How to STOP eating your STRESS.

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It seems that one of the most common pitfalls to caregiving is"STRESS-EATING". Let's talk about it and how to overcome it. Post questions, frustrations, success stories, tips and encourage each other as we pursue more healthy life-styles. Excess weight damages our health and if we don't take care of ourselves - who will take care of our loved-ones and also who will take care of Us??? Share your journey here...

16 Comments

Oh My...I ate a blueberry muffin just before reading this, lol.
I have probably gained 30 lbs in the past year (I was about 110 before). I feel awful and my blood pressure is now high. I am certain I am eating due to stress-it is sometimes the only thing that feels positive! That is bad & I need to get control...
I have also gained 25-30lbs in the past two years. I really dislike my body right now. I used to be quite active, hiking several miles a day for exercise...... I am short so 30lbs is a big deal, my clothes look like tents. But I think I have always "eaten my stress". I really noticed it this week - got some stressful news and I caught myself literally feeling "I am freaked out, I need to eat something". That time I was able to walk out of the kitchen, but it took several minutes for that "I need to eat something to make me feel better" to go away.
Good news for some, maybe. If you happen to be qualified for Medicare there is a program called Silver Sneakers you can use. It is a very low cost membership to the YMCA and many other gyms.......it is too hot to walk outside where I am........and besides, the YMCA has some really cool machines to work my flabby thighs.
Check the AARP website for Medicare Supplemental insurance. The Silver Sneakers program is even available on some of the no-cost supplementals from AARP ......no, I do not work for AARP, in fact, I think my membership has expired but you do not have to be a member to purchase your insurances thru them..........
Now, to get out of the house.............
hi beezer and Mary213....I've been stress-eating for a while...I work full-time and was a long-distance caregiver before my mother & father came to live with me this March. My Dad passed away last month. .....Today- I pledge to take care of myself so I can take care of my loved one (Mom).......I have caught myself when something happens that has gotten on my nerves or I'm just feeling stressed due to the circumstances- I head straight to the fridge or to a chip bag for food. i'm not doing that today. i've gained about 15lbs since March and I was already carrying some extra weight before that...so I'm taking this in increments of 15lbs to get to my goal of being healthy and off blood pressure meds...I sit at a desk all day and have edema in my feet and ankles constantly due to being so sedentary plus not exercising combined with my blood pressure meds whose side-effect includes swelling in ankles/feet... I joined a gym in January and haven't gone once since........So...today instead of eating when I am stressed I'm going to write down why I'm stressed and why adding another pound to my weight is not going to help the situation. I'm also going to do an activity towards reaching a goal for myself instead of eating. One of my immediate goals is finding a new job. The stress-eating is taking me further and further backwards instead of forwards... stopping that as of today...
Mom eats cookies, cakes, pies, etc. every day. always has, never had a weight problem.
Me, I look at food and gain weight. So, in my own home I never had junk food, Never. Not even with the kids growing up.
Now, this is Moms house and she has, cookes, cakes, chocolate,etc. I eat it.
For the past two months Mom has been between the hospital and the NH. I got rid of all the junk food. All of it. I eat Healthy Choice meals, I snack on frozen fruit, I cut my soda intake by more than 1/2.
And I have not lost a single pound! Two months! Not a pound.
It is summer now and way too hot and humid to go for a walk in the neighborhood......I should go to the gym. I like a gym. I am happy at the gym......I have some age related knee/ankle problems that make me hesitant to go to the gym.......But mostly, I do not want to go outside. I do not want leave the house. I do not want to get dressed and leave my room.........
.Yes, I have depression. I have a good doctor, I have good meds. I am honest with my doctor.........
.Staying in my room is my way of crawling inside my shell and protecting myself. ....
.People = stress and I am maxed out on stress........
Illogical, I know.....self-defeating, I know. But I just want to stay in my room and be alone. Can't lose weight by staying in my room.
I've been trying to make weight watchers work for years. I got part way down about 5 years ago and lost control when I had gall bladder surgery. Mom and dad moved in in October and Dad died at the begining of april. I started WW online at the end of april and have lost 26 lbs. One book that I was refered to by a WW friend is The Beck Diet Solution. It's not a diet but a way of training yourself to think like a thin person and lose weight. My WW friend has lost over 80 lbs and is still losing. It's a great book and I'm just starting to imipliment its teachings.
Another bit of info I got from her is sugar doesn't slow our hunger it actually blocks the message to the brain that we're full and we don't need to eat, so we continue to eat even when we're full.
