Recently, I dealt with some emotional distress and I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle. You know the one – where you find yourself
Dealing with an emotional/physical problem
Eating comfort food
Sleeping more than normal
After a week of this, you find yourself 5-7 or maybe even 10 pounds heavier than normal! Am I right?
I wrote about this vicious cycle in a previous post, but I want to remind you (and myself) of how important it is to GET OUT OF THAT CYCLE AS SOON AS YOU CAN.
One of the biggest reasons we need to exercise is to take away stress and anxiety. Most of the time, I don’t even realize I am stressed or anxious until I start exercising and feel how tight my muscles are, especially around my jaw and face (where I have been clenching my teeth). Clenching and grinding are signs of inner turmoil, like anxiety – see this article. Once your emotional stress has been knocked out with exercise, your physical cravings for sleep and comfort food will diminish, and you will be able to return to your normal diet and sleep schedule. Your emotional issue may not be completely gone, but at least you will have the mental strength to deal with it in a positive way.
Another sure way of knowing that exercise is just what we needed is the natural high we experience post-workout. Personally, I am happy and optimistic, I feel emotionally stable again, and I feel like I can handle whatever today throws at me!
As far as dealing with emotional eating, I can only refer you to this article by WebMD and tell you that I was on #4 for the past week. I was (at one point) 10 pounds over my goal weight this past week. Once again, my scale was a useful tool in helping me gauge my progress on this journey. I realized I was WAY off course and needed to get back to what works for me: walking 3 miles 3 times a week, eating a plant-based diet, and getting off the couch!
We are all affected by an emotional or physical issue that hinders us from gaining forward motion in pursuit of our healthy goals. It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN. It is my sincere hope that when you are faced with an emotional or physical issue, you will remember some of these words of encouragement. We’ve all been there. But the sooner you get off the couch and back to your routine, the sooner you will blast out of that vicious cycle that keeps you down and out.
Best wishes to you as you make progress on your mental/physical/health journey.