Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Still Dealing with Stress Eating

I know this topic is getting old, but it's something I'm still dealing with. And honestly, it's a process rather than a product anyway, so it makes sense that I'm back in this space to reflect and generate new strategies going forward.

I've been trying to exercise regularly and get my eating into a healthy pattern. Before I focus on what I'm not doing and what's not working, I should celebrate the progress I've made. I am now exercising an average of two times a week! (The exclamation mark is a forced attempt to celebrate something that feels very small). But this is not the time for self-judgement--I'm going to celebrate my two times a week! It's progress for sure.

And I still have a plan for fitting in that third day--I just need to schedule it on Sunday so I follow through with it.

And stretching before bed. I just need to do it. It needs to be a non-negotiable, like teeth-brushing (although I have to confess that I sometimes crash at 7:30pm after Tate goes to sleep and I skip my oral hygiene routine all together).

So when I brush and floss my teeth, I also need to stretch. Why do I struggle to fit this into my life right now? Because it hurts and it's not fun. But it is necessary, so I need to just make myself do it. It can be as short as a three-minute process.

And then there is the eating. Dealing with the surface issues is not enough. Trying to put routines in place to regulate my eating is not working. I still need to have those things, but I also need to approach it from an internal place.

Let me think about it from an external place first:
  1. Exercising one more time per week is likely to motivate me to eat better. It's a neat cycle once it's in play. The more I exercise, the healthier I want to eat and the healthier I eat the better I feel and the more I want to exercise. 
  2. Matt and I have done a really good job of cooking meals nearly every night (thanks to bulk prep on Sunday or food ingredients delivery on Monday). But there are those nights when we're both too stressed or tired to cook even an easy meal. It's so much more fun to walk to the restaurant in our neighborhood. I think on those nights it would help to have healthy frozen pizzas on hand. They are truly quick and easy and healthier than the food we eat when we go out. 
  3. State my intentions: I really, really need Matt's help on this front. I need him to stop suggesting that he go pick up dessert for us (oh how delicious ice cream tastes at the end of a stressful day!). I think it would also help for my colleagues to know my intentions. I might be more likely to hold myself accountable if I could talk about my progress with them every day. 
  4. Start with a healthy breakfast. I've been slipping into the routine of grabbing a protein bar rather than making a green smoothie. I need the vitamins and the fiber and the calcium.
  5. Commit to a morning snack. I'm hungry around 10am and I need to have an easy, go-to snack so I'm not setting myself up over eat at lunch. Maybe I'll do a cheese stick in the morning and fruit in the afternoon. 
  6. Find something healthy that also brings me joy. Matt and I have been trying to go out on a date lunch once a week. It is so tempting to go out for something and unhealthy. We need to find a spot that's healthy and fun. Maybe Eastside CafĂ©? Or sushi? Or sandwiches? 
  7. So that would cover breakfast, snacks, dinner, and dates. When else do I find myself overeating or gravitating toward something unhealthy? Lunchtime. I think we should just stocked up on inexpensive healthy frozen meals. I hate the packaging and processed nature but it feels like a necessary evil right now. 
Those are the primary things I can control externally. So what's going on internally? It feels like a whole other post? 

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Bernadette said...

I think you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Two workouts a week is great! I only get one and I'm very proud of myself for even getting the one. I'm simply too tired to even attempt a second one.
So I guess all I wanted to say is: You're doing great! Don't stress yourself with a forced schedule you just can't keep right now.

The Chawmonger said...

Hey Sara! It has been forever since we've communicated, but I still often read your blog when it pops up in my FB feed -- very happy for you about all the positive changes (work & personal) that have happened since the book :-)

Anyway, I am by no means an expert on this topic. But from my own experience, I would say that trying to cut out ALL the "comfort food" from your life at once is going to make you feel deprived and bummed out. In my case, it would also make me instantly backslide (just reading your post made me want a cookie!). Why not save unhealthy but yummy treats for special occasions, like your dates with Matt, and allow yourself to indulge and enjoy at those times guilt-free? Food serves a lot of purposes in a healthy life, IMHO, and one of those is pleasure! You're doing no one any favors to deny yourself that. Plus, having something specific (and delicious) to look forward to might motivate you better to moderate your eating day-to-day. Just a thought.

The Chawmonger said...

Oh, PS, this is Chandler -- sorry, it used my old blogger name for the post!

Meghan & Dave said...

You may find it easier to stretch in the morning when you wake up, as your (hopefully) nice and warm from being under the covers all night. Just a thought.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Chandler! So great to "see" you around here!

I totally agree about indulging in moderation. I didn't mean to sound like I was trying to cut out all deliciousness from my life. We go out to eat every Friday and Saturday night, so I try to reserve my unhealthy indulgences for those times. Since I'm already eating two unhealthy meals a week, that's why I'm trying to eat healthy at lunches, breakfasts, and weekday dinners. I aim for healthy about 80% of the time.

Elizabeth said...

I appreciate your honesty about this! My immediate thought as someone who teaches pre and postnatal yoga is that you are still in your postpartum period (which is at least one but often said to be two years). Be so easy on yourself. I too am someone who thrives on goal setting and accountability so I also realize that you are not being necessarily hard on yourself but more trying to do what may help you. That said, in many ways you may be climbing an uphill battle against postpartum brain chemistry and hormones. There's also the reality of life caring for two small children (I'm right there with you with three four and under!) where even if you are blessed to have things running pretty smoothly, you're caring for others all.the.time and can sometimes just want a treat for just you!

Heather H. said...

You may already know about this, but it's pretty easy to make delicious homemade frozen pizzas (if you can find the time). Just par-bake the crusts for about 10 minutes, so the dough is set but has not started to color yet. Then cool, top with your favorite toppings, wrap in foil, and freeze for an easy meal later on. I frequently bake all the crusts one day and then top them the next.

Betsy said...

I love Amy's frozen burritos (the Indian and Breakfast Tofu are my favorite but the Mexican ones are good too) when I am busy. The book Women, God and Food is a good one for the internal side. You are very brave. Be gentle with yourself!

Shaun said...

Off topic a little-- I love your shoes in this post. Where are they from? And, are they comfortable?

Rebecca said...

I like Heather's idea - we make homemade pizza all the time, but it would be great to have some frozen to make immediately. We just bought a small chest freezer so this is the perfect time to try.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Shaun! I can only wear comfortable shoes! They are Dansko's. Love them.

Missy J said...

Hi, I feel you! In fact, I just ate finished a yogurt oat slice after my 18 month-old toddler finally slept at 11.30pm, sigh!
Try joining a Zumba class?! It's my longest (7 months) regular exercise commitment in my entire life! From my initial once a week class, sometimes I can now attend up to 3 different instructors' class in a week! Why? Because it's fun...& addictive! I've made many new friends & enjoyed moving to infectious pop tunes & different beats! One can easily burn 600-800 calories in an hour's class.
With a slow carb diet (Google "The 4-hour Body"), Zumba helped me lost 10kg+ after I gave birth to my 3rd child.
My toddler is sleeping with me in the same bedroom but on the floor, I want to re-decorate my bedroom but still incorporate her floor mattress & increase her play area; that's how I stumbled upon your website. Thank you for sharing useful information. :)
Good luck & God bless your family!

Missy J said...

Oh, did I forget to mention that the slow carb diet as prescribed in "The 4-Hour Body" book includes a Cheat Day where you can happily indulge in whatever food you want, how much you want?! My Cheat Day is Saturday which is also my family's eat out day followed by Couple's date night! ;)

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