"Pretty good? What does that mean?" I hate when people answer with "pretty good," there is always a dot dot dot following that and I usually have to dig to find out what should have followed. So after a little more digging and clarifying the answer the conversation continues.
"How has your nutrition been this week?"
"Well....ok on some days but then I was really stressed on Tuesday and the kids were crazy on Thursday so those days didn't go so good."
This is a very typical conversation with my clients. I have some clients that I have trained for 5+ years and this is still a regular conversation. Changing behaviors is never easy, but is sometimes necessary.
Now, I will admit that I am a stress eater, but I am also a stress runner and quite often the running either plays a bigger role or they at least balance each other out. But what happens for those that eating is the only thing they know to do when they are stressed?
First and foremost this has to change and it is going to take some work to change it. I explain to my clients that simply deciding not to stress eat will not work. You need to have other coping skills and options. Here are a few tips I have found to help:
1) Keep stress food out of the house. I have yet to meet someone who eats salads when stressed. It is usually highly processed, sugar filled and or fat laden foods. Don't buy them! If it isn't in the house it is harder to turn to.
2) No matter how stressed and busy you are don't forget to eat regularly. When you let yourself get hungry you make bad choices...we all do.
3) Get together a support group. Have friends and family you can talk to when you are struggling with life's chaos. Acting like life is grand for the neighbor while squirreling away with a bag of Oreo cookies later is not a good option.
4) Have healthy alternatives available. If you just have to have something sweet after fighting with your teenagers make it a health alternative.
5) Develop other hobbies that you can use to keep your mind and body busy for a few minutes when you need a time out. Take a walk around the block, do a crossword puzzle, knit, etc.
6) Lastly, remember we all have speed bumps or days where nothing will take place of a treat, Limit your treats and don't let them set the tone for the rest of the week or even the day.
Life is stressful. It can't be avoided but you can learn how to deal with it.