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Recognizing Your Triggers and Avoiding Old Habits

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 28 this week:  -2.5 lbs.
Change overall:  -56 lbs.

I’ve been feeling a bit stressed lately – and I’m determined to make sure it doesn’t affect my eating habits.

My birthday’s coming up next week, which always makes me introspective and a little bit tense.  I’m moving to a new apartment two days later and have not even begun to pack.  The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is just barely a month away and my training and fundraising are distressingly behind schedule.  And those are just the “special” stresses – I’m not even talking about the little things that come up in work and life every day!

When I went for a 4-mile walk last night and headed to my regular Tuesday night spot afterwards anticipating the salad I always get, only to be told that there was a situation that had caused the kitchen to close early – I honestly didn’t know what to do. 

Throwing off my routine apparently renders me pretty useless.

After looking at take-out menus for a good 10 minutes I finally settled on a salad that was nothing like what I wanted and had a few high-calorie additions to it.  I was only planning on eating half of it, but I ate the whole thing plus a roll, which I was not happy about.  I was also not happy about the chocolate sorbet and Weight Watchers mini-cakes I had when I got home.

Now, to put things in perspective… the salad had some plain grilled chicken and a little bit of mozzarella cheese on it.  The roll was a small multi-grain one.  And I only used half the low-cal dressing.  The sorbet was fat-free and about 200 calories, and the mini-cakes were less than 100 calories each. 

I felt like I was binging out of control, but in reality, I simply overate a little. 

This morning, I woke up, went to the gym, and was back in my routine.  So, I guess that’s what this week is about: putting things in perspective. 

What would have happened six months ago is that I would have gotten upset about the overeating last night and skipped the gym this morning.  Then I would have weighed myself and berated myself and splurged on a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a big bagel for breakfast. 

Since I’m going to a play tonight with some girlfriends, I might have decided that I’m clearly stressed out, and in need of a drink and I would have had a martini or glass of wine at dinner.  And tomorrow I would have been bummed that I’d had a whole “bad” day and who knows how I would have continued to “comfort” myself with self-sabotaging behavior.

So while the stress hasn’t gone away, I’m relieved that it’s only taken me a day to recognize the start of a pattern that I’m just not willing to fall into again.  My routine and new habits are actually very comfortable for me – and once I simply take the first step of waking up early and getting out of bed with the right attitude, it’s easy to get things back in gear.

Here are some of the ways I’m trying to deal with stress instead of eating:

1) My favorite: a good walk
Especially in this perfect fall weather. Depending on how stressed I am, I may or may not take my iPod… and I may or may not crank it up really loudly.

2) Going shopping in my closet
Finding something I own that I haven’t been able to wear for a long time is such a great feeling! It helps remind me of how many big steps I’ve taken forward rather than a little step I may have taken backwards.

3) Exercising
It’s amazing how, no matter the mental struggle to get myself out of bed, I always feel better after I get to the gym.

4) A long hot shower
I’m not a bath person. When I need to relax I take a long hot shower and just listen to the running water instead of my thoughts.

5) Wearing something that makes me feel good about myself
When I wear something that makes me feel good, my mood automatically improves. And when my mood improves, I look even better. I got three compliments within an hour of getting to work today. None of my friends know about my struggles last night and they certainly don’t care that I had a roll with my salad and some sorbet and cake – all they know is that I’m wearing a new-ish outfit and I’m smiling and I look a heck of a lot better than I did 6 months ago!

I’m proud of myself for waking up this morning and starting over.  I put on my favorite dress and cute new shoes and I feel good about myself and my progress.

I’m ready to keep forging ahead.


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