Losing It: Let’s Talk About Stress, Baby
I’ve never been very good at identifying and managing my own stress. This was first pointed out to me when I was 25 and in the hospital for a flare-up of my super-attractive stomach disease, ulcerative colitis. When trying to figure out what may have triggered the flare, the doctor asked me if I had recently been under any stress. Stress? Me? Absolutely not. What do 25-year-olds have to stress about? After digging not-a-whole-lot deeper, it turned out that I had recently moved, broken up with someone, and taken on new responsibilities at work under a boss who I had nightmares about. All right there, Dr. Freud, I see where you’re going with this. You’re saying that I’m not very self-aware, that I turn my feelings and stress inward and then slowly melt down from the inside until I land myself in the hospital? Whatever. Get out of my room before I have to stand up very unsteadily, hold the back of my gown together so you don’t see my ass, and whack you with my IV poll. I can be very intimidating when I’ve lost eight pounds and haven’t showered in two weeks.
Fast-forward 10 years and here I am at another stressful time in my life. The sources of my stress are unimportant for our purposes here, but at least I am able to identify them. Score one for therapy … and for being able to identify that which is blatantly obvious. So now that I’ve gotten my self-awareness badge neatly sewn on to my sash, it’s time to consider my stress management options:
1. Should I go for a run since I’m an f’ing running rock star now? Crap. My sneaks are ALL THE WAY upstairs. Next.
2. Look for a local hot yoga class to sweat some of this negativity out? But I washed AND dried my hair this morning. This event is, like, my Haley’s Comet and may not happen again for decades. Nope.
3. Should I dig into that pile of magazines on my night stand? And risk another debilitating paper cut*? No way.
4. I know—I’ll take a stroll into the kitchen and see if anything tickles my fancy. Let’s start with a blueberry Yonana mixed with a dollop of Chocolate PB2. Delish, one Weight Watchers point, and the perfect couch companion as I catch up on New Girl.
(30 minutes of Schmidt-hilarity later)
I could really use something salty. I think we still have those pretzels from New Years Eve stashed in the pantry somewhere. And you know what would be amazing? Those, dipped into a bowl of melted chocolate chips.
(15 minutes of chocolate-dripping-off-of-my-chin later)
That hubby of mine and his penchant for cereal. Let’s see what is on the cereal shelf this week … Strawberry Frosted Mini-Wheats? Don’t mind if I do!
(And so on, and so on, until the mantle of self-loathing around my shoulders is so heavy that I have no choice but to stagger off to bed and into a food coma.)
So … apparently I am a late-night stress eater. Who knew? And in the past two weeks I have basically let that coping mechanism (if that’s what you want to call it) sabotage everything I’ve been working toward. It needs to end now or I’m going to end up right back where I started: chubby, unhealthy, unhappy, unmotivated, and, well, stressed.
*Philly Mag does not give one paper cut. Ever.
What I Did This Week
I should have taken this week off from writing instead of last week. (Did ya miss me?) Hindsight, and all that. We took a little family vacay to Great Wolf Lodge this past weekend. This place is what would happen if Vegas and Lord of the Flies had a baby that was adopted by Disney World. A-MA-ZING (although you may not think so from that description, but whatever). We did the water park, the arcade, the bowling alley, story time, and some weird wand game called MagiQuest, all within 36 hours and without ever having to take off our PJs. Well, except to go into the water park. The kids loved it and the adults had a great time, too.
I am not telling you all of this to make you jealous of my PJ-wearing, but to tell you about the buffet. Buffets and I are not friends. Or at least we shouldn’t be. I always walk into a buffet with a very skeptical eye, like, how good could this mass-produced, chaffing dish-heated food really be? I started off well: a salad and water for lunch. Way to go, me! But it only went downhill from there. Dinner was a bona fide eating frenzy, as was breakfast the next day. Try as I may, I cannot resist the siren call of the buffet, luring me back for just one more course. Because I definitely needed, like, six different breakfast meat courses.
Robin Raskin blogs about her weight loss journey every Thursday on Be Well Philly. Catch up on the series here, and follow her on Twitter at @RobinRaskin. Join Robin’s Healthy Recipe Swap Facebook group here.