Rioblu this is a really great topic to start. You are hitting on something that is common for caregivers. We all have so much stress and we handle it in different ways but I'm sure that eating is a common problem. Mary213 I'm sorry you haven't had success but I would suggest that you might want to investigate WW. They have a great program that helps to remind us of the things we are supposed to eat as well of the ones we need to be careful of. I would like to suggest you watch the sodium in the foods you buy. If you have any concern with it the frozen foods are a likely source of your troubles. But there are things like drinking 6-8 glasses of water or other drinks (hopefully noncaffeinated), good oils, veggies, vitamins, dairy and whole grains. I don't mean to be preachy. I just want to help. I know it's hard to do the job we do. I found AgingCare.com because of the caretakers group on the WW sight. It's given me so much support. When I have a problem or just need a good word I get it there. I just want to spread the word. Thanks for letting me share.
Mrsribit.........................
Thank you for the suggestion about WW. I have used that program in the past and was very happy with the results.............
I use that specific brand of frozen food because it is generally low in sugar, salt and fat. And yes, I try to get that much water down every day. It is easy to forget the basics while under stress..............
Frankly, I also deal with depression and the best foods, fresh fruits and veggies, require going to the story frequently, and I am still "hibernating".............
I am pleased that I got rid of the junk food and that, since I still crave the junk, I have so far been able to avoid driving up to Wendys for a Frostie...............
I suspect my solution will be exercise, and as I said before, I am hibernating..........
Thanks for the ideas, and I will look into that book, too.
Mary, I'm sorry I lectured. I'm sorry for the stress causing seclusion. I do understand. I find that on the days that I have the opportunity to go shopping I don't always want to. I feel better when my husband pushes me to get out. I feel like a normal person for a moment in time. I want you to know that I wasn't saying you were doing it wrong. I have a hard time remembering all the things I need to do to be successful. It helps that when I'm on the WW sight that I have checkoffs that remind me to drink or take my vitamins, something that I do most days but I forget when I'm hibernating (like now on the web). I also don't remember when I ate veggies last. I love fruit, put up with veggies. But I have had a weight problem all my life. It's not related to care giving. So that's probably a big difference. Please forgive me for being a know-it-all. My family all know I'm this way and they just put up with it until I can get it under control.
What exercise do you like, or will you be doing when you decide to venture out. My personal fav is bicycle riding, the real thing. I like to actually get somewhere when I'm working so hard, hehehe
thanks mrsribit....i felt that others are out there dealing with the same issue. well...as an update. on yesterday I did pretty well for my first day of consciously thinking before I go to grab something to eat when I get stressed. During the day at work I did fine...It popped in my mind to get somehting several times during the day when I was stressed about work or if thinking about how I go to work then back home to be a caregiver and that I really don't much chance to have an outside life. I feel like this is on me too early in life (being a full-time caregiver), I'm 43 and I just don't want this to be happening right now. But it is so I have to deal with it.....ok, so when the urge grab a snack happened on yesterday I just stopped myself by thinking as to WHY I wanted to eat & registering it that I was feeling stressed & then I just did somehting else ie. stepping away from my desk to talk to a co-worker, I checked my email, surfed the net for a few mins, went and got some water. Now last night, at home, I did catch myself with my hand in a chip bag and I ate some chips. I was tired and didnt feel like entertaining my mom ....after I get ome she wants to talk which is normal but some days Im just tired & I want to lay down- I dont feel like being being her social outlet ....I dialed some of her rriends back home & she talked to them for a bit...I went to my bedroom & just laid down & then ate the last few honey roasted cashews I had because I felt guilty that I didnt want to talk to/entertain my Mom...so I did very well during the day but I am gonig to have to focus on nighttime eating...One brightspot on yesterday , my mother's aide offered to watch Mom a weekend here & there ..she said she knew I didnt have any help in the area & I was working too hard & I needed time to myself. She really seems to do well w/Mom so I may take her up on that. I am going back to the gym on Monday...wil have to go @ 5:30am because I cant go after work becase I have to come home to care for Mom. so we will see how taht goes. I lost 30lbs about 1.5 yrs ago...all by follwoing the "Dr. Ian Smith Fat Smash Diet" and doing the eliptical machine 4-5 days a week for 45mins to an hour. That machine is like a miracle...it just burns the fat right off and it's not that bad to build up stamina to stay on there for that length of time. so we'll see....
Mrsribit,
No worries, no offense taken.
I am in SW Florida. I like walking, I like hiking, but it is too hot and humid here for me. I will need the gym. And, I am in the process of getting out of my caretaking - I am burned out, and have started the crying/panicking stage. I feel like a total loser for leaving, for abandoning my mother. Maybe when I get back home, have grandkids to play with, I will come out of my hibernation cave.,,,,,,,
...

Oh, helpful hint. Mom likes those veggies in a bag with cheese or sauce. I find them greasy and heavy, so, I zap them as usual, then when done cooking, I open the bag, add some water, swish it around, and then pour out the cheesy-water. I am getting rid of most of the cheese sauce (and a goodly number of the calories) and have a nice pile of reasonably good tasting veggies............. This is not an economical solution and is only good for me - Mom needs the added calories and the added cheese makes it more likely she will eat.

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