Weight Loss Support - How do you deal with MAJOR stress?




Renwomin
06-20-2011, 03:59 PM
Eight months ago I was almost under 200 pounds. (I barely didn't make it into onederland.)

For a while I maintained the weight and then it started creeping slowly back on. Five months ago my mother started having SERIOUS medical problems that was severely debilitating her. Doctors thought she had advanced cancer, then they didn't know what she had. She was finally diagnosed about two months ago with a rare, aggressive, stage 4 cancer. The majority of people treated for this particular cancer do not go into remission.

It probably comes as no surprise that I've been depressed and stressed for months. As one of my mom's care givers my life, work, and schedule has been turned upside down as well.

I've always been an emotional eater and lately modifying/restricting my diet has been the furthest thing from my mind. I've been eating whatever I want whenever I want. I've gained back 33 pounds in 8 months.

I know this needs to stop and I need to get back on track, but I've been too depressed and stressed to snap out of it. I'm even more crunched for time and doing a lot of traveling, so that makes it more difficult for me to make my own meals and exercise. I've faced a lot of hurdles and excuses in the recent past regarding my diet, but this one is taking me down for the count.

With months of treatment and uncertainty in front of me, if I don't find a way to navigate through this I'm going to end up heavier than I've ever been.

I wonder how others have made it through major stress when they have historically relied on food as a stress reliever. How do you deal with major stress like this? :?:


IsabellaOlivia
06-20-2011, 04:04 PM
Jillian Michaels suggest to make a 'rescue me' list for those days when all you want to do is to eat chocolate and ice cream. A rescue list has come in handy for me.

My personal list is:
Put nail polish on hands and feet
Take a shower and use a hair mask
Watch my favourite tv show
Go for a walk in the fresh hair
Catch 9 hours of sleep.

psuajblue
06-20-2011, 04:06 PM
Love the rescue list idea! When I'm feeling majorly stressed, I ask myself this about the actions I'm about to take: in a week, will this action have made me less stressed or more stressed?


sept15lija
06-20-2011, 04:26 PM
Just keep things as simple as possible. I haven't faced that kind of stress (I'm so sorry I can't even imagine what you're going through) but when things are just crazy busy and I feel ovewhelmed, I work on just keeping things basic - I have a few meals I eat out (like a small sub or a chicken pita) that I know the calories of, so I just eat that - or I keep more convenience snacks like 100 calorie packs and other things I can keep track of easily. I just came back from a really insane business trip and I was very worried about food, but was able, using the above plan, to actually lose another pound. It's not the healthiest and I did try to get in as many easy healthy things in there as possible too (like bananas and apples or cut up veggies like cucumbers and carrots) but it worked and I was able to stay on plan (for me, my plan simply consists of a certain calorie level). If I were you, for now, I wouldn't stress about exercise and just move when you can, and try very hard to keep your food choices in check. Good luck and I will be thinking of you! :hug:

ETA: I also find, that when I am stressed about other things, I take a certain comfort in keeping control of food. Sometimes it is the one thing I have control over, when things are going haywire. It's quite a switch for me for when I ate for comfort!

Ferumbras
06-20-2011, 05:05 PM
Honestly, for me the best way to relieve stress is to exercise. Even if it's just going for a walk. Sometimes I can't bring myself to do 30 minutes of cardio, but I can manage to walk a few blocks and I always feel better for it. It clears my head and the endorphins released are fantastic stress-reducers.

Okay, and I will say my partner can do some fantastic things for me that also release endorphins. If you have one too, see if she or he can do similar. ;)

saef
06-20-2011, 05:20 PM
When my father was dying of cancer in 2008, I knew I was going to want to eat my head off.

So I pretty much sat down with myself & drew up a contract, mentally, that was going to govern what I did until ... well, until it was over.

