Dealing with Stress
After weight loss surgery, it’s very important to find ways of dealing with stress that don’t involve food. Emotional eating is one of the quickest ways to sabotage your weight loss success. Working to understand your emotions and their triggers will help you come up with healthy ways to prevent or cope with them.
Every evening, make notes in a diary or journal of all the events that bothered you at work, at home, with your family, with your friends, or with perfect strangers. Having a record of what causes you stress is the first step toward understanding and dealing with the problem.
Once you’re aware of your triggers based on the historical data in your journal, you can better head off stress attacks as they occur. For example, maybe you feel stressed in the morning when your boss explains her expectations for your day. Think about what could be causing your anxiety in this situation. Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you’re expected to accomplish? Or perhaps you feel comfortable with your workload, but the face-to-face confrontation makes you anxious. Identifying these possibilities and working to understand your stress triggers is extremely important; after all, before you can come up with a solution, you have to know what the problem is.
Dealing with New Stress
Sometimes after weight loss surgery, new stress rears its ugly head in the form of group meals. If your group of friends tends to gather around meals, they’re likely to be understanding of your new needs. Try suggesting a new activity that you can do together. For example, if the weather is nice, you could suggest a weekly group walk.
If your job requires you to entertain clients, or if your company provides food at meetings, be prepared to explain why you’re not eating much or why you’re eating the food you brought with you. Usually, responses like “I’m on a strict diet” or “I had a big breakfast” don’t prompt further questions.
Quick Fixes for Stress
If you find yourself tempted to turn to food when a situation gets stressful, try these healthier coping methods:
- If you can, physically remove yourself from the situation. A quick walk is good for you and can be calming.
- Chew some sugar-free gum. The act of chewing can be satisfying if you’re not actually hungry.
- Try some easy relaxation techniques. During stressful moments, make sure to take slow, deep breaths. If you feel stressed at the end of the day, consider taking up yoga or buying a relaxation CD.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand so that, if you do eat in response to stress from time to time, you’ll be making smart food choices.