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Staying OP in stressful times (warning: long)

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Old 08-07-2009, 05:39 AM   #1
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Default Staying OP in stressful times (warning: long)

This has been an unusually stressful year for me. My son has been having health problems and has been hospitalized three times. We have been helping take long distance care of my mother-in-law through stage 4 lung cancer which required us staying on the road. Lastly my job had me add teaching a class onto my normal work load. They paid me extra which was nice, but it was very time consuming. Everything culminated in July when my son had major surgery and we went through m-i-lís final days. She passed away a week ago.

Through all of this I have been working on improving my health. I developed my own set of standards that I thought I would share. First I recognized that I am not going through anything unusual. It is called life. Illness, death, and job stress is a part of life and I have to learn to deal with it without destroying my health.

Of course I have had very stressful times in the past. I am sure that we all have. How I react is under my control. In the past, I have turned to food as comfort which has added to my weight and health issues. So now I have decided to try, at the least, not to hurt my health and, as much as possible, to still work on weight loss through stress.

My rules for myself:

* Number 1 rule - do the best that I can. I can not turn to food for comfort because my health is important but I also have to recognize that I may not be 100% on plan. I can not let slip ups derail me. If I have too many calories one day, I just follow the plan the next day.

* When my son is sick and in the hospital, I need to stay completely on plan food wise. The hospital gives caloric information on several meals and it is quite possible to eat within my calorie range. I also learned that I need to tell the person dishing up the food that I am calorie counting so please give me the portion size in the nutritional info. Not surprising, when portions were measured the serving sizes got smaller!

* I give myself a break on exercise but still work some in. I take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk the hallways a few times a day.

* It was harder to stay OP when taking care of my m-i-l. She needed high caloric foods and that was hard to deal with. I cut myself a break and allowed a couple of hundred extra calories a day. I also could only get very little exercise when caring for her.

* During the days after her death, I gave myself a little slack. In the south, when there is a death in the family people bring in food, tons of it and it is all high calorie. I made the best selections that I could and avoided the dessert table that had many of my old favorite foods. One person, bless her heart, brought a fruit tray that was a big help. I was not sure of my calorie consummation but I know that it was less than it would have been a year ago.

I was glad to learn that my comfort foods have changed! I really wanted some vegetables. I found some frozen broccoli in the freezer that I had left in a previous visit and steamed it in the microwave. I was really glad to see that broccoli. I was doubly pleased with my daughterís reaction. She was as glad to see that dish as I was.

I will weigh tomorrow for the first time in a week. I avoid weighing for a couple of days after travel because I always have water weight. We will see how I do!

I think some of the stress is over for now. We have to settle m-i-lís estate but I donít think it will be as stressful as her illness. My sonís surgery should end his problems. I will be teaching again but it should fit in my life better.

However, stuff happens in life so eventually stress will happen again. Knowing how to handle it helps me. How do you handle stressful times?
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:48 AM   #2
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AWESOME!! I have been going thru a stressful time as well and didnt handle it as well as I had planned. OH well I cant beat myself up over it and just got started back yesterday.IT felt so good to be OP!!
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:13 AM   #3
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How do I handle stressful times? - Not nearly as well as you. Big hugs.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:22 AM   #4
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It's commendable that you were able to stay conscious of your choices durring such a hard time. Tha last thing anyone wants to do durring the passing or illness of a loved one is count calories. But to keep an eye on things as you went along so as not to get too out of hand deserves a pat on the back. I'm sorry for you r loss I went through the same thing in April with th grandmother she had lung cancer as well and we all took care of her in her home untill she passed. Hope you boy is doing well now and that life can settle for you now a bit. Big Hugs and fingers crossed for the weigh in.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:34 AM   #5
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great post! I appreciate you sharing it. there's stress in life, and there's STRESS. you did an amazing job.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:56 AM   #6
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Good job hon, it can be hard when life gets in the way.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:00 AM   #7
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Wow! My hat is off to you on how you handled all that stress. You have definitely proven that you have a high level of committment to your health.

I hope your little guy is doing well now, and that your life will settle down to normal.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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You are amazing. Countless people would have used these circumstances as a reason to "indulge". You took good care of yourself while you were taking care of others, no doubt you are much better off and handled all the stress much better because of it. Hopefully you have had the last of trials and tribulations for a while.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:07 AM   #9
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Excellent post and thanks for sharing. I think it will be very helpful to many.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:39 PM   #10
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I am so easily self sabatoging when going through stress. You are right--it's part of life so we need to learn how we're going to handle it.

When I read your story I thought that's how a 'normal' person would handle things. They would do the best they could with what they had. Each day would be a new day with it's on paticular challenges that could be dealt with. Wow! What an achievement!!!!

The only thing that keeps me hanging on during minor stresses (haven't had any biggies, whew) is telling myself that I will not punish my body with food just because I'm aggravated at x,y, or z. I'm going to remember your story when the hard times hit. I am inspired!
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:45 PM   #11
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Thank you for sharing what you have learned, it's a rare resource!
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:57 PM   #12
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I'm sorry you've been through such a stressful time. You've handled it with grace. Thanks for sharing your strategy for success. I think staying in control the best one can gives a sense of calm amidst all the chaos. You showed balance by not fretting over what was out of your control and I think that's great too. I hope things calm down for you, and your son is better!
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:55 PM   #13
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You have really done well during this VERY stressful time. No matter what the scale ends up saying you should be very proud of yourself! Thank you so much for the life lesson!
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:35 PM   #14
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Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this! I love how you handled the incredible stress you were under!! I put on a lot of my current weight a few years ago when both my parents were terminal with Stage 4 cancer and, as usual, I used food to "comfort" (i.e., numb/medicate the pain).

I'm impressed and inspired by your conscious decisions/plans and I'll remember this the next time life throws a crisis my way.

Thank you again!
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:44 PM   #15
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Sorry to hear about the stressful time you have been going through.
It sounds like you handle it Well. I usually don't handle stressful times very well. But I know if I want to lose more weight I need to deal with it better. And not turn to food always. So I'm going to try to plan other things I can do instead of eat. Maybe, walk more or go for a bike ride. Maybe, start up an old hobby of knitting ( can't knit very well but enjoy doing it).
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