Monday, August 22, 2011

Stress & Addiction

I am a stress eater.

To say that I've been stressed recently is an understatement. Due to the stress, I've done a lot of thinking about my own ties to stress and my addictions to food. I have noticed over the past few weeks that my drive to stick to my eating lifestyle plan (I am not on a diet, I am changing my eating lifestyle), has fallen by the wayside.  80% of the time, I do fine.  The other 20%, I fall way off my plan. Eating is a something you can do anywhere, no matter what you're doing.  It's an easy addiction to have when stressed.

Something better for me, say exercise, isn't as easy to do when I'm sitting at my desk, stressing over the idiots who are driving me to the point I feel I need something to eat.  Something, anything…

Somewhere, back in the recess of my mind, I know I could stand up, walk around, go outside or stretch instead of reaching for something to eat. Yet, there are days, I just don't. For this reason, I bring snacks to work.  Usually, snacks that are on my eating lifestyle plan.  Days like today, however, I get up, go for a walk and grab a bag of pretzels. Do the pretzels make me feel better? In the immediate, for about 30 seconds?  Yes.  After that, when my mind kicks in, or worse yet, my body says to me, "WTF did you just feed me?!", it is a resounding, very loud, "NO!"

So, my thoughts today revolved around, what can I do to feed my food addiction, when I feel the need to stress eat?  Other than actually eating?  I decided, I really need to make two lists.  One for while I'm at work, and one for while I'm at home.  Each list has 10 items on it.  My goal is to pick one of the items and do it.  If I still feel the need to stress eat, do another one… so on and so forth.  If I somehow manage to get through the ten items, then I will grab a healthy snack and write down what I'm thinking and feeling.

Non-Food Stress Relief For Work
  • Get up from my desk (leaving my wallet & money), take the elevator downstairs, go outside and walk around the block.
  • Drink a glass of water, don't sip, drink it all, top to bottom.
  • Close my eyes and take 10 deep breaths.
  • Turn on my "Dancing @ Work" playlist of bouncy tunes and dance in my chair.
  • Open up Nerd Fitness Forum and gain some inspiration from others who battle the same things I do and still manage to succeed.
  • Take a walk to the bathroom, do down dog in the lobby for 20-30 seconds.  Sit in chair and take 10 deep breaths.
  • On really bad days, beat the living crap out of the office voodoo doll.  Preferably when the object of my stress isn't at my desk.
  • Clean my desk.
  • Walk around the office and look at the pictures of people we help, they are worse off than I am and desperately need my help.
  • Angry Birds - blowing up pigs for 5 minutes should relieve stress.

Non-Food Stress Relief For Home
  • Grab something heavy, lift it 10 times!
  • Go out for a walk.
  • Play a game with Jonas.
  • Read a book.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Go to the park and play on the swings.
  • Do my workout.
  • Clean the floors, or walls/windows/table/whatever else needs cleaning.
  • Drink a glass of water, a really big glass.
  • Leave the room, go to my bedroom, lay down, close my eyes and concentrate on breathing deeply for 5 minutes (if I fall asleep, it's better than eating, right?!)

So there we have it.  I have a list of 10 things to do wherever I'm at that should help me stop stress eating.  I'll continue to bring my healthy snack to work (with an addition of roasted seaweed when I find it and pick some up) and have my scheduled snacks and meals.  But the between time, stressful eating will be replaced until I can get rid of the enormous amount of stress I'm under.

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