Are Your Stress levels Causing You to Overeat?
"I'm so busy and stressed all the time, I'm juggling my career with family life, trying to also have a social life with my friends and some me time, as well as fitting in exercise. I put the needs of everyone else first, and mine second. I feel like I'm constantly putting out fires, before collapsing into bed at night, and even then, I'm not sleeping properly because I'm thinking about all the things I have to do the next day. All this means that my diet takes a hit, and I just grab whatever I can to stave off my hunger."
Sound familiar? You might not even realise it, but the demands of our lifestyle and the levels of stress we experience directly impact the amount we eat, and what type of food we eat. You might thrive on the kind of multi-tasking lifestyle described above, but whether you do or not, it's impossible to keep going in such a way forever.
Something has to give, and generally that something is your waistline. Without even realising it, you've gone up a dress size, your favourite jeans no longer fit and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and no longer like what you see. You try to diet, but the cravings for processed food and sweet stuff gets the better of you.
But there is a way that you can fix all of this.
Achieving a Healthier Relationship With Food
Emotional eating. We've all been there. A glass of wine and chocolate bar for dinner. Scooping up the kid's leftovers, whilst making your own dinner. White carbs for breakfast, lunch and dinner…
Then the feelings of guilt and shame kick in, and we're in that vicious cycle of stressful eating.
The trick is, to break the cycle – which is easier than it sounds and involves keeping an emotion and food diary. Next time you reach for the biscuits at the end of a long day, think about, and write down, all the things that led up to that point. After a few days or weeks, you'll see patterns emerging, for example:
• Overeating when your period is due
• Watching the TV means you eat without thinking and before you know it, the packet is gone
• Meeting with a certain colleague means getting chips for lunch
Then, you can start thinking of solutions, such as:
• Not having biscuits in the house when Aunt Flo is due
• Leaving the crisps in the kitchen when you're watching something good
• Walking around the park before buying lunch or bringing lunch to work on that day
Staying Consistent With Exercise
Planning is important, but having a regime that offers flexibility is key. If you have a set time with your trainer each week, that's not something that is easy to change. So make everything else flexible, that fits around your schedule – and is easy to change if needs be.
Use fitness apps that give you a weeks' worth of exercise in advance, that you can switch around from day to day. Save the bigger workouts for the days you're not working. Use an app that sends you reminders and tracks your progress!
Have a workout buddy too, so you can both use each other as inspiration. Plus, this solves the problem of not seeing this friend or group of friends enough! Choose exercise that you actually enjoy, and it won't be a chore, such as dance classes or swimming. Don't force yourself to pound the pavements if you hate running, you'll only find reasons to cancel.
Your body goals are in reach, no matter how busy your life, I promise you!