Dealing with any kind of grief or additional life stresses can be really difficult without the addition of trying to control what – or how much – we are eating.
Work, family crisis, illness, money worries, relationship issues – will enter and leave all of our lives at some point in varying degrees.
At this critical and vulnerable moment in time, it can be really easy for things to go either one way… or the other. Learning how to deal with stress and our automatic reactions to it can be truly life changing.
You can either fall back on food and use emotional eating to help you through the bad patch. After all, if you haven’t got the time or energy (because of the stress/trauma) to plan, shop and cook, the perfect solution may appear to be to turn to slices of toast, packets of biscuits and crisps, take-away and fast food. The things that provide “instant gratification” and deal with the hunger pangs. They provide a comforting and effortless instant fulness.
This could potentially have a huge impact on your emotional health. Eating “rubbish” is likely to leave you feeling worse, lethargic, tired. Waking up to the fact that you’ve eaten all the wrong things will just add to your feelings of sadness, emptiness and add to the feelings of inadequacy and loathing that you may already have in relation to your weight.
It is at this moment in time when you are feeling particularly vulnerable – that you should take the time to look after yourself – REALLY look after yourself.
I was just thinking this morning (as I was exercising – my time to “think”!) that I was really helped in a recent trauma I experienced by the fact that my food planning and preparation are so regimented.
Rather than just tell myself that “I haven’t the time…” because of dealing with the effects of the trauma (physically and emotionally) and turning to fast food, snacks etc. I told myself instead, that now – more than any other time – it is important to keep going and not to lose all the positive benefits that I have achieved through my weight loss.
The improvements to my physical and emotional wellbeing are something I am not willing to jeopardise. The only person who can be truly responsible for helping you to heal will be you. It may well be with support and help from others, but you have to be committed to the actual “doing”.
When you are feeling at an all-time low, taking the time to look after and care for yourself – to prioritise your own needs – is absolutely essential.
Often what can help a lot with stress is to keep busy and active – keep your mind occupied so that you are not instead dwelling on the recent event / trauma. Concentrate on the fuel you are putting into your body to make sure you are giving yourself the very best.
Trying to keep your meal times regular, trying to go to bed / get up at the same sorts of times each day and by making a huge effort to eat healthier foods as well as some exercise (ideally outside / some fresh air) will help to lift your mood.
You may find yourself surprised at just how a few simple “rules” to ensuring that you prioritise your own needs will start to make the difference to your emotional well-being.
Please note: I am not a trained psychologist! This post is written in relation to my own weight loss journey and the changes I have made to the way I think about and approach my eating. I hope it helps you.