Classes started here at Western Kentucky University (shown above) just over a week ago.
The first week was cake—it’s always cake—but now the second week is real, and I find myself considering doing nutty things. Things like…
… cutting my workouts
…eating in front of the computer or TV
…staying up late and sleeping in
…snacking all day long
…giving up on my routine
…eating late at night
…and on and on an on.
This is clearly happening because stress is setting in. I already have scores of assignments to grade, dozens of lessons to plan, hundreds of email messages to answer, etc.
And my solution seems to be to want to eat as much food as I can put in my mouth and throw my healthy habits out the window.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when you’re stressed, “you may rapidly eat whatever’s convenient, without even enjoying it.”
I’m at the point where I don’t even remember anything I’ve eaten for the past forty-eight hours, much less if I enjoyed it.
I know the one thing I can’t do to help me get through this is not give into self-flagellation. As the Mayo Clinic advises: “This can also lead to an unhealthy cycle—your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for getting off your weight-loss track, you feel bad, and you overeat again.”
Repeat after me: don’t beat yourself up.
What they do advise is managing your stress with relaxation exercises like yoga and meditation, letting the hunger pass, making a list of what you’ve eaten, asking family or friends for support, doing something else fun, avoiding grocery shopping, having occasional treats, snacking healthy, learning from mistakes, and focusing on what’s working.
Honestly, that doesn’t sound too different from my steps for healthy living, but maybe all I really need is a reminder to slow down and focus on how to do all the things I know are good for me.
Stop. Breathe. Repeat.