I was going to get to the gym every day, to blow off stress. Even if I kept my phone turned on & at the equipment, if I needed to be reached. Sometimes I cried while peddling on the stationary bike. I know this felt good & when I would come home afterward, I would have energy & actually be upbeat. I felt renewed. No matter how awful the rest of the day was -- and they were uniformly awful -- I'd had that time alone & that really helped me.

The other thing I was going to do, was Take Care of Myself. Which meant eating healthily. You see, the horrible thing was, I knew I was going to survive. I would get through it. I felt guilty about that. But I knew that, for me, there was going to be an After. If I could just get through it all, I would get to that place & time. So I had to take care of myself in the meantime, as best I could.

I also lined up my therapist. When I couldn't make appointments, I phoned him to talk. I remember at least one double-barreled session: Leaving the gym after cardio, then calling my therapist & talking inside my cold parked car.

I tried meditating, too. Which meant waking up before everyone & sitting alone quietly for a while & not moving, no matter what impulses came over me. (My mother's cat tended to come by & kind of mess that up -- I can't withstand a cat rubbing against me, wanting to be petted & to get into my lap.)

Toward the end, when we had hospice services, I also had a lot of resources to talk to there as they visited the house constantly.

But yeah, it was pretty much accepting there would be an Afterward, for me anyway, and that I needed to hold myself together to get to it, however long that took. And after conceiving of that afterward, I tried not to think too far ahead, ever again, and pretty much thought from day to day, even sometimes from hour to hour.

newnana91950
06-20-2011, 05:29 PM
Hi there, I don't usually post but thought this might be the time to share. My father had a heart attack a year ago, my brother has terminal bone cancer, my 18 year old daughter had a baby and now lives with me and of course then there are the daily stresses we all have to tough out. So, I know where you are and understand your pain/stress level. What I find works for me is just saying "This is sooo unfair and I don't want to worry about my food!!" Of course this is yelled at the top of my lungs in my car! It may sound silly but it does work, at least for that moment. Doing this takes away some of the POWER food has over me and then the stress of not eating the "wrong" thing is taken away. Next thing ya know I'm making better food choices with out thinking to much about it all. I've realized that I was putting so much pressure on myself to make the right choices that I just couldn't trust myself to make the right choices. I hope that makes sense and that it helps you.

God Bless and be strong

Nana

RoadtotheNewMe1217
06-20-2011, 05:31 PM
@Renwomin Thank you for starting this thread. I have not had to deal with the same type of stress, but I have been going through a very stressful part of my life. I've also had to deal with one of my best friend's having Bulimia for the last 7 months. She's relied a lot on my positive energy towards her. The problem is that I think I use them all on her, and there's none left for me! (EEP!)

How can you balance between your own stress and others? I would feel like an awful friend if I wasn't there for her, but sometimes I need others to be there for me. It also hurts with my battle with weight since she was always thinner than I was and in the last 7 months she's lost 35 pounds with this disease. I see her and I want to break into tears. :(

Any advice is more than welcome, thanks in advance 3fc friends!

sidanne42
06-20-2011, 05:32 PM
Eight months ago I was almost under 200 pounds. (I barely didn't make it into onederland.)

For a while I maintained the weight and then it started creeping slowly back on. Five months ago my mother started having SERIOUS medical problems that was severely debilitating her. Doctors thought she had advanced cancer, then they didn't know what she had. She was finally diagnosed about two months ago with a rare, aggressive, stage 4 cancer. The majority of people treated for this particular cancer do not go into remission.

It probably comes as no surprise that I've been depressed and stressed for months. As one of my mom's care givers my life, work, and schedule has been turned upside down as well.

I've always been an emotional eater and lately modifying/restricting my diet has been the furthest thing from my mind. I've been eating whatever I want whenever I want. I've gained back 33 pounds in 8 months.

I know this needs to stop and I need to get back on track, but I've been too depressed and stressed to snap out of it. I'm even more crunched for time and doing a lot of traveling, so that makes it more difficult for me to make my own meals and exercise. I've faced a lot of hurdles and excuses in the recent past regarding my diet, but this one is taking me down for the count.

