Stress and Weight

This blog has been in the works for  a few months now. For some reason I am having a hard time putting my thoughts to paper. Not to mention the little detail of finding the time, since the inspiration for this blog seems to continue on! As with all of my posts, this one is inspired by my life, however this topic deals with a wee demon that has been with me my whole adult life… my weight.

I’ve experienced many levels of stress through out my life. The current stresses I’m dealing with are not even the worst I’ve dealt with and yet my body responds the same way, I gain weight. It is so frustrating and really causes a brutal vortex that feels, at times, impossible to get out of. My energy levels go down, my body aches and I don’t have the energy to exercise. Yet, I move all day every day. Eating becomes another chore, connivence food becomes a solution. To free up time in my schedule, self care appointments get cancelled. Does this sound familiar?

Embracing Stress as a Positive Reaction

Stress is a natural part of life. We all have our own coping strategies and extreme or prolonged stress effects us all in different ways. For me, my body goes into protective mode and I gain weight. I get thicker, almost puffy or swollen. As much as I would prefer the opposite effects, I know that stress induced weight-loss is not any better.

I’ve worried about the negative effects of stress. Not just the weight gain, but the long term effects on my over all health. Back in September a good friend of mine sent me this link to a Ted Talk by Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who “urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.” In this talk McGonigal sites recent studies that showed that people who believed stress is a positive and efficient body response to help you survive that which is causing you the stress, experienced improved health.

Learning to Accept Your Body; The Good, The Bad & The Genetic! 

Running and building a business is stressful in it’s self. You have to love what you do to help balance the stress, but regardless of how much you love what you do, it is still a roller coaster ride of emotions. In the beginning of April we decided that it was time to downsize our home and simplify our life. We spent all of April cleaning, repairing, decluttering and renovating our home so we could list it early in May. This meant that if I was not at the studio teaching, I was at home helping Troy work on the house.

Since all of our energy was going into the house, dinner was a last minute decision and usually consisted of anything that could be cooked quickly or ordered in. Which meant we ate A LOT of pizza! My body does not process convenient food very well. I also tend to skip meals and eat less when I am stressed, ignoring my body’s requests for fuel. So of course my body starts to store everything I take in. It doesn’t know when I am going to fuel up again.

My Gene’s are Strong

My business is fitness. An industry made up of thin, muscular/toned people with flat stomachs. Over the past few months, every morning as I got dressed I would see my belly growing, struggled a bit more to get my tights up over my hips. UGH! It is really hard to LOVE yourself when your stretchy workout clothes aren’t fitting. I know this is my

This is what I will look like at 90 years old
My Mime Martha (Maternal Grandmother)

body, this is how it responds to stress. But that knowledge doesn’t make it easier to accept. 

My genes are strong, I come from a long line of round faces and soft hips. If you put my daughters, myself, my mother and grandmother (passed in 2001) in a line you would get a live visual of my aging process. Yep, this picture of my Maternal Grandmother is a great example of what I will look like in my 90’s.

The Solution?

The solution is a work in progress, not a resolution for the New Year. I’ve made weight loss resolutions in previous years and would be hard on myself if I failed. Wanting to loose weight is not a bad thing. We just tend to set high expectations on how and when we will achieve our ideal goal.

This year is about recognizing my limitations. Taking time to take care of myself and accepting that some weeks, I might not be the priority and that is OK.  As Dr. Walker puts it; “Guilt is a powerful emotion. It stops us from feeling good about ourselves, which in turn stops us from making good decisions. Forgiveness is also a powerful emotion. Forgive yourself for your bad days or bad choices – those don’t make you a bad person.”

In 2019 I am committed to taking care of myself and my family. To get in a private session a week, so that my body is getting the workout it needs. I am going to improve my relationship with food, see it as welcomed break in my day and a good thing I do for my body. Time to start living and stop worrying about things we cannot control.