Managing Stress Eating

I never get stressed or upset. Just ask my wife and those close to me. I am ALWAYS centered and at peace with the world. At least until the guy in the truck pulling the trailer cuts me off in traffic. Or I have decided to schedule a 14 hour day, make appointments too close together and I am RUNNING LATE! MOVE GUY WITH THE TRAILER! I have met NO ONE in my life who does not experience stress, irritation, and anxiety on occasion with some on more occasions than others. If we do not hide in a cave by ourselves we also will experience sadness and loss, people who are not as smart as we are at work, and trucks pulling trailers who won’t move. 

Never What Happens

Many of us use food and other unhealthy substances to cope with life events. Along with the unhealthy coping in many cases comes guilt, frustration, and a never ending revolving door struggle of why we can’t “get it right.” There are so many factors that play a role in the health choices that you make. These include:

  • The way that you were conditioned by family, culture, teachers, role models, and others
  • The way your genetics played a role in temperament and the way you respond to things in life
  • The way you began to deal and cope with life (usually begins in the teen years)
  • The way you agreed with certain belief systems regarding health
  • The way you reward yourself for a job well done
  • The way you reward yourself for having a hard day
  • The way your brain and body have locked into these belief systems, reward systems, and coping skills which have created an “autopilot” brain and body response system

And you thought it was that willpower thing. The brain and the body are such incredible machines! Up to this point, the way we have dealt with life events has provided us security, comfort, and safety. The way we were taught by others and what we have agreed to were probably the only way we knew. I struggled for years. I got up to a weight of 340 lbs, smoked a pack a day and coped in other unhealthy ways, and dealt with the round and round guilt and frustration of wanting to do better but could never seem to. So many things more than choice make up the way we respond to events in life as noted in the bulleted section above. I have lost 125 pounds, cope in different and healthier ways now and live life much happier than I used to. Since I began as a personal trainer 13 years ago and received my Masters Degree in Counseling in 2010, I have witnessed hundreds of people transform the way they deal with life events despite where they have come from in life. 

The Answer to Stress Eating

We cannot change the way we have done things in the past. We can only accept it without judgment of ourselves and others and learn from our histories. If the way you have coped with life in the past has created great health and good choices I say congratulations. If you have struggled and are open to what has worked for hundreds of others I also say congratulations. You are on your way to great health! Here is some of the things that has worked for me and hundreds of others who have decided to change the way they cope with life events. 

  1. We all accepted that the way we were coping with life events was not working and was making us unhealthy
  2. We were all HUNGRY for change
  3. We have a significant reason to begin to take the action to make change whether it was children or family, physical pain or lack of mobility, low self-esteem, or the desire to have a partner in life

If these criteria fit you and you would like to cope with life in healthier ways then consider doing what the other success stories have done

  1. Create a two day meal plan. Eat only lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. On day three, have one item that is different and something you will enjoy if you choose. Repeat. Two days “on,” one item “off.” 
  2. Learn to recognize when you may be at risk for stress or emotional eating. Distracting yourself from “autopilot” coping, having fruit or other healthy snacks available, and ultimately learning it is not the event that happens to me in life but rather the way I respond will be the key to moving forward with big change. Not allowing the exterior events to control our interior response takes practice but is so freeing! What we give our energy and thought to will grow like a weed if we feed it, especially those of us who struggle to manage coping responses. When you want to go back to autopilot ways of dealing with life, shift your energy and thought to a healthier response and your strong reason for desiring change. 
  3. Get back to good health practices if you have had a day where you did not make the healthiest choices. Do not beat yourself up. Just start over. You are only human!
  4. Place yourself in environments that support your change. Going to the gym, support groups, and social gatherings where others are of like mind will help you when your normal circle of friends and family do not share your health choices. Love who you love and spend time with those you love but make good health choices in all environments.
  5. Treat your body and brain good with exercise, reading, music, rest, fun activities and service to others. We are multifaceted creatures who need multiple things to help us get through the stress of events in life. 
  6. Stay resilient! The key to any endeavor in life!

I sincerely hope this helps you to get started on a new path to good health practices and coping skills. I know a lot of people who have struggled for years. I also know a lot of people who no longer struggle. It is time to create the life and health that you deserve. It is time to be your own miracle!

 

Miracles of Phoenix Fitness Owner Coe Kirby holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and has helped hundreds of people overcome self-defeating behaviors and achieve goals of all levels. His unique style and skill set make him comfortable for the client to be open with while pursuing the growth or change he or she desires. Knowing that each individual is different with where they are in the change process, he guides the client on a journey of self-discovery that helps the individual learn his or her own method to success while giving strong support and proven tools to assist them. His two books, Your Health is Your Wealth: Working Out the Inner Self For a Fit Outer Self and Rebuilding Your Temple From the Inside Out have helped people from all walks of life learn how to create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. Both books are available through http://www.amazon.com or http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com  Good luck on your health yourney!

