Very often I hear people talk about "stress" eating. You are doing so well on your healthy eating plan and then BAM, life throws you a stressful curve ball.
I will admit that with all my weight struggles in the past, I have never been one to "stress eat." But my sister and mother have often turned to food for comfort during tough times, so I've seen this first hand.
I totally get it. In the midst of the difficulties that sometimes come with life, it feels nice in the moment to "numb" yourself with sugar, alcohol, or whatever your drug of choice is.
I just recently had a situation that almost threw my mother and I into some "stress eating."
A while back my dad had some very serious and extensive dental surgery. What we thought was going to be a 5 hour procedure turned into an 8 hour one with my mother and I waiting in the waiting room for the last 4 hours.
Now 4 hours may not sound like a lot, but when your loved one is under a knife, under anesthesia and also happens to be 75 years old, 4 hours now feels like 4 years.
When he finally came out of surgery, he looked absolutely awful. He was drowsy, bloody and could not walk because he was still groggy. The doctor assured us he was ok (and he was, thank goodness) but that it may be a rough night for all of us.
Because neither my mom nor I had expected to be at the doctor's office for so long, we did not have anything ready or prepared for dinner. Good thing I always have a bag of raw nuts in my purse because that's what we snacked on while we waited. Honestly, I couldn't even think about eating. My stomach was in such knots, food just wasn't a priority at the moment.
Once we got home and got my dad settled in bed, I could immediately feel that my blood sugar was starting to drop. More importantly, my mother, who is a diabetic, was also feeling shaky and needed to eat something ASAP.
In her stressful state she said to me, "Isabel, let's just eat those bagels your dad got yesterday and call it a day. We don't ever eat anything bad and I can't even think about cooking right now."
She was right on both counts...we don't ever eat anything "bad" and neither of us was in any state to start pulling together a gourmet meal.
But I asked myself, "If bagels were not an option, what could I do in this situation?"
I have to admit - I was keeping it together a little bit better than my mom in that moment, so my head was a little clearer, but the thought of agreeing to processed white bread and watching my diabetic mother eat it was NOT an option.
I quickly looked in her fridge and saw that she had eggs (organic, of course) and some fresh veggies. I hard boiled a bunch of eggs, cut up an avocado, and peeled a cucumber and some carrots. I said to my mom, "Mom, it's not quite gourmet, but it will do right now!"
After we had our tasty dinner of 3 hard boiled eggs, ½ an avocado each and a healthy serving of cucumbers and carrots, she thanked me for not letting her eat something that was really only going to make her stress worse.
So what happened here? Well something very, very important, and if we all did this then "stress eating" and "falling off the wagon" would truly not happen.
Eating crappy, garbage foods that would ultimately do me and my mother more harm than good was NOT an option.
Did you hear me?
NOT an option! (I wonder how many times I can write that phrase in one article).
You truly must OWN it.
For example, if you asked a hard core vegetarian to a steak restaurant they would say…
"I don't eat meat"...not an option.
If you asked a non-smoker to come out for a smoke with you, they would say,
"No thanks. I don't smoke"...not an option.
And if you offered someone a drink, not knowing she was pregnant, she'd say:
"No thanks, I can't"...and you'd understand that for her, it's NOT an option.
Many people who know me would never in their wildest dreams ask me to hit the local McDonald's with them. They just know that no matter the situation, no matter how busy we are, and no matter how hungry I am, it will never, ever, ever be an option.
What are the foods that you need to make NOT an option?
Is it processed white bread? Is it fast food? Is it artificial sweeteners? Is it soda?
There are plenty of foods that could never, ever be eaten again for the rest of your life and you would be perfectly fine. Actually, you would be more than fine, you would be great!
For me, there are foods that ARE still an option.
If I go to a party and there is a dessert I want to try, I go for it. I don't normally eat the whole thing, but I don't deprive myself. I have it and then move on with my healthy life. No big deal.
If I want a glass of wine with dinner, I will have it. This doesn't happen very often because I'm not really much of a drinker, but if someone says, "You have to try this wine. It's really great," I try it. No big deal.
Decide today which foods for you are NOT an option and then make a firm decision that your life will be so much better without them. Then Share them with us - we'll be there to support you every step of the way!