Losing weight is hard. You can have a great plan in place, all the right food in the refrigerator, an exercise routine to follow, and it’s still a battle. One of the biggest obstacles we face is this enemy we call stress.
Stress has become a monster. Sure, you have a great health strategy, but you had a bad day at work. You get “stressed”. So, you make poor choices to cope.
But here’s the thing: stress itself is not actually a bad thing.
No, stress is just your body’s way of telling you to respond to a situation. The problem lies in the way interpret stress, the feelings that are produced because of it, and the ways we choose to cope with those feelings.
Food is just a medicine you’ve prescribed yourself to deal with the feelings that come from stress, not the stress itself.
You see, we’ve trained ourselves to produce certain feelings when we feel stress: anxiety, fear, worry, hopelessness, sadness, etc. We’ve created a story in our heads about what stress means, and we produce unhealthy emotions as a result.
Yes, you need to change your relationship with food, but if you don’t change the story you tell yourself about stress, you’ll just find something else to be addicted to. You will still think you need to cover up your feelings with a “drug”.
You need to live from a new story. It starts by living from the truth of who you are.
Here’s what I mean.
We’ve defined stress as “anything that happens outside of our control.” Early on in life, stress is not really a big deal. Life is mostly carefree and we are generally happy. Then we go to school, build relationships, get jobs, and fill our lives with responsibilities. “Life happens” and before we know it we are stuck in jobs we don’t love, having trouble in our relationships (or unable to find meaningful relationships), and seeing the adverse effects of “stress” on our bodies. It feels like all the things we really want in life are out of reach. We just want to be happy, but we can’t control everything around us. We can, however, control things that make us feel happy for a little while. Like food.
If you are overweight, chances are, you have an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s the drug you’ve chosen to deal with “stress” that has produced unwanted side effects.
Food isn’t necessarily so addicting because of the “anti-stress” feelings it produces. It’s addicting because it provides a sense of control. Anytime you feel stress, you can eat. It’s all in your control.
The question now is, where did this need for control come from? And a follow up, why do certain things cause stress for you and other things don’t? Where did these stressors come from?
Those are complicated questions, with deep-rooted answers. They all point back to your identity.
Who are you?
That’s a question only you can answer. But I can tell you this: you are not the story you tell yourself. You are someone who is believing the story.
When something causes stress, it’s only because you are resisting it. You think that thing shouldn’t be happening so you fight it. You’ve built up an identity based on what shouldn’t be present in your life. It’s a negative perspective on who you are.
If we’re so confident about what shouldn’t be happening, then what about what should be happening?
Where did this story about ourselves and about life come from? And how do we stop living from this old story?
That’s what we’ll tackle next week in part two of this article.
Let’s lose our addiction to stress. Let’s get rid of the story.
For real this time.
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