Managing Stress Without Food
Your weight doesn’t have to go up every time your stress level does!
I often struggle with feeling overwhelmed and stressed, whether I'm on deadline at work or worried that I won't make it to the gym. It's at times like those that I'm tempted to go back to my old coping strategies, i.e., grabbing an unhealthy snack or going out for drinks after work.
My life coach, Alison Miller, says when we are stressed, we tend to freak ourselves out because we're convinced something terrible will happen if we don't get things done. Having workable stress-relief methods at our fingertips allows us to deal with daily stress in a more positive way. It also helps us avoid mindless eating and enables us to focus on diet and exercise goals in a more effective manner.
Alison's advice for dealing when I get overwhelmed? Pause. Take a walk around the building or write down why I'm upset. Then get organized. Clean my desk or room. Take out a piece of paper and make a to-do list. Then do one thing at a time. She says this prevents you from responding in panic mode, which is when you make bad choices. It also precludes you from trying to do too many things at once, resulting in you actually taking longer to complete them. As she says, "sometimes, slower is faster."
Now when I feel stressed at work, I try to physically remove myself from the situation. I'll get up, take my water bottle and walk downstairs to the water machine. Other times I'll ask a coworker to go with me so we chat for a few minutes on the outdoor patio. Getting away helps me recharge and be more focused when I return back to work, so I can come up with an effective, step-by-step plan for dealing with the problem. It also means I'm not derailing my diet with mindless eating or missed exercise sessions.