Stress and Food

Stress wrecks havoc on my life. I get knots all in my shoulders and neck. Right now I feel like I have one continuous knot starting from the back of my right shoulder, traveling all the way up the back right side of my neck. It's painful. Ouchie.

The other area stress causes pain and suffering is my waistline.

When I'm stressed, I crave comfort foods - mashed potatoes and gravy, fluff-filled donuts, cherry-vanilla cokes, cocoa krispies . . . and the list goes on and on. Have you noticed that all these foods involves sugar or starch? My waist and tush have.

Seriously, since Isaac's hospital stay, I think I've gained five pounds. I say I think because I'm too chicken to get on a scale and actually weigh myself. Add this to the ten pounds I've gained over the fall months of less exercise - and I'm now out-growing yet another pair of jeans.

Let me give a more depressing example - This past summer when I was painting, always wore an old pair of jeans I had to cinch super tight with a belt to keep from falling off. Yesterday when I put them on to do some painting, they were a tight fit. Is that not super depressing or what?

It made me crave my friend Robin's homemade cheesecake, which unfortunately I had made the night before to take to a Girl's Night Get-Together.

So now I'm depressed. And I hate exercising when I'm depressed. Which begins the never-ending cycle of weight gain and even more depression.

What am I going to do?

I'm going to force myself to get up a little earlier in the morning to use our exercise bike downstairs.

At my last Girl's Nite, I talked with a few girlfriends about getting together a few times a week for some group exercise.

Another friend invited me to join the YMCA with her and we could go exercise together (our schedules are even compatible!) I'm going to go check out her gym when the kids go back to school on Wednesday.

I'm going to buy more grapes and Wheat Thins and cut back on my sugary treats.

I'm also going to drink more water. I'm a terrible water-drinker. I can go all day on just one glass in the morning and another glass at dinner with no other drinks in between. I need to start tracking my water intake, especially with exercise.

Next month, I'll re-evaluate and see how I did. Hopefully, I'll have more energy and be a little lighter on my feet. If not, I'll do some re-thinking and adapt my plan accordingly.

With Isaac's surgery coming up later this month, I'm going to be tempted to eat. Does anyone have some suggestions of what to do when I'm tempted? I could really use them!

Would you like to comment?

Unknown said...

Oh girl, I'm feeling ya. I'm right there with you.
I haven't been able to get the movtivation to exercise again but I am working on the eating thing.

Some things that work for me..
no eating out, whatever it takes do not eat out. Give yourself one meal a week at some place you really love.

Get rid of all snacks in the house. Eat a lot of popcorn and drink a lot of water.

I know this one is awful, get on the scale. Tell yourself you will not gain one more pound and weigh yourself EVERYDAY for awhile, trust me, it's motiviation.

If you are craving something sweet, make it some and give the rest away.

I hope you will have strength over this next month. I'll be thinking about you. With all the stress you have going, adding weight to the problems just makes you more miserable. You can do it.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

KC Mom - Thank you so much. You made me feel better & like I can keep up with this challenge. And thank you for the tips. I like the popcorn & water idea. I definitely have both of those on hand! And our popcorn doesn't even have butter on it since our son is allergic to milk. That has to be a few less calories, right? :) Thank you!!!

Jenn said...

It's true - our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger. I started a diet and exercise program at the beginning of December called Body-for-Life and a couple days in, I just couldn't control my cravings! After a while, I realized I hadn't had a drink in a while, and once I started drinking, I couldn't stop - I was sooo thirsty! When I was done, viola! No more cravings.

Another thing about this diet is that there's a freeday. It doesn't always work, but most of the time, when I really want a treat, I'll put it away and promise myself I can eat it on my freeday. It really helps to know that I don't have to go without it completely.

(By the way, I lost 8 lbs over the month of December doing this diet, and I even fell off the wagon completely the week of Christmas. Pretty amazing, if you ask me. :D You should check it out - in my opinion, it's the best diet and exercise program out there)

Anyway, Good Luck!!!! You can do it!!!

