“When I feel broken, I act broken…”
I said those words to my therapist a few months ago and I’ve been repeating it to some of my weight loss clients as well.
It’s a difficult thing, our individual responses to stress and how we allow it to dictate what we do in our lives, our relationships, with our diets and how we treat our bodies.
Once upon a time, my only response to stress and emotional turmoil was to turn to drugs. There was rarely a shortage of them and rather than find a way UP from my rock bottom, I’d grab a shovel and keep digging (more stress = more drugs to cope with stress).
Think about that with weight loss.
When you’re stressed, what food (or drink, such as alcohol) do you turn to?
Recently, one of my clients highlighted my point perfectly:
“When I feel like shit, I eat like shit.”
Let’s break it down further.
Eating “like shit” can mean different things. It can mean “too much” of a healthy food or poorer quality food by comparison (what many term, ‘junk food’).
Drugs may be long in my rearview mirror but that doesn’t mean I don’t have counterproductive responses to stress. For me, historically, a big stress outlet is retail therapy. If I’m sad, bored, stressed, or feeling resentful about something, that dopamine rush of buying something new is a quick surge of short-lived pleasure. (Thank you, Amazon, for making that problem infinitely easier to disappear into).
If I were chronically broke and struggling to pay my bills, my accountant (Hi, Deb!) would say to me: Well, you know Jason, you did spend $XXX on Amazon last month. Don’t you think you could pull it back a bit?
Treat your food in a similar manner. If we view our eating behaviors on that kind spectrum of “this gets me closer to my goal” and “this takes me further from my goal.” That’s one perspective to take.
I always like to highlight the way my friend and fellow coach, Kelly Coffey says it: “Is this the most caring thing I can do for myself right now?”
Personally, I like the visual part, hence the picture attached to this article. When you’re down, what do you do? Grab the rung of the ladder and pull up or grab the shovel and dig deeper?
The beauty of hitting “rock bottom”, whatever that looks like for you, is that you are literally one choice (one rung) away from a change of scenery and a change of outcomes.
Your stress, your response to stress, is your personal battle. If you look at your life and your weight loss progress with the view of “Well, this was a stressful day/week so I’m not stepping on the scale”. You have the data to tell you that food is your outlet for stress.
Focus on that. Put down the shovel.
Or, keep digging. Your choice.
For me, it’s never perfect. Sometimes I climb, sometimes I dig. I just know intimately what rock bottom feels like and I’ll be damned if I’ll go there again.
“We Make Great People Greater”