Like most women, and especially most writers I know, I seem to live in a constant state of stress. Deadlines, sagging middles (of the story, although now that I think about it...), reviews, promo tours, the list goes on and on. Add to that the reality that writing is a very sedentary job, and I spend hours with my tushie planted in a chair, the only exercise my body gets being my fingers tapping away on the keyboard.
Stress + Sedentary = weight gain.
Then two months ago, I added a new layer to the stress load by buying a new house, putting mine up for sale and going through the crazy dance of moving. Throw in a lender that closed 12 days later than contracted, 2 weeks of all my ‘stuff’ being in a moving truck and a sudden dependence on potato chips and I put on 10 pounds and had to ask myself for the first time – was I a stress eater? I mean, I was definitely stressed. And I was DEFINITELY eating. A lot. Way more than normal, of way out of the normal foods. And I kept telling myself, I’d be fine as soon as the move was over. But still, after a lifetime of figuring any weight gain was metabolic (and that sedentary writer thing adding to the metabolic issue), I had to wonder. Because I was definitely stress eating.
Curious, I did a couple things. First, I found an interesting online eating quiz to take – check it out:
Then I went into observation mode and after the move, spent the last couple weeks watching my eating. I still have stress. I’m under deadline, I’m dealing with a new house and a lot of changes. Reviews are coming in on my September release and I’m gearing up to promote the book. But you know what? Things had changed now that I’m back to normal stresses. I was able to stop and ask myself why I was reaching for a cookie instead of an apple. I might have still went for the cookie anyway, if I hadn’t had any other snacks that day and it was only a single cookie –but I was able to hear that rational voice again. The one that pointed out how much exercise I needed to do already and asked why I wanted to do even more. You know the voice, right? The one that is there, even when you’re stressed, and metaphorically holds your hand through the eating choices and helps guide you in the right direction.
Finding out I’m not necessarily a stress eater was a good thing, even if I did turn to food for comfort during a high-stress time. How about you? Are you a stress eater? Do you turn to food when life’s overwhelming? Any tips on how to stay out of that trap in the future?
It's interesting that Tawny chose this topic for today because yesterday was a high-stress day for me. Combined with the limited food choices while you're traveling, my calorie count was slightly higher, though not as horrible as I'd feared. But I'd say the only healthy thing I ate all day was the nectarine I had for breakfast.
Calorie intake: 1,353
Exercise: 30 minutes cleaning Mom's apartment, and tons of driving if that counts :)
Steps: Surprisingly, 10,650. Guess I walked more than I thought yesterday.