I HATE EXERCISE!

A lot of people hate exercise. It has been a miserable experience and often times began as a youth. Some individuals can do things physically with ease while others doing the same activity will experience excruciating pain. There are many biological, mental, and physiological reasons for the reasons for the way we experience pain. Your response to the pain you experienced with physical activities is completely normal. We all process and feel pain differently and some people are far more sensitive to pain because of the way the brain and body function together. It literally hurts more because the pain sensors in the body are more sensitive for some people than they are for others.
               

Another factor in those that have a negative experience with exercise is the unwise way that exercise is taught in homes, schools, and youth leagues. Unfortunately, many people have had a traumatic experience as a youth with exercise. They may be slower, not interested in the sport that mom or dad has made them join, been made fun of or bullied by some idiot whose still unemployed at age 39, or had a coach that was more focused on building his own ego than helping the youngster learn a sport. Given the way many individuals have experienced exercise in the past it is no wonder they would hate it. It has been emotionally and physically painful and even demeaning at times.

Time For Change
Ninety-nine percent of my personal training and life coaching clients will not set foot in a gym or hire a personal trainer. They have had a negative or even traumatic experience (or many usually) with exercise, believe that when they walk into a gym they will be judged like always, and are fearful that the personal trainer will yell at them, shame them, and put them through such excruciating pain that they will not be able to roll on deodorant or go to the bathroom for days. I actually have experienced personal trainers in the last 6 months who do this. I was laughed at, told to “suck it up” when I experienced pain, and felt demoralized on a couple of “personal training” occasions. And I am in decent shape. I didn’t witness but I felt like my trainer was beating his chest like some conqueror. I never went back needless to say. We may not ever be able to change the egos of some but one thing we can do is change ourselves. And that comes with hunger. Your desire for change will ultimately be the difference in the change you seek whether it be weight loss, increased strength, and motivation to exercise and eat healthy foods, especially as you age.
How to Change the Exercise Belief System
Our bodies need to be moved and challenged a little. We do not need to exercise crazily or do a triathlon. We should include both strength training and cardio components to be healthy. Most of us know this but how do we do it when we  hate to exercise? Here are the things that have worked for those people who I have witnessed make incredible change in health and wellness:
1. All accept that exercise is needed and beneficial. They understand that “30 minutes of pain” daily will lead to less pain as they age, make them feel better about themselves, and have a great impact on their overall quality of life and every aspect of life. This does not mean that they put themselves through grueling workouts or get yelled at by some crazy trainer. They learn to listen to their bodies and are able to move forward slowly at a smart pace.
2. All “get back on” daily after they have “fallen off.” Many of us have a day or two of eating less than healthy foods, skip a Monday of exercise after a weekend, and pretty soon we say “forget it” and/or “this doesn’t work.” Unless you have an underlying health issue eating nutritious foods and exercise does work. If you do have an underlying health issue please see a doctor to fix it and then exercise and eating nutritious foods will work.
3. All have a significant reason to begin exercise. Many feel better in the knees and back, think clearer, and like the way exercise makes their bodies look. Others want more mobility, to be healthier for family and loved ones, to play sports, or help with bone density. I like what exercise does for my head and my body. After years of experiencing depression, addiction and self-esteem issues I feel free of all of these barriers in many ways due to exercise. It has changed my life and the lives of many others and can yours too. Please see the benefit. Honor yourself and those who care for you by caring for yourself enough to move every day.
Be your own miracle!

NEW SERIES ON HEALTHY MINDSET, FOCUS, AND LIFE!

Today I begin my six part series on how to begin to create a healthier mindset, make healthier choices, and live a healthier life.

When I began to help people try to create healthier lives, I taught in the same manner as I learned. It did not work real well for me when my first trainer taught it to me and did not work well for me when I taught it to others. And it has not worked well for others who teach the anything in moderation method for health and weight loss. But still I tried for some strange reason to teach clients that they could eat what they want in moderation.

I have had the honor to meet and work with some fabulous people who truly had sincere and serving hearts to help those who struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. I have witnessed the anything in moderation approach be utilized by some of the best hospitals and weight loss facilities in the United States with very little success. They all mean well. Is there anyone out there that does not know we are supposed to eat smaller portion sizes with more vegetables, lean proteins, and fruits?

