One of the major barriers to long-term weight control success is stress eating. Very often when patients have experienced a week in which weight gain occurs, the cause attributed to this is: “I had a lot of stress this week”.
Stress comes in many forms:
- Work related, such as an overbearing boss, project deadlines to meet etc., constant travel with long hours
- Children issues, such as ensuring schedules/homework is maintained, shuffling the children off to after school activities when you have other work/home demands
- Marital/interpersonal conflicts
- Financial issues
- (Fill in many other sources of stress)
Stress, being a negative sensation/feeling/emotion will compel people to offset this negative by doing something “positive”. On an immediate basis, eating a high carb/high sugar food or downing an alcohol containing drink will result in a quick “gratification” that will offset the stress, albeit very temporarily.
Some “stressors” are out of our control. Some examples are: illness, financial market crashes, unreasonable supervisors at work, Covid impacts on our lives, etc.
However, the intent of this entry is to ask everyone to self-analyze whether some of the stressors in your lives are self-induced:
- Do you allow your children to be involved in too many activities?
- Do you take on projects that you really do not need to?
- Do you not allow yourself the time to engage in stress-reduction activities?
Please take a step back and list the “stressors” that may be self-induced to some extent. Do you really need to volunteer your time to a group when you have little-no time for yourself? Do you really need to allow your children to be involved in so many activities that you are basically an Uber for them constantly? Is there another professional position you can take that would result in much less overall stress from work?
Stress will translate into difficulty in controlling weight and the subsequent health and body image issues related to the poor weight control will only worsen overall stress levels. Sort of a vicious cycle indeed.
Please send your comments as to how you “stress-reduce”. I will share these (anonymously of course) with everyone.