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5 Ways to Stay on Track When Stressed After WLS

August 28, 2017

Is It Possible To Stay On Track When Stressed When Life Throws You A Curveball (or When Life Gives You Lemons)?

You know the saying, "Life Happens." True, it does. There are ups and downs, and it goes on. However, that doesn't get to be the excuse why you enter a period of weight regain. Instead, you absolutely can stay on track when life throws you a curveball. The key is in your emotional state and preparing in advance for times when you're stressed.

Most people don't plan for catastrophes. However, when you have a plan in place when your life is a bumpy ride, you'll get through a whole lot easier and you'll keep your weight off.

To be more specific, the type of situations that I'm referring to are when you lose a parent, when your job becomes more than stressful, when going through a divorce or any other number of life stressors that take you out of your normal routine and off track in your life. Part of the time it will be the scheduling that wrecks havoc on your life, the rest of the time, you're just trying to keep yourself straight emotionally. Clearly, these are also times that it's recommended you seek out a professional counselor as well.

These can be overwhelming times, and eating and exercising might be the last things on your mind. However, making your own self-care a priority is integral to getting past life's tough situations while also maintaining your weight loss.

Your emotions are the biggest part because it's easily understandable that you'll be in "I don't wanna" mode. It's important to nurture yourself emotionally and get what you need. Although, it's important to remember that this is also when people return to their old ways of using food as comfort, and the old pal "grazing" can sneak back in as well.

This is because when you are stressed, you tend to go on 'autopilot' and old patterns can re-emerge because the old patterns have been around a lot longer than the newer behaviors. Therefore, having a plan in place will help you to override the old autopilot ways and keep you on the right track.

Here are 5 tips and tricks for staying on track and maintaining your weight loss when life gives you lemons. The thing is you'll need to practice these because without implementation and using these resources; anyone can slide back to where they were. The goal is to keep you moving forward. Even during the most difficult times, you can stay on top of your weight loss by practicing awareness of yourself and these tips actively.

5 Tips to Stay On Track When Stressed

1. Know who you can call for emotional support and ask for help when you need it 

You may not want to make phone calls or talk to anyone. You still need the option and know who you'd call if you wanted to talk. You may also want to consult a therapist to have someone on hand in the event that you want to talk to a professional. The most important thing is that you know who you call if you want and need the emotional support. Be sure you can trust this person (or people), and feel comfortable enough being vulnerable and discussing your emotions.

If you are beginning to get off track, it's important that you are aware of old habits creeping back in and feel comfortable enough to discuss this with someone who can support you and help you to get back to consistent patterns.

It is a whole lot easier to stay on track than getting back on track.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for help, ask for someone to help you with the grocery shopping, food prep, etc. Your friends and family will likely want to help and support you during a rough patch, so be sure to reach out and don't be afraid to ask for help. You are not putting them out, and likewise, if they needed you, you would probably be there for them too.

2. Keep a journal and write about what you are feeling

Journals are a great way to keep track of your feelings and what is going on with you. It's a great way to track your moods, the difficult periods and to get your emotions out when you don't feel like talking to anyone. Journaling can help you get all the thoughts out of your head, and if you have a good cry while you're writing, that's fine too. The goal is to help you process your emotions and release what's been pent up. It's also a great place to write down what you are eating. If you don't already have a food journal, that's a great resource to keep you on top of your eating including the times of the day.

You can also track awarenesses in your journal about your feelings and food. Are you more hungry? Are you reaching for food that isn't on your plan? Are you grazing when feelings spike?

Building awareness and using your journal to track this can help you stop negative patterns before they take shape back in your life.

3. Have an emergency meal plan and your top 20 choices for protein on hand

Thinking about food and meals can be very stressful during difficult times. This is why having one prepared "just in case" prior to catastrophic life events can be very helpful and resourceful. This way you don't have to think too much, and you can operate using the emergency meal plan and even order groceries or ask friends/family to help you with implementing the plan. It's also important that you have protein choices on hand, or at the very least have them listed for quick food choices if you are just too stressed or out of it to handle prepping food.

4. Have a backup exercise routine

Even if it is just walking around your house for 10 minutes. Get moving, no matter what. No excuses. Well, unless you are bed ridden, of course. For all other circumstances, get up and walk around your house at the very least. Exercise does not need to be total gym workout, or strenuous. The goal of this is to keep your body moving and to keep you from falling back into old patterns. Walking in or around your house for 10, 15, or even 20 minutes per day can keep you moving and motivated. Although it's great to go to the gym and do some strength training, just walking can keep your body and your brain active!

5. Have a list of self-care activities that don't include food

The goal is to take care of yourself during difficult times. Ask yourself this pointed question, "What do I need?" Having a list of self-care activities that include (but not limited to), taking a bath/shower, getting proper rest, seeing/talking with friends, going out of the house regularly, getting a massage or manicure/pedicure, going for a walk, engaging in spiritual activities (meditation or prayer), etc. These will help you rejuvenate and stay clear on your goals, what you REALLY want, and keep you on track towards achieving them.

When you have self-care activities that allow for active relaxation, both your body and mind are clearer, and you're not reaching into the refrigerator unnecessarily. Plus, you'll have go-to activities that will help you boost your mood no matter what is going on around you. The purpose is to have strategies and activities to support you and your emotions, no matter what.

Kristin Lloyd, PhD is the founder of Bariatric Mindset

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Kristin Lloyd, PhD is a licensed psychotherapist, mindset mentor, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and energy psychology practitioner guiding individuals to embrace healthy habits and fuller lives after WLS. A WLS patient herself, Kristin understands the challenges of WLS patients. She is the founder of Bariatric Mindset and author of the two bestselling books: Bariatric Mindset Success and Release Your Regain; both available on Amazon.
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