Unfortunately, when I feel stressed and my routines are thrown off, I tend to exercise less, eat more sugary foods, and want to drink more alcohol (particularly wine--which is sugary!). Quite honestly, all I've wanted to do for the past two weeks is sit on the couch, overeat, and drink.
According to this article from Harvard Medical School, I'm not the only one that this happens to! In fact, the corisol in our brains that is released during prolonged stress is what causes those desires to overeat. Additionally, the sugary foods seem to inhibit the feelings of stress, which really does make them comfort foods for us!
While I have felt very happy when I'm eating sweets and drinking wine in the evenings lately, I've noticed a little added cushion on me, particularly in the waist area! And now I'm frustrated with myself for not taking care of myself. So yesterday, I decided it's time for Operation: Healthy Stress-Busting and got right to it!
Attacking the Sugar Cravings
I came home wanting something sweet (no surprise!), but I bypassed the Dunkin' drive-thru in favor of a healthy snack that would satisfy those cravings.
I mixed some vanilla Chobani with some cherry vanilla granola I received in my latest NatureBox. I've gotta say, this was DELICIOUS! My sweet tooth AND my desire for something crunchy were both satisfied. In addition, I got in some protein and the sugar was natural, non-processed. Satisfying and good for me? I'll take it!
Other healthy snacks I plan to have that'll satisfy the sweet tooth: Nature Valley Protein Bars, making overnight oats with a little sweetener, and fruit smoothies.
Attacking the Laziness
I know how great I feel after a workout, but when I'm stressed, the last thing I want to do is go somewhere else (the gym) rather than just go park it on the couch. Yesterday, I decided to put on some new leggings I bought myself and head to a BodyPump class.
Yes, those are Lululemon! I bought them at my yoga studio as an early birthday present to myself, and I've gotta say, they make me smile. Plus, after the class, I felt great! BodyPump certainly helped reduce my feelings of stress and got me a little relaxed.
I have a few ideas on how to continue attacking the laziness as I mentioned yesterday when I shared my ZOOMA Chicago training plan. I plan to do a separate post on those ideas after seeing how they work. I do know that exercise will help reduce stress (and keep off those pounds due to stress eating), so I plan to make that a priority through the end of school and beyond.
Reducing Additional Stress
Housework is a huge source of added stress for me. Joe has been SUCH a huge help since he's been in clinic getting a lot of the chores done when he's at home, but there's still my usual chores and general cleaning to deal with. Instead of being overwhelmed with all that needed to be done, here are some of the things I started to do yesterday (and plan to continue):
- Getting laundry started right when I get home. That way, it'll be ready to go to the dryer once I've taken care of other things.
- Putting clothes in the hamper/hanging them back up right away. I usually let them pile up either on the bed post or in front of the closet, but it's been so nice to have the clothes put away!
- Washing dishes as I go. It makes for a faster, more stress free clean-up after dinner when the dishes aren't all piled up!
Oh, and lots of cuddle time with these guys will certainly help reduce my stress!
I'm excited about my plans for Operation: Healthy Stress-Busting, and I hope that I'll develop habits that will continue even when the stress is gone!
Question for you: What are some healthy ways that you beat stress in your life?