Friday, May 31, 2013

MIA, MEGA Stress, Letting Go During A Crisis

I've been MIA for a few months now. I have gained 30 lbs. You might think I should be ashamed as a blogger who writes about weight loss, but hopefully you'll understand once I explain. And hopefully I have learned something that I can share with you.

You see, after going through the incredible stress of a loved one being abused during the 3 weeks of her marriage, things were just settling down and life was finally moving on when my Dad was severly injured while on a mission trip in Honduras. Six months later he is now beginning to re-discover the happiness he once knew, only now as a paralyzed quadriplegic.
Read more about his story here: Support/Updates for Bro James Miller

After he was injured, I happened to be the lucky daughter who was in the right place in life to be able to be there for my parents. My siblings all have jobs or young children. I, on the other hand, have kids who are 8 and 10 years old who could stay with family for a while, we homeschool, I stay at home, so I had no obligations that couldn't be put on hold for a while.

I have spent quite a bit of time with them over the last few months but even if I hadn't been there, the stress of seeing my parents go through this has been incredible! Because he was uninsured, the whole mess has been rather complicated. I'll spare the details but I want to share with you what I have learned about weight loss during this time.

[Not to sound like a drama queen or anything, but in the middle of my Dad's crisis, my husband accidentally discharged a bullet through his hand, shattering bones, tendons, ligaments, etc and ending his current career and adding a new business venture to our lives. I'm ok. Really.]

What I've Learned

1) It can be impossible to try to lose when under immense amounts of stress.
In my case, I wasn't able to even hold my weight down, let alone try to lose. During the last few months, I didn't care if I had to be carried around in a wheelbarrow because I was so large - I could NOT even think about eating right. I was in survival mode. When I turned to food because I needed comfort, no one could have talked me out of eating until I could eat no more. I had no control over my eating once my brain had switched from "I'm ok" to STRESSED. I tried at first, but life was just too overwhelming. I also didn't have a lot of control over the food choices available at times.

2) Stress can cause intense sugar cravings.
I didn't just eat healthy foods, I especially wanted ice cream and chocolate. ALL THE TIME.

3) Once you're stressed, even when the stress starts to go away, you may be only a small incident away from being unable to deal with the stress again.
I would think I was ok and life was moving on and merely the slightest bit of stress would have me searching the cabinets for chocolate again.

As I gained weight, I had to buy more clothes. I bought the next two sizes as I grew but when I reached the third size up, I had had enough! I decided to go back to Weight Watchers for a month or two for help. I hated to admit it, but I REALLY needed help! I didn't have the right mentality to lose weight.

After the first month of Weight Watchers, I literally weighed .2 lbs more than when I had started. I felt frustrated and wanted to give up. My new eating habits were harder to overcome than the first time I had lost weight. Somehow though, after nearly 5 weeks of trying, I have finally started getting the hang of it and am losing weight again.  (Update 9-24-13: My 2 months with WW were completely unsuccessful. I had to get my stress under control before I could even consider trying to eat right.)

Is This You?

Guys, if you're dealing with stress, and in survival mode, instead of worrying about your weight, you need to be concerned about your stress. You need to realize what that stress is doing to your body. After going through the first round of stress, my adrenals were shot. After this ordeal with my dad, my thyroid has been affected.
Read more about Sugar Cravings, Adrenals, and Stress here.

Find a way to manage your stress. Talk to a therapist, if you can, to help you through your ordeal. I don't have the answers for stress because I didn't handle it that well, but I would like to encourage you to go easy on yourself if you're dealing with a crisis. Don't let your weight add to your stress. My weight, the way I looked with more weight, my clothes not fitting, etc was a huge stress to me. I wish I had just accepted my weight and not allowed it to add to my problem.

There are natural options to help your body deal with stress. I like stress mints. Rescue Remedy is known to be very helpful. I'm now taking a supplement called GABA that I wasn't familiar with before that was recommended to me by a health food store rep who personally tried both GABA and stress mints and said GABA works MUCH better. It does seem to help. I haven't felt that stressed or found myself stress eating lately.

After the Crisis

If you get off track like I did, don't be afraid to ask for help. I turned to Weight Watchers but I'm serious about getting back off after a couple of months. They're even worse about taking your money than they used to be. I feel like they are giving us even less information now to keep us coming back. There is less info on the meeting room walls and you have to come to 2 meetings just to get the gyst of how the program works (of course, I already knew, but I really needed the reminder). The point system (tracking) has been very helpful to remind me how food effects my waist. Now that I'm looking back over some of my blogs, I'm remembering even more. Maybe I could have saved my money if I'd just read my own blog first. :) Now I figure that out...

Now I Remember...

Clean up my environment. If there are nutter butters in the house, I will eat them. I cannot resist those things. They are a trigger food.

Keep a fruit bowl stocked, keep a supply of cut up veggies. Fruits and veggies fill in the gaps and keep hunger away.

Use healthy oils to feel more full. I used to put oil on everything I could to fill up quicker. Fats are filling.

Skinny chicks don't eat salad. Eating salad as a diet food is a quick way to get sick of salads. I will only eat a salad if that's what sounds good (and sometimes it does).

Drink more water. Drink 16 ounces before breakfast. And EAT BREAKFAST.

Use low carb meals occasionally to boost weight loss. Eating low carb all the time makes me crave carbs. But throwing in a meal occasionally helps.

Turkey hotdogs, diet soda (occasionally), and 45 calorie bread... taste enough like the "normal" foods to keep you on track during holidays.

Subway and veggies muffins are a good way to get your veggies in.

A DQ Blizzard is not good for weight loss. Ok, that's a no brainer, but it had become a really strong habit of mine lately.

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. Really.

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