Unknown said...

I'll second the Body-for-Life method. When I stuck to it it was great. It does call for 6 small meals a day instead of 3 main, but the recipes in their 'Eating-for-Life' book are really easy and good. My kids like the food too, so I didn't have to make something for me and hubby (who was doing it with me) and something different for the kids. And the free day made it all okay. If I was tempted, I would just tell myself that in a couple of days I could eat that item. And eventually it got so that even on my free day I didn't eat crazy because I could see how well it worked through the week and it felt weird to go nuts on free days. But free days always give the option to eat whatever I want without guilt. Which is good.

If you could see me now, you would know immediately that I am NOT currently on the Body for Life diet. :) I need to go back on it again. That is actually the plan for me. Their exercise program is good too and you could do all they ask at the YMCA with your friend.

One thing that worked for me too though when I was trying to lose weight without the BFL, is the mantra of "Eat after 8, gain weight". So I would do my best to not eat anything after 8. No late night snacking, etc. It gives your body a chance to burn some of the calories you ate that day before you go to bed.

Are you coming to Utah for the LDStorymakers conference? Maybe we can motivate each other from here until then--and then treat ourselves to cheesecake when we hit our goals. :) E-mail me if it sounds like something you'd like to do. You might have a bunch of cyber friends who would like to join you in this particular quest. It seems to be a universal issue.

Unknown said...

Hi trunk is 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide and almost 2 feet deep...pretty big.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Hi Jen & De - I've heard of Body for Life, but haven't ever looked into them. I'll have to do some research.

Last year, I became a huge fan of HerbaLife's nutrition shakes. I lost 40 lbs drinking their shakes & maintained it all really well until this past fall.

Part of the problem is that I over-scheduled myself and lost my exercise time and eating routine. I was in maintenance mode and only drinking one or two shakes a week - and stopped doing that as I ran from one place to another. As I ran short on time, I began eating out more, splurging here and there on treats, and voila! Four months and fifteen pounds later, here I stand.

The extra classes I was attending with my younger kids end in two weeks. I'm hoping that by getting back onto my previous schedule and kicking up my HerbaLife shakes again, that I'll be able to get back into my routine of eating healthier and getting back down to my goal weight.

I love Jen's tip about water. I haven't thought about it for a long time, but about four years ago, John's work had a weight loss challenge. I remember John telling me that whenever he started to feel like a snack, he would drink a big glass of water first & a lot of times it was just that he was thirsty. But if he still wanted a snack, he had a bunch of pre-measured nut type snacks at work in little ziploc bags & he'd eat one of those. (about 100 calories each). I'm definitely going to have to start tracking my water intake. :)

De - Thanks for the No Snacks After 8 idea. That's going to be really hard, but I'm going to give it a try (or at least decrease my amount of snacking per week). That's about the time I have all the kids in bed & I sit down to watch a 30 minute Food Network show before bed.

I love the online support group idea! I'll email you! We can brainstorm some fun ideas for goals, etc.

Jewel Allen said...

Well, the first thing I did after the holidays was dump the plates of neighbor treats into the trash. :-)

So out of sight, out of mind.

If that still doesn't work, I brush my teeth and convince myself that if I eat something it'll get stuck in my teeth, then I have to floss and brush all over again...

I also try to do something that makes me laugh, like a funny movie. Three Amigos is a good one.

modern myrtle home said...

Hey Danyelle,

All these tips are great ones. Of course you have to exercise and eat better, but the one thing that really makes a difference for me is to STOP eating at 7:00. No exceptions. If you are anything like me, that automatically cuts 500 calories out of your day! I lost 50 lbs after having Lily 16 months ago, and that was the one thing that really kept me on track. Good luck, and I'll keep Isaac in my prayers. ((hugs))

Cindy Beck, author said...

I think you've gotten a lot of good tips, so I'll just say, "Good luck!" And I know you can do it!

Kimber said...