With months of treatment and uncertainty in front of me, if I don't find a way to navigate through this I'm going to end up heavier than I've ever been.

I wonder how others have made it through major stress when they have historically relied on food as a stress reliever. How do you deal with major stress like this? :?:

Ren,

Hi, and thanx for sharing your story! I too am an emotional eater and have been all my life. I can still remember 3 decades ago when I was making Barbie Doll clothes as a child and accidentally stabbed scissors in my side (tripped over an extension cord) and my mother frantically asking me, "Do you want a Pepsi...DO YOU WANNA PEPSI???" So I learned early on that sweet stuff can temporarily assuage any ache -- emotional or physical. I didn't ned the Pepsi then; I needed (and got) six stiches! And so now I try mightily every day to carry a mental list of "stitches" or remedies in my mind for when I want to eat unhealthy foods ... which to be honest, is just about every day of my life! I am food addict. Food has always been my comfort. I was always trying to fill the hole / emotional void with food, and paradoxically never realized that I was just making the void larger and hurting myself more.

I am now on the Medifast / Take Shape for Life eating / lifestyle plan. I have learned so much. To date, after 12 weeks, I've vanquished 54 life sucking pounds! I still have a ways to go, but I'm about 1/3 of the way there, and I have hope that I will reach my goal very soon. :carrot:

My "list" of remedies / alternatives to unhealthy food choices includes:

*gardening (instant gratification -- making my little corner of the world more beautiful one flower at a time!)
*kayaking through the marsh (awesome discoveries await when your boat has no motor to scare away wildlife!)
*journaling / poetry
*posting to this website and also tsfl.com discussion forums
*planning meals
*walking my small pony / large labrador
*cleaning house (dust makes u not wanna eat!)
*reading on the dock (sunbathing = great appetite suppressant for me)
*when all else fails, I GO TO BED EARLY!!!

If you were to formulate such a list, what would it contain?

Best wishes, and thanks for your post!

:) Sidanne

http://www.tsflsupportinmotion.com/Tickers/Tickers/Images/Tickers/634440726107374111.gif (http://www.tsflsupportinmotion.com/)

christine123
06-20-2011, 06:22 PM
I commend everyone here who was able to hold it together with food and exercise while dealing with these stresses. I was able to lose weight while my mom was ill and used exercise as a way to cope with the stress. I also did a lot of self-talk - "Eating too much and gaining isn't going to make Mom healthy again." "You can be sad and fat or sad and thin. Either way, you'll be sad." Those things helped and I dropped 55lbs.

However, when she died, the grief was so overwhelming that in 9 months, I gained back half. For some reason, I stopped caring. Here I am again, using the same tools that worked before and hoping to make them permanent fixtures in my life.

God Bless and Be Strong!

Renwomin
06-20-2011, 06:30 PM
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. It does make me feel better to get it all out there and know that I'm not alone.

Hugs to everyone going through stressful times themselves. :hug: Roadtothenewme, Newnana, hang in there.

Newnana's quote: "This is sooo unfair and I don't want to worry about my food!!" This is EXACTLY how I feel. On a base level I'm rebelling at having to deal with the horrible situation life has dealt my family right now, and the LAST thing I want to do is deal with what I view as another unfairness. That I really have to be careful of what I eat or be obese.

Saef, christine, thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know how you got through a similar situation.

IsabellaOlivia, sidanne42, I'll seriously consider coming up with a list. Sidanne, I'm jealous of some of the things on your list! I wish I lived in a more naturally beautiful area with better weather. I'd love to put on my list "go for a walk on the beach", "hike into the mountains/hills", "go canoing", "relax in my forested oasis with a good book", but those aren't options for me right now in my hot, humid, flat environment I've found myself. (I miss the west coast!)