For those of us who have struggled for a lifetime to make healthy food and exercise choices, the anything in moderation approach will not work for us. That does not mean that we become rabbits and are sentenced to living in a room with a swinging light bulb on a string surrounded by protein powders and superfood jars. We have to live life and we should enjoy it. But how does someone who historically does not make the healthiest choices live and enjoy life while making the healthiest choices? Today I will share with you the first of six recommendations that have worked for many:

Acceptance : It is way more than willpower or choice. Many of us have predispositions or genetic tendencies that limit what we can do in many situations. I have a genetic tendency that leads me to gain weight if I eat processed carbohydrates and sugars. I also am conditioned genetically to respond to life events in certain ways and have taught myself to cope with stress, depression, and anxiety with food and other unhealthy choices. The brain and and body “lock in” to the coping methods and it in many cases becomes automatic for us. Food companies are aware of “my tendencies” and create foods that will lead to crave more of them leading to weight gain and guilt. Many I work with say the same thing. None of this makes us bad people, disadvantaged, or picked on. The food companies are not “bad people” either but merely trying to make more money which is what businesses do. It is so important to accept your predispositions, the way you automatically cope, and do so without harsh judgment of yourself. It is also important to accept that there are foods out there that will make you crave more, lead you to weight gain, and guilt. It is not unfair. You will be a certain height, have a certain temperament, and will respond to what you put into your body in a certain way. Honor yourself and the ones that love you by making healthy choices today. Worry about tomorrow when it gets here. Be your own miracle!

The series will continue on Friday with how to accept exercise into your life. Upcoming topics will include:

How to plan for stress eating
How to be accountable to someone else
What you put into your mind is as important as what you put into your body
Finding your life flow for health
Working through the 8pm food cravings

I look forward to your feedback.

Coe Kirby is a personal trainer and life coach from Phoenix, Arizona. He has a Masters Degree in Counseling and utilizes a different approach than most trainers, one of nonjudgmental acceptance and comfort.He has also lost over 125 pounds and uses all of his experience, knowledge, and education to help others. For more, go to his website http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.

NEW SERIES ON DEVELOPING A HEALTHY MINDSET, FOCUS, AND LIFE!

Today I begin my six part series on how to begin to create a healthier mindset, make healthier choices, and live a healthier life.

When I began to help people try to create healthier lives, I taught in the same manner as I learned. It did not work real well for me when my first trainer taught it to me and did not work well for me when I taught it to others. And it has not worked well for others who teach the anything in moderation method for health and weight loss. But still I tried for some strange reason to teach clients that they could eat what they want in moderation.

I have had the honor to meet and work with some fabulous people who truly had sincere and serving hearts to help those who struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. I have witnessed the anything in moderation approach be utilized by some of the best hospitals and weight loss facilities in the United States with very little success. They all mean well. Is there anyone out there that does not know we are supposed to eat smaller portion sizes with more vegetables, lean proteins, and fruits?

For those of us who have struggled for a lifetime to make healthy food and exercise choices, the anything in moderation approach will not work for us. That does not mean that we become rabbits and are sentenced to living in a room with a swinging light bulb on a string surrounded by protein powders and superfood jars. We have to live life and we should enjoy it. But how does someone who historically does not make the healthiest choices live and enjoy life while making the healthiest choices? Today I will share with you the first of six recommendations that have worked for many:

Acceptance : It is way more than willpower or choice. Many of us have predispositions or genetic tendencies that limit what we can do in many situations. I have a genetic tendency that leads me to gain weight if I eat processed carbohydrates and sugars. I also am conditioned genetically to respond to life events in certain ways and have taught myself to cope with stress, depression, and anxiety with food and other unhealthy choices. The brain and and body “lock in” to the coping methods and it in many cases becomes automatic for us. Food companies are aware of “my tendencies” and create foods that will lead to crave more of them leading to weight gain and guilt. Many I work with say the same thing. None of this makes us bad people, disadvantaged, or picked on. The food companies are not “bad people” either but merely trying to make more money which is what businesses do. It is so important to accept your predispositions, the way you automatically cope, and do so without harsh judgment of yourself. It is also important to accept that there are foods out there that will make you crave more, lead you to weight gain, and guilt. It is not unfair. You will be a certain height, have a certain temperament, and will respond to what you put into your body in a certain way. Honor yourself and the ones that love you by making healthy choices today. Worry about tomorrow when it gets here. Be your own miracle!

The series will continue on Friday with how to accept exercise into your life. Upcoming topics will include:

How to plan for stress eating
How to be accountable to someone else
What you put into your mind is as important as what you put into your body
Finding your life flow for health
Working through the 8pm food cravings

I look forward to your feedback.

Coe Kirby is a personal trainer and life coach from Phoenix, Arizona. He has a Masters Degree in Counseling and utilizes a different approach than most trainers, one of nonjudgmental acceptance and comfort.He has also lost over 125 pounds and uses all of his experience, knowledge, and education to help others. For more, go to his website http://www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com.