Stress Eating

Do you believe “stress eating” is a thing?  You know, where people basically overeat to cope with stress.  It’s actually quite common.  I know people who would scoff at this notion, claim the people are just weak and/or making excuses, blah blah blah.  I am not one of those people.  I have always believed it was legit, I just didn’t think I suffered from it.  I eat excessively out of boredom and simply liking good food.  I think good food is one of the pleasures of life, so I indulge.

I have other ways of dealing with stress.  I sleep.  It’s easy. If I’m feeling stressed, or down, or whatever, I go take a nap, sometimes a long nap.  I can even stay in bed trying to go back to sleep for hours after I wake up.  Sleeping is my escape, literally.

And sleep works well when I’m at home, but I’m not always at home.  What do I do when I’m at work or just out and about?  Well, now that I’m thinking about it more closely in my weight loss program, and with current life events, I think maybe I do stress eat, albeit only as “Plan B” when there is no bed or bedroom to escape to.

I generally loathe airing my issues to others,  but I feel like I have to here so it makes sense to anyone reading.  In no particular order, I have going on right now…

  • My mother’s health issues.  She fell and broke her hip a little over a month ago, and was admitted to hospice care just yesterday.  She’s 83 and very frail and, well, very ‘close’, if you know what I mean.
  • School.  I’m still going back to school.  Two classes this semester, computer coding and calculus.  And calculus is kicking my rear end… again.
  • Work.  Work isn’t going badly, not at all, it’s just busy.  I have two projects coming to an end and I have 2 or 3 lined up right after that, maybe overlapping.  As I always say, “Beats looking for work.”
  • Toastmasters.  I have sporadic duties to keep up with for the District (State of Iowa, basically).  This is actually the least of my current obligations, but it’s still one of them.
  • Routine mundane day-to-day life.  Tasks around the house, keeping up with daily life chores, trying to fit in some relaxation and fun, too.

Yeah, that’s it.  And as I’m thinking about this more and more, and comparing my binge/cheat eating with my weight loss program… because now it’s more pronounced than normal and easier to compare and measure… I’m starting to see a pattern.  I do indeed stress eat, though as ‘Plan B’, as mentioned before.

Virtually all of my stress eating since I started the program has centered around ‘events’ involving my mother.  I think that’s affecting me more and deeper than I was aware.  The others are somewhat normal for me, this adding a whole new amount of stuff is pushing my stress over the edge.  In short, overall I’m feeling very overwhelmed, with a new super-emotional aspect to make it all the more interesting.

I’m still at the plateau, though tomorrow’s weigh in will be interesting, and I’m roughly maintaining, so that’s good.  I’m not gaining everything back.  This is when I’m supposed to be introducing fruits and vegetables back into my diet, but I might go another week with the more bare bones plan to regain some of my momentum.

The Plateau

Still struggling, though not as bad or as much as I was for awhile.  Which is frustrating because I seem to have reached “The Plateau”, that point where you’ve lost the ‘easy’ weight and now have to actually work at it.  <full body shudder>

I think I mentioned before that I normally hovered in the 242-ish range.  I got down to just over 230… on the edge of the 220s cliff that I wanted to hit for the first time in almost two decades… and I regressed.  Shot back up into the upper 230s, then worked my way back down to the low 230s, only to shoot back up to the upper 230s again, which is where I’m at right now.

In the interest of full honesty, I think this last jump is not so much from bad meals (though there were a couple), but rather from stopping watching my sodium and missing a few days of my water pills.  Apparently even with losing weight I still need to watch my sodium intake and take my pills and squeeze as much water out as I can.

There’s also been some family heath issues that have been weighing heavily, no pun intended.  I am not a stress eater, per se, but there were times where I’ve figuratively thrown up my hands and thought, “Screw it.  I’m eating.”

On the positive side, in the work category, I’ve started exercising again.  The treadmill a couple times in the last week, for about 40 minutes at a time.  Put on a good Alice Cooper concert DVD and off I go!

Another positive aspect is that, today whenever I looked in the mirror, I swear I looked visibly thinner than I have in years.  I got kinda giddy every time I saw myself.  This matches what a friend told me several days ago, she told me it was visible in my face, my face was thinner.  The numbers notwithstanding, I can feel it, I feel good.

ICU from the Outside

After my first 10 minute visit I was a little shook but yet so relieved.  Shook because there was so much to take in and try to understand.  I sat in the waiting room with Vicki and we chatted and did our thing waiting until 2:30.  That was our next 10 minute visit time.  We went in to see him and I stepped up to hold his hand and say hello.  The breathing tube was still in.  He was looking good for a man who just had heart surgery.  Vicki came up to the bed and got in a short “chat” and got to see that her brother was going to be OK.

Back to the waiting room for an hour.  In that hour our son Matt showed up.  When the next visiting time came up Matt and I went in to see Ken.  Matt cautiously approached his dad.  It was hard to see him with all the tubes and lines, but so good to see him aware and good.  He STILL had the breathing tube in so we could only talk and hold his hand.  The nurse came in and said they would be taking the tube out soon.  A chance to hear his voice on our next visit.  We retreated to the waiting room and more time wasting.

For the next visit I only went long enough to hear his voice….say I love you.  Then left Matt to visit with his dad in private.  It was important that he knew his dad would be OK.  After that visit Matt headed home.  Vicki stayed until the next hour.  She went to see him but he was sleeping soundly.  She informed me that he needed his CPAP machine hooked up and that she was leaving.  I thanked her for being there.  I really appreciated her calm company.

I went to see how he was sleeping and talk to the nurse.  I could not find her.  I told the staff at the desk outside his room that Ken needed his CPAP hooked up ASAP.  I explained that I could see him having breathing issues as we spoke.  I was assured it would be done.  I believed them so much that I watched the time tick by and went back a half our later.  No CPAP.  I hunted down his nurse and told her I really thought it was important.  She agreed and said she would get to him very soon.  Next time I went back, a half hour later, he had it and was sleeping better.  He woke up and talked to me a few minutes.  Then I felt better leaving him to sleep.

I stayed for one more visit.  I decided to work on a puzzle in the waiting room on my last hour there.  It was very calming and time flew.  I then went down for my last visit before I went home to try for some sleep.  I got there and the night nurse told me I could stay as long as I wanted.  I sat for a visit and she also informed me that she was going to get him on his feet to stand next to his bed that night.  I was so excited!  When the time came, she helped him to “walk” his legs over the side.  Then he slowly stood next to his bed.  I was SO happy to see that!  It wore him out!  He got put back to bed and I helped settle him in before leaving.  Home for the night and back early for rounds.

Room move next!