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The Stress Factor

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This month I have found myself in a battle with the stress factor once again. This seems to be the single biggest challenge I face in my struggle to lose weight and to make any changes to improve my health (and I suspect I am not alone). I’ve completed Spark’s Stress Busting Challenge and I can manage mild to moderate stress fairly well, but when the moderate to high stress times hit my health struggles become major mountains. Here are a few of the areas the Stress Factor hits the hardest for me:
1) Exercise becomes nonexistent. For me, as stress levels go up, energy levels go down. I manage it make it through work and then when I get home I sit on the couch and even the simplest task is just more than I can manage. Exercise is well beyond even being considered.
2) Nutrition quality goes down. I can usually manage to stay within my calorie range, but I eat whatever is easiest and a lot of comfort foods. Freggies go away almost entirely.
3) Sleep generally becomes difficult to come by. I have difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep and when I do sleep I have nightmares so it is not a restful sleep.
4) Water is generally replaced by caffeinated beverages to help get through the day with no sleep.
5) Emotionally when I am stressed I go into hiding. I stop communicating with my friends and loved ones. I stop posting on social media, stop calling or emailing, talk to my spouse less, and even at work I tend to spend as much time as I can in my office and talk to co-workers as little as I can. Here on Spark - I read other's blogs, or posts, but I am not likely to respond any more than clicking 'like', if I even manage that. Yes - I recognize this is probably the opposite of what I should do, but social interaction is always difficult for me and when I am under stress, it simply becomes impossible.

I have read many articles on 'being ready to lose weight' that say you shouldn’t try to lose weight when you are in a highly stressful situation. That you should wait until things get better so you are in a better place to be more successful. Honestly, I don’t know very many people today who can afford to wait until they are not in a highly stressful time of life to try to lose weight or improve their health. For far too many of us we live most of our lives in a succession of highly stressful situations.
I haven’t figured out yet how to deal with the Stress Factor in my life, but it is battle I will continue to fight. I know I don’t fight alone and would love to hear how others cope with trying to improve their health when stress is stealing their will and their energy.
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.