Stress is contagious

Numbers first: 221, down 1, but woooo, did my fat percentage go up, to 47.1.

OK, first week of the challenge, and my goal this week was to journal everything, rather than let myself fake it out. And that accounts for only losing one pound (as opposed to the pile you get when you change your eating habits). I journaled everything, and according to my journal, as of last night, I'm about 15 points in the hole, so the only reason I lost this week was either some residuals from prior weeks, or the bike riding I started catching up doing.

Saturday I'd gone to girl scout camping leader training, and while the food wasn't exactly watcha call "diet food" I'd stayed in range and was journaling everything. The problem came when I went to a friend's house for an evening BBQ/party. It wasn't a celebration of sorts, though. My friend had just gotten (or perhaps just faced) some bad news about a family member and he was doing the right thing to deal with what is going to be a long-term source of stress for him by surrounding himself with his friends. Unfortunately for me, he also surrounded himself with plenty of wine and cheese and other flex points busters.

The thing was, I didn't have any wine (too tired to deal with alcohol) but that's not why I binged on the cheese. My friend was stressed out, there were a couple other people there with stress in their lives, and I learned just how contagious stress is. And I am definitely a stress eater. Some people medicate their stress with alcohol; I medicate with food. So admidst the laughs and fun that go with just brining a bunch of old friends together, there were the subtle and constant reminders of the sources of stress, which I internalized and fed by popping piece after piece of cheese or chips into my mouth. I just got stressed watching my friends this way, and because I was in a relaxed state from earlier in the day, I just went on auto pilot. I don't even remember what that cheese tasted like. I just pounded it. I finally stopped myself, feeling terribly unhealthy (and thus not in a state to be helpful to my friend anyway), bid my farewells, and left. I pulled out my points journal, wrote it all down, and beat myself up over it. Breaking 20 year old habits is wrong.

The next day I got up and rode a good 30 miles on my bike, which is a better way to shake the stress. Still, it doesn't make up for the bad behavior to begin with. I've got to learn to anticipate these things better and stop reaching for medication. Because food in this case isn't nourishment. It's medication, and when it comes to stress, medication only attacks the symptoms, not the cause.

OK, theme for this week (back to basics) is WATER. I've been living on diet soda, and not drinking enough water. 40 oz a day, minimum. I will journal this.


Lori said…
Ah, cheese. My kyptonite. My in-laws live in Milwaukee and I would beg to go to a cheese shop. At least it wasn't fried cheese curds.

It's hard to break old habits. The fact that you're recognizing it and doing things like cycling is fabulous.

And yes, I need to drink more water too. Good luck!

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