I sat down for dinner a couple of nights ago and half way through dinner I realized that I was shoveling food down as if there was no tomorrow. That’s just my way of saying I was eating mindlessly and oblivious to the taste, sight, smell and texture of the food. After a couple of deep breaths I started to eat more slowly so I could enjoy the experience of eating. That also gave me thinking space to reflect on what was happening and I realized that I was eating mindlessly as I was feeling frazzled after a stressful week! Furthermore, although mindful comfort eating can be a way of coping with stress, I noticed that mindless comfort eating was not very self soothing and seemed to heighten the experience of stress.
The following video is highly amusing but it does highlight what happens when you restrict your favourite foods……you spend the rest of your day in mental torture trying to convince yourself to either have your favourite food or not to have it. It’s no wonder diets rarely work! If you tell yourself you can’t have your favourite food, it automatically becomes more appealing. That’s why I ate more chocolate when on a diet than off a diet!
Trying to maintain your health and weight when life is throwing some major life stresses at you (such as the death of a loved one, work redundancy, relationship breakdown etc) is challenging to say the least! While some people lose weight in times of major life stress, many others tend to put on weight as comfort eating increases and physical activity decreases. Adding to this, the hormone cortisol is released in higher amounts at times of stress and this tends to slow down metabolism leading to weight gain.
2009-2010 was a period in my life where I seem to experience many major life stresses that really took a toll on my health. It would be nice to think that no further major stresses will occur in my life and I’ll go on to live happily ever after, free from stress; however, reality seeps in and tells me that major life stresses are inevitable and will occur at some point in the future – here’s hoping it’s just not all at once!
So how do you maintain your sanity and health and when going through major life stress?
Self Care, Self Care, Self Care! A common theme I have noticed in many people when they are going through major life stress, is they tend to reduce or completely stop engaging in activities they need to do to allow themselves to sooth their distress. For example, many people stop going out with friends, or they stop eating well, or they stop exercising or stop doing things that they normally give them pleasure. Looking after yourself is important at any time and in times of major life stress it is even more essential to engage in self care. Continue reading How to Maintain Your Health and Eating Habits In Times Of Major Life Stress