Sounds silly ... but I am a big fan of homemade fried rice! When I make a batch, I put in lots of veggies. The leftovers are great. It's pretty healthy because I just season it with a little bit of soy sauce or Yoshita's sauce, and it's a good way for me to get a starch fix (the rice) while balancing it out with some nice, healthy, low-calorie veggies! It's a great meal for the family, too - and I throw in a few scrambled eggs for protein.

ali cross said...

Hey Danyelle, I'm sorry you've been under such stress and that it's leaving it's mark on you. I can totally relate.

When you're hanging out at the hospital a lot and you're stressed and worried, not sleeping well, and craving comfort foods, it's hard to remember body for life, or anything else for that matter.

My suggestions to you during that time is to drink your water - plenty of it. I'm like you - a terrible water drinker. And, like you, it's not that I'm drinking pop or anything else, just ... NOTHING. But if you drink water, you WILL feel better. Believe it or not, water will revive you better than a pop when you're exhausted at the hospital. So always choose a good, cold bottle of water over that cup or can of pop.

Also, stash some granola bars in your purse. I like the fiber one bars because they are pretty good and they give me lots of fiber. That coupled with the water you'll be drinking will help keep you regular while you're at the hospital and that's important - that'll help you feel better too.

Also stash some squares of yummy dark chocolate, like dove squares. Just one piece is really satisfying and might help you tackle that sugar crave without adding a whole ton.

You can deal with eating better at all the non-stress times, but I think you should be realistic when you approach that really stressful time by being prepared with things that will satisfy your cravings without causing quite as much damage as the cafeteria's donuts.

Good luck to you and ... hugs! You can do this!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Oh my goodness! You all have such great tips and ideas! Thank you so much for sharing them all with me!

Sara said...

Let me know what you think of the YMCA. I was just there last night...(it was PACKED)...and thought of you.

I don't know about you, but when I try to do the whole eat "healthy", "diet", or "nothing after 7pm" thing, then ALL I can think about is eating, eating...and eating! And I always end up failing and feeling worse about myself than before. So, here is my tip:

Just make a commitment to buy better food, make better food, and allow yourself to indulge a little when you feel like it.

Don't totally take away your comfort foods...just make them better. Make yummy baked sweet potato fries instead of french fries; make those mashed potatoes, but don't eat quite as much; and I don't think there is anything wrong with cereal. When ever I am craving ice cream, I pull out my lucky charms and eat those instead. I may be getting quite a bit of sugar, but cereal is seriously fortified with vitamins, so in a sense it is "healthy" right? :).

Also, one last comment to end my novel, when I had 30-lbs to lose, I made sure that I ate at least 5 times a day. I was a student at the time and would take a sampling of things like string cheese, bananas, apples, oranges, peanut butter and celery, peanut butter crackers etc. with me to school and have little snacks throughout the day to keep my metabolism going. Then for breakfast, lunch and dinner I wouldn't need to eat nearly as much to feel full. I also exercised regularly and in no time the weight was off...of course I was in my early 20's at the time so I'm pretty sure I'd have to work harder now, but the idea is the same.

Good luck! And if anyone can do it, then you are kind of like wonder woman, only without the blue tights and magic truth whip. :)

Kit Tanner said...

I am new to your blog. Funny thing is I'm having a lot of the same delimas of stress and eating and have been searching for answers myself. I ran into this education week talk on the TV and found it on the computer. It is awesome and you might enjoy hearing it. Feel Fit and Fabulous About Your Physical, Spiritual, Emotional, and Mental Life!
Speaker: Connie E. Sokol
Event: BYU Education Week 2007
Date Given: August 23, 2007
If you go to the BYU broadcast website and click on find a talk then type in Sokol this talk will come up to download or listen to. It's awsome. Let me know if you like it or if you've listened to it. Good to meet you and feel free to visit my new blog katyah999

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Sarah - I am seriously thinking of joining. I may go over tomorrow for the tour. I'll get with you. Thanks for the tips.

Katyah - Thank you for the talk info! I'm going to go check it out. It sounds like just what I need!!!