How to Deal With Stress (An Alternative to Eating)

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We start most diets with the best of intentions.  We get all excited about the latest and greatest diet, “finally, the answer to all of my problems!”  We do what they tell us to do until life gets in the way: we get stressed out at work, the boyfriend breaks up with us, we can’t find anything to wear and it’s back to our friend, food.  The only one who doesn’t disappoint.


When we don’t realize that what we think about what’s happening to us is a choice, it’s like letting a 2-year old run around the house with a knife…someone is going to get hurt.


Learning what causes us to feel stressed and eat and what to do about it is what leads to lasting results.


What causes stress anyway?


Many would argue that it’s their partner, their boss, their kids, their lack of money, their lack of being in a relationship that is stressing them out.  And what do we do when we are stressed?  We eat.


I have come to learn that it is not the things/people that stress us out, but what we think about those things that make us feel stressed.  And there is always more than one way to look at any situation or circumstance.


Here’s an example that many women have come to me with in one form or another:


Situation: Went back to bootcamp after a year of not working out (insert your favorite high calorie-burning activity)

Thought: I couldn’t keep up (do what I did before)

Feeling: embarrassed

Action: didn’t go back (quit)

Result: no improvement (still unlikely to be able to keep up)


How else could you look at this situation?

At least I’m here

I am not starting from the beginning, at least I know how to do the moves

I am doing this so I can get stronger and I have to start somewhere


When you think about it that way, how do you feel?

Hopeful, determined, excited


When you feel that way, what do you do?

Keep coming to class

Push myself to do an extra rep

Ask for help


What are the results of that?


Make it all the way through class without stopping

Being able to do all of the exercises without modifications


These are just examples, but you get my point.  This technique can be applied to ANY situation you are experiencing.  The good news is that you get to decide how you want to think and feel about it.


Warning: Some of you may be tempted to move from a very negative thought to a very positive thought.  DON’T DO IT.  Your brain has become very attached to the negative thought and will reject the new thought if it’s too distant from the old one.


When you choose new thoughts, choose one that feels a little better than the old one.  Don’t try to go from “I suck” to “I’m sexy”.  Your brain will just shout “LIAR” and go back to the old thoughts and patterns.


This week’s challenge:

See if you can notice any negative thoughts swirling around in your head that make you feel bad.  Can you 1) notice the thought without beating yourself up about it and 2) come up with 1-2 new thoughts that you can believe about the situation that make you feel better?  If you’re feeling brave, please list your comments on the challenge below, someone may benefit from your new perspective on things.

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