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Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting Thin In 2010: Stress and Relaxation

Last week I told you that I would be sharing about the biggest obstacle I face when trying to lose weight. So here it is, as promised. S-T-R-E-S-S.

What stresses you out? For me, it's just life in general. I don't know if it's my personality type, my circumstances, or if it's just normal...but life is stressful. And you know what? I don't think that will ever change. There will always be another bill to be paid, a job to wake up to in the morning, a car transmission that goes out, a messy house, a pile of laundry, sickness and death to face, depression to beat, and much more.

I'm pretty sure the only thing we can do about that is to change our attitudes and outlooks on life, and effectively handle stress.

So how does this affect my weight loss? It just does - in many ways. The stress of life is more than enough for me to handle by itself. I can't pile on one more thing to worry about - losing weight. Weight loss requires attention, dedication, and a positive attitude. I tend to lose my focus and motivation when I'm stressed out about life, and that just leads to a really negative attitude. This is one of the biggest reasons I tend to just give up on losing weight. It's up, down, up, down, up, down. The cycle never ends. I'm sure you've experienced this as well, if you've ever had to battle with weight loss.

So what to do? RELAX. Simple enough to say, not so easy to actually DO. Relaxation is not something to be taken lightly. It's something all of us need as human beings. It helps us recharge and refocus. It gives us that escape from day-to-day life that we need, so that we're ready to face reality again with a positive attitude!

How do you relax? I think it differs from person to person. Some people enjoy staying at home, watching a movie, reading a good book, cooking, or doing crafts. Others might enjoy going out on a date with their husband, having a family day out, going to the park, or chatting with a loved one over coffee. You might even find exercise to be your favorite way to "relax" and get away from it all.

For me, it's 6 things. God, quality time with my husband, being in the middle of nature, reading, playing or listening to music, and cooking. Those are the 6 things that make me the most happy in life. They help me relax. They are my escape. They put things in perspective for me.

This past weekend, my husband and I spent almost the entire 2 days together...and it wasn't me on the computer and him on the guitar, while we ignored each other for the most part. It was quality time together. We spent almost an entire day out in the middle of nature, which is our favorite thing to do together.

And you know what? I didn't dread Monday morning nearly as much as I usually do. I feel good. I'm not overwhelmed by life like I usually am. And as a result, I'm not being tempted to give up on my weight loss journey.

Mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health, anyways...

Progress To My Goal: 6 pounds lost, 24% of the 25 pounds I'd like to lose. I only lost 1 pound last week, but I'm happy about it. Oh - and I'm on Day 6 of 30 Day Shred! Feeling great!

What About You: What causes you stress and how do you deal with it? Do you think relaxation is important in your weight loss journey?

*Photo Credit: Ken on Flickr



Anonymous Elizabeth@TheThriftyDivas said...

Megan, congrats on the loss of 6 pounds! Losing weight is about more than the pounds, it's a mental battle and stress makes me lose the mental battle. When I am really focused and on a diet, the one thing that keeps me on track in exercise. It makes me feel good and makes me want to push myself! Oh, and chocolate pudding (made with fat free milk, of course). That is a little treat I give myself once a week!

Keep up the great job on your diet!!!!

Elizabeth @TheThriftyDivas

April 20, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Blogger Jeddie said...

Stress is an obstacle that affects your entire balance of health, weight (or, diet and exercise) is just one aspect of our overall balance of health and wellbeing. Simplifying our day-to-day stressors is a great way to find peace in your life, which in turn enhances our ability to focus. Focus and clarity of mind is key. The following (looong) paragraph outlines the recent struggles (very similar to yours, I might add!) I've experienced.

Less than a year ago, I was working full time (not getting paid nearly enough for the work I did). I would come home, do all of the cooking and cleaning and blogging.. and the worrying and stressing and crying that came along with such a full plate. My husband also worked, and we both went to school full time. When we would come home, I would be on the computer typing out all the deals I got, uploading pictures, and so on; he would be doing homework and surfing the net on his computer. If I wasn't at work, school, or home blogging, I was out trying to get the next freebie or spend as little as possible on groceries. There was barely enough minutes in the day for my hubby and I to spend quality time talking about our lives and the issues that needing dealing with. He was stressed, I was stressed and neither of us had enough cognitive energy at the end of the day to mend the stressor wounds of the other. Being so busy and wound up all the time was harming our health on so many levels. Then one day, it hit me: I sat down with my husband (I was probably crying at this point) and explained to him I would rather us work less hours, make less money, stop blogging, live in a small home, buy fewer (better quality) things like food and leave the home looking less-than-perfect, than have to use all of the time in the day for the rest of our lives to afford..what? less time to not enjoy what's left in our day? I told him, I guess I just wanted to simplify. It was the easiest difficult decision I've ever made and my husband agreed. We stopped telling ourselves we had to work all the time or blog all the time. Now, my hubby works almost full time, I work part time, and we both go to school. Our shift to making less and having less has certainly lowered my and my husband's stress levels and turned my weight worries into an overall endeavor to increase my quality of health and life. We might not have any extra money, but really, what do we need to buy if we have the extra time to enjoy what we already have together?

***This is my experience with stress affecting my weight: it was so much more than just that***

April 20, 2010 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Meagan said...

Thanks Elizabeth! =] Sounds like you've got it down pat! Having that little sweet treat is a MUST when dieting!

Jeddie - Your story sounds EXACTLY like my life right now. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate it. It's really tough to balance, but I think I'm finally learning... =] Glad you made the choice to make life easier on yourself and enjoy it more!

April 21, 2010 at 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Christina M said...

Hey Meg!
I know you and your hubby are vegetarians and I saw an article for 50 Meatless main dishes on The recipes look really tasty and healthy!


April 24, 2010 at 11:41 PM  

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