Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 208 - Stress

I have learned a lot about stress and how I deal with it in the last few weeks. I have come to the conclusion in my life that there are at least 2 ways my body can deal with it. Emotionally or physically. My ENTIRE life, I have dealt with stress through emotional eating. No matter what was going on, if I ate, I felt better for the time being. Chocolate, cake, pop corn, chocolate, ice cream, chocolate... you name it, I would crave it until I could put the kids to bed at night and then have my moment to "deal".

Lately, I haven't used this method to deal with the stress in my life. I don't know why either. How can a person who has dealt with stress the same way for the last 25 years by eating, suddenly change her M.O.? Maybe it's the daily exercise? Maybe I shrunk my stomach with smaller portions? Maybe I am just busy in a way I have never been before? For whatever reason, stress now upsets my stomach to the point where the thought of eating makes me want to hurl? I have heard stress causing such physical manifestations on people and I always wish I would have the problem of not eating instead of gorging. Be careful what you wish for!!

So I was thinking the other day that if over eating is an emotional way to deal with stress, how can a person change their perspective? How can a person change their emotional cravings to something more productive? Not eating is never a good thing. No matter what the stress in my life, I am just not going to stop eating, that would be CRAZY! One thing I have been able to notice in myself is that by not having the cravings, the drive to gorge, I have been able to focus and think about healthy food. Lunch comes, and nothing sounds good, so what to do? Eat something healthy even if typically it's not something that would fill you. During this process, I have learned to focus on the food, not the appetite. I used to just follow my appetite and that is where I would get into trouble. If I craved something, I went and got it. If I wanted more, I would eat until I would be physically ill. Understanding that over eating was my way of dealing with stress, I can more identify what I am doing and try to choose something different.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 187 - Motivations For Change - Reason 2: Holiday Burn Out

Holidays have always been a double edged sword for me. On one hand, it's a reason to get together and celebrate with family and friends. I love spending time with loved ones! On the other hand, I come from a family that celebrates with the greatest food ever! This is a good thing, but not when you feel like food has control over you!! In holiday past, I would consume food in a grazing fashion and yes, at the end of the day, I usually felt like a big cow!! So for me, holidays have been bitter sweet.

This 4th was a beautiful day spent with family and I couldn't ask for better weather! I went into the day feeling really confident that I wouldn't have the same food experience as years prior. I am starting to feel like my new way of eating, is just my way of eating. (I do admit that there are times were I have anxiety wondering if it's all lasting--like I am waiting to fall off the wagon) But as time progresses, those moments are getting farther apart. :0) Anyway, we had the same, glorious fare as you would find at my Aunt and Uncle's 4th of July BBQ. Ribs and snacks for appetizers with virgin Pina Coladas; hamburgers, hot dogs and wonderful salads of green, fruit, pasta and jello varieties; and a dessert table of homemade cookies, ice cream and brownies.

I simply grazed now and then at the appetizers and I had one too many of the BBQ ribs, so by the time dinner game, I really wasn't hungry. But it's the 4th!! So this year, Ben and I decided to share a hamburger (We just had ribs after all) and I had small scoops of the salads. I decided that the appetizers would be my "lunch" so that the next meal would be "dinner". If I didn't change my view, I would just feel like I was eating all day and that is a downer when you are trying to be healthy. This mentality seemed to work because I didn't feel stuffed when I was finished eating.

When dessert came, that is when I knew I needed to be thoughtful. Typically, I would just pork on the dessert until my stomach hurt. So I scanned the spread and decided what my game plan was going to be prior to grabbing a plate. The ice cream looked great, there were waffle bowls there too. Brownies with ice cream and fudge is one of my favorites, but I focused on how I have felt prior after eating a bunch, that sick sugary feeling that you have with the rich residue left in your mouth at the end. So by the time I got to the table, I had already "felt" that I had a serving. So, I grabbed small part of a waffle bowl that broke for someone before me and put a tablespoon of ice cream on it. It was just enough to satisfy. I grabbed a brownie and a cookie and sat down. I have learned that if I imagine that I have eaten more than I am, I get "full" before I am even done with it. I try not to eat dessert absentmindedly, but with purpose and thought. Sometimes I tell myself I am not going to eat a whole one. Just a half. If you eat a half a cookie the 4 times you go up to get one, you really have only eaten 2 instead of the previous 4. That is a 50% reduction!! So this is my new game plan when I get to previously "tricky" situations with food. I try to reduce the behavior while reducing the amount. It seems crazy, but it's working so far and I feel in control. I have to admit, I did eat a couple of cookies more than I would have liked (My aunt did something different with her chocolate chip cookies and I had a hard time eating one) but I have learned that if you forgive yourself and make the next day better, getting back into focus, the cookie fumble won't hurt. I used to beat myself up and then continue the celebration for the rest of the week with left overs and THAT will put on the pounds. Forgiveness is a huge thing for me and my eating behaviors.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 182 - It's Official

I have worked out on the elliptical trainer for half of the year! Half way to goal of 365 days in a row!