(This post has not been edited for errors. These are my raw, honest thoughts.)
I ran into a friend not to long ago who looked fairly good, but a little on the skinny side. I asked him what he had been doing to lose so much weight (He was on the chunky side) and he told me it was stress. I thought to myself, albeit briefly, man what a lucky dude! Not that I wish him to be stressed, but that I react the opposite to stress – I stress-eat; I really do. I like all the comfort foods and the non-comfort foods. I not only eat, but i eat a lot. Most people don’t realize that even eating a lot of healthy food can be bad for you and cause weight gain. My weight has fluctuated so much throughout the years that I keep a couple of sizes of pants just in-case.
Psychologists say that this well-meaning collaboration between the brain and the body is an attempt to put a brake on the runaway machinery of chronic stress. (I read this a couple of years ago in a Psychology Today article – Google it if you need to)
This is something i have struggled with most of my life. Even though i have been mostly healthy and fit, I have had the tension of stress-eating since childhood. Whether it be struggling along through my parents divorce, a traumatic childhood experience, Jr. high and High school failures and teen drama, or adult issues, I have had the propensity to stress-eat. The only time that I didn’t default to this mechanism was throughout my 20’s, which I was relatively healthy and fit (Funny though, because my 20’s was personally my least disliked period in my life).
Struggling with atypical depression (chronic stress… Not all stress is bad or unhealthy) causes atypical forms of coping with it. The mind and body weren’t meant to deal with stress that is constant and everlasting, nor was it meant to absorb and digest processed foods unhealthy copious amounts.So what do people like me do? I have found that if I do not have an alternative outlet other than eating, i will put on the pounds and add to my already dubious or suspect stress load. When I go for a run or indulge myself in reading or writing I have found my focus is no longer on myself and my problems, but freedom from being addicted to self and what I think the world expects of me.
Thats the key isn’t… Not being focused on self. We are all narcissistic to some degree. We are all concerned about what others think of us, concerned with pleasing our wants and desires. When we don’t get our way or what we want, or meet the expectations of others so that they think of us in good light, we begin to form a condition of unhealthy stress and an unhealthy way of dealing with it. For me it looks a lot like the hunger games… Focusing beyond ourselves and past our circumstances can help us move to a place in life with a healthy balance of stress and freedom.
A wise person once said, “… set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is yourlife, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Paul ~ Colossians 3:1-4)
Focusing on someone or something greater than ourselves or our situation will remind us of who we belong to and where we really belong. This world and it’s falible circumstances or situations aren’t our distinction nor where we reside. Focusing on someone or something greater than ourselves or our situation will also help us not make the mistakes or screw-ups that seem to define us at times.
One thing I desire to live by daily, moment by moment is to decrease so that Jesus may increase. (John 3:30)… Because of this, Chex Mix Bold Party Blend every now and then is eaten out of joy and not out of stress.