What does each of these situations have in common?
1. Sue has an argument with her best friend. She munches on brownies directly from the pan until her anxiety eases up.
2. Justin is behind on an important project at work and he’s having trouble concentrating. He heads to the break room to see what he can find to munch on. He spies a box of doughnuts on the counter and finishes off the last three left in the box.
3. Pam is presenting a new marketing strategy for the executive team and she’s got a bad case of jitters. Before the meeting, she runs to the coffee shop across the street and grabs a large coffee drink and a scone.
In each situation, eating is used as a way to manage stress. Do you sometimes use food in this way?
Food makes us feel good in the moment because when we eat our brains release “feel good” chemicals. However, that only lasts 20-30 minutes before we need another dose. To manage your weight long term, it is important to know the signs of stress and what trigger stress. Then, you can learn new ways to deal with these situations.
SIGNS OF STRESS
□ Racing heart beat
□ Rapid breathing
□ Muscles feel tight
□ Feeling anxious, nervous, sad, or depressed
□ Trouble sleeping
□ Trouble concentrating
□ Overeating or trouble eating
□ Weight gain or weight loss
How can you tell when you are stressed out? How do you usually deal with it?
AVOID needless stress. Think about situations that stress you out. Are there some you can avoid?
• Someone who constantly irritates you
• Leaving too late for work or other appointments
• Taking on too many projects or outside activities
• Discussions about uncomfortable topics
List some situations you can avoid:
ALTER stressful situations you can’t avoid
• Tell someone how you feel about something
• Ask someone to change his/her behavior
• Change your environment (such as getting rid of any junk food you usually keep in your desk drawer)
• Manage your time better
• Rehearse a stressful situation in your mind before it happens and imagining what you want to say or do
List some situations you can alter:
ADAPT to stressful situations you can’t avoid or alter by changing your thinking, actions, or feelings.
• Focusing on the positives in your life
• Put the situation in perspective by asking yourself: “Is this worth getting upset over?” “How much will this matter in a year from now?”
Adapt your actions:
• Get away from the situation as soon as you can
• Talk to someone you trust about how you feel
• Seek information and advice
• Make time to do things you like to do
Adapt your feelings:
• Practicing relaxation techniques like counting to 10 and taking deep breaths
• Picture yourself someplace calm and pleasant (like a beach or a park)
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