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Coping with extreme stress



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KELLY_R
Posts: 2,858
10/5/11 3:43 P

I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. :(

I can say for me that managing stress is something that comes with time and a different sort of lifestyle change - here at SparkPeople, you're changing your physical life with healthy eating and fitness.

But stress doesn't only get managed through eating the right foods and working out. It can help, yes, but your emotional self requires attention, too.

I've found for me that I get the best emotional healing through support of loving friends and family - and being willing to open up and say "Hey. I'm hurting, would you be willing to listen to my fears without offering me advice?" It's tough to find people that don't want to offer you suggestions of what to do (hey - even I'm doing it right now!!). But I find when I voice my fears in the open with safe people, I start to feel better emotionally and the stress starts to diminish.

It's so tough to recognize we're powerless over a loved one's distress, injury or illness. We can get wrapped up in wanting to DO something but when there's nothing we really can do, it upsets us and causes stress.

I'd recommend talking it through with your close friends and family. If you're religious, take it to your religious family, or perhaps even discuss these things with a counselor. The one thing I can say about counseling, however, is that it doesn't feel quite as healing as it does when I talk with people whom I know really care about me, or talking with people who know what it's like to go through what I'm experiencing. As SparkPeople is a community for those of us going through a weight loss journey, there are other support groups for friends and family of people going through trauma as well.

I wish you serenity in these difficult times. Know you're loved and cared about.



FREYA111
SparkPoints: (1,327)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 23
10/5/11 1:58 P

So sorry to hear about what's going on with your family. Extreme stress is hard for staying on our food plan, and you're right - the stress makes our body hang onto weight.

I would recommend just sticking as close as possible to your meal plan. When you feel ravenous, check in with yourself to see what kind of ravenous it is. If it's ravenous for comfort food, fatty/salty/sugary snack foods, then try telling yourself that food will not solve your problems. Sometimes just acknowledging that I want to eat for emotional reasons will make it easier for me to avoid overeating. If you're ravenous and are craving grilled chicken breast, string cheese, or other boring foods that are clearly about "fuel" rather than comfort, then eat some more food. Your body is handling a lot of challenges right now and starving it is not going to help anything.

I hope everything works out really soon.



BEARCLAW6
SparkPoints: (27,813)
Fitness Minutes: (15,376)
Posts: 1,939
10/5/11 11:29 A

I've been going through a pretty tough time lately, too (both parents are in health crisis, marriage is shaky, job is laying people off and I've been traveling). I try to keep my health as the one place I still have some healthy control over my life. I make sure not to skip a meal and I stay as close to my eating plan as I can. I also try to fit a little exercise in when I can, while it is walking instead of my favored biking. You need to keep some healthy eating (at least as close as you can) to help with the stress. The last thing you need is to get sick, too.



BIZGIRL84
SparkPoints: (12,437)
Fitness Minutes: (22,243)
Posts: 40
10/5/11 10:39 A

Hi SparkPeople,

So this week I've had two of my three little sisters in the hospital - one with surgery who is recovering and another who has a week yet on a pregnancy that has been really really difficult. I feel absolutely helpless and haven't been sleeping well at all which I believe could be increasing my body's production of cortisol because I've been ravenously hungry. For the first time in four months went over my calorie allotment last night, woke up this morning to my weekly weigh in and found I've gained three pounds despite working out harder than usual (an attempt to relieve stress) and only being over on calories last night. I found out last year when my grandpa was on life support and then died that I really do not manage my stress well when it comes to family and medical issues beyond my control.

So my question is how do you manage exceptionally stressful (possibly traumatic) times?



 
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