Responding To Stress

by | Nov 1, 2017 | Blog

I used to be a stress eater.

If there had been an award for the the best stress eater, I’d have won it.

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If my picture is any indication, I was one (large) stressed, unhappy woman.

Yeah. Stressed. And, turning to food to ignore my stress, thereby creating even more stress (physically & emotionally).

Here’s what is interesting: my life is busier & more challenging now than it was then. But, I stopped turning to food in response to stress because I’ve learned that’s no solution at all.

Turning to food in response to stress is about as logical as turning to lighter fluid in response to a fire.

I used to tell myself that eating helped. That it made me feel better.

It didn’t. It numbed me. It distracted me. It helped me hide & avoid problems.

But it created more stress, not less.

I’d like to think I’m a bit wiser now. These days, when I’m facing a problem or challenge, I get really clear on what is going on by asking myself two questions:

  1. What is the actual problem?
  2. What is a real solution to the actual problem?

I’ll give you an example.

Earlier this week I was feeling particularly stressed out over work that needed to be done, ASCEND preparations, projects that were on hold with multiple people until they got feedback from me…you name it.

I could feel the tension & sense of overwhelm rising.

I took a 5 minute break to sit down and literally write on paper:

What is the actual problem?

I have a lot of things that need to be done in a short period of time. I’m struggling to focus, prioritize & execute. My stress over it is clouding my objectivity.

What is a real solution to an actual problem?

Make a list. Highlight the things on the list that someone else can do. Delegate. Remove them from the list. What doesn’t have to be done at all, or doesn’t have to be done before the event? Remove them from the list. What are you able & willing to tackle today? Begin the first one immediately.

That whole process took fewer than 5 minutes but made me feel infinitely better.

There’s a 3rd strategy I use in response to stress, also in the form of a question:

What will make me feel more in control?

This one is probably the most powerful. In fact, around 5:37am today, already feeling overwhelmed, I asked this question and here were my responses:

  • Get to the gym
  • Eat super clean today
  • Pack for the hotel
  • Clean apartment

When I was at my heaviest, I didn’t ask those questions. I wasn’t responsive to the situations in my life, I was reactive.

I didn’t look to solve problems, I looked to escape them. In escaping them, because I wasn’t paying attention, I was only making them worse.

Of course, this takes practice and I’m still practicing but today’s a really great day to start!

Let’s talk about how much I didn’t want to do today’s workout! ASCEND kicks off tomorrow night and I have a hundred million things (more like 31) to do. I feel like I need every spare minute.

However, I’ll be away from the gym during the event AND I know working out gives me more focus, energy, confidence & momentum. Going to the gym, even for a tough workout, was absolutely worth it!

5 sets of 3 (increasing weight)

“Dead Sprint”
Teams of 2
7 Deadlifts
100 Meter Run
7/5 Calorie Bike

I actually didn’t have a partner for this workout so basically, I’d do 1 round (which took about 1 minute), then rest for 60 seconds and go again. I was smoked by the end of it, especially after the heavy deadlifts at the start!

On the food front:

After my workout I made another breakfast coffee concoction. Today’s included:

  • Artisana coconut butter (I get mine from Thrive Market – it’s cheapest there)
  • 1 egg (raw!)
  • MCT oil

I shared it with my boyfriend – we both enjoyed it!

After running some errands for me, the boyfriend came back with thick cut bacon. He said he knows I don’t really like flowers (true) so he thought bacon was a better choice. Smart man.

I had 3 slices of bacon and some of the leftover cheese from our Sunday night charcuterie board. Random side note – he is soaking the remaining bacon in vodka. The vodka will be used in some amazing blood mary’s this weekend! I shared some pics on my Instagram stories – are you following me over there?

I have an appointment tonight so I’m writing this post before dinner. I don’t know what dinner will entail but I’m thinking a quick trip out and maybe something like steak or scallops. Both of those sound yummy!

Make it a great day! Happy November!

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