I want to put really positive things on a list that don't feel like further punishment, but a nice, relaxing reward. Motivation is so hard for me right now.

I KNOW that exercise will make me feel better, but getting my butt moving to do so is hard for me right now. I logically know that if I ate better right now I'd feel better about myself, but again there seems to be a disconnect.

Sept15lija, I do think I need to focus on having more quick alternatives for me to eat. Having more on hand to chose from might make me feel less deprived and limited.

newbieblogger3
06-21-2011, 11:58 AM
Renwomin,

So sorry for your troubles - I have been there and almost didn't post this because I don't want to relive those feelings - but I had a simple thought that may help you. If you can afford it -you may be happy with a food delivery service -it can help you have prepared meals "at the ready" so you don't give into making poor choices.

By all means -make an effort to take a walk whenever you can or a relaxing bath -and as Saef said - try to hold on to the fact that there is an "Afterward''

Sending you hugs -L.

Renwomin
06-21-2011, 12:14 PM
Renwomin,

So sorry for your troubles - I have been there and almost didn't post this because I don't want to relive those feelings - but I had a simple thought that may help you. If you can afford it -you may be happy with a food delivery service -it can help you have prepared meals "at the ready" so you don't give into making poor choices.

By all means -make an effort to take a walk whenever you can or a relaxing bath -and as Saef said - try to hold on to the fact that there is an "Afterward''

Sending you hugs -L.

Thanks, newbieblogger. I'm glad you posted. I haven't been reaching out much to others, but I realize that I need to.

I didn't sign up for a delivery service last night, but I did do something to make my life easier. I have a crazy mentality when buying food. I'll spend way way too much money eating out, but then will try to scrimp and save at the grocery store.

But last night I went to a higher end grocery store and bought a lot of lower calorie and/or healthy items that I wouldn't normally buy because I deemed them "too expensive". I bought more convenience items as well. Even though I know processed food isn't the ideal nutritionally or financially, it is a much better quick alternative for me than greasy fast food! I also bought some quick, low calorie breakfast items since lately I haven't been eating breakfast at all. I'm hoping that if I know I have things at home that are super quick to make I won't be grabbing fast food much at all. That is the plan anyway!

If I eat out less and cook home more (even if it is with higher dollar convenience items) I know I'll save money and be taking in less calories in the long run. I just need to get rid of my desire to be a perfectionist and do things the absolutely best possible way when preparing food at home. (Not that I will ever live up to that anyway!)

ButterCup85
06-21-2011, 12:32 PM
First off, I'm very sorry for what you are going through and I hope you find healthy ways of dealing with stress. There is a lot of resources out there.

I understand about stress. A LOT. Pretty much every day of my life, I think it's just built in me. From 10+ years of being sexually abused as a child, to a marriage where my husband was in prison for 4 years, then he got home and then a divorce. And, losing a good friend. I'm just saying I kind of have a bit of stress on a daily basis.

With that being said I've tried many different things. And the ones that have worked the best for me are:

http://www.mindaffinityrecordings.com/free_hypnosis_mp3_relaxation_tranquility.html This, you can listen to online for free and it helps instantly if you just get comfortable and follow the instructions.

Also, EFT- Emotional Freedom Techniques, I like this video because he does't explain all of it, he gets right to it and it's easy to remember. I use it quite a bit and it does help. There are TONS of different ways to do EFT and so many to choose from. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1Ja-v-4Aeg

Then there is exercise. Which helps me a little overall I think. But, not instantly like the hypnosis.

And, crying and talking. Whether it's about my own problems or someone elses. I really enjoy helping friends/ listening to them cause it keeps my mind off of me, which may not be healthy but it helps on the really stressful days.

I'd also say laughing. I try to laugh a lot more now and try to make myself relax.

Reading a good book, where you can escape for a while and get lost is always nice too.

I hope you find something that helps and if you want a quick laugh now- this video is fantastic for it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGeKSiCQkPw