s about choices though, I admit I still crave the food when I’m stressed but I choose healthier foods to eat and I eat only when I’m actually hungry. If I start getting a headache, exercise actually helps most of the time, just as much as taking a Tylenol. Strange, but it’s true! If it’s a migraine, I’ll take a Tylenol but if I feel like I’m getting a bit of a headache, I exercise and within 10 minutes the headache is gone.
Everyone has their own way that helps them deal with stress. Exercise helps but other things can help you deal with stress as well. Just choose healthy ways to deal with your stress! Everyone deals with stress differently and everyone has things besides exercise that helps you deal with stress. From spending time with your pet to having a relaxing massage or bath. It could be relaxing with a good book but everyone needs these releases, these ways to deal with stress, or it builds up and it doesn’t go away.
So I ask you to take a step back and look at what is stressing you out and find ways to manage that stress, healthy ways to deal with it.
If you do nothing, nothing will change!