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Is Anxiety Eating Away at You?

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How many of you remember the Jetsons? I remember George Jetson on the treadmill/dog walker when it’s going haywire. I hear George’s voice in my head saying, “Help, Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” A great metaphor of current day life. We’ve probably all felt like that at times. And sometimes I say the same thing when I’m laughing to myself about how busy life can be…if we let it. Busy can create anxiety. And that often affects the way we eat.

Have you ever noticed that when you don’t eat well you have more anxiety, and when you have more anxiety you just don’t eat well. Sounds like the chicken or the egg dilemma, doesn’t it? But this isn’t so difficult to solve. When you eat well, your body feels better and more at ease, in turn giving you less anxiety and vice versa.

Sounds simple, right? But what do you do when you are anxious and want to eat something that’s not so good for you. Like when you are in a rush and hungry or you’re stressed out and too tired to cook and the only thing around is a fast food place or a vending machine?

Instead, try being proactive. What if you were to take 5-10 undisturbed minutes everyday to meditate? Maybe for you it can be while you’re sitting in your car before starting out, or even at your desk, or before you walk in the door at night. Yes, even five minutes is a great place to start. I find it best before I get out of bed, it’s a much more productive and healthy way to stay on the right track, because once you leave and start your day, that’s when you start getting into that anxious cycle of “Let me do this, and then that, and then after that…” But if you take those few minutes to close your eyes, calm and regenerate, you will find yourself better equipped to stop that cycle.

Another is to prepare ahead of time. When the meals and snacks are ready, you’ll have a higher chance of grabbing them instead of the cookies.

So let’s say you’re anxious and you grab those cookies. Now how do you feel? Still tired and anxious, right? Maybe even more tired and anxious because the sugar is feeding your anxiety and fatigue. You are making the choice to be more anxious by eating those cookies.

Sometimes you can’t change the circumstances. Some days you will be rushing around or you have taken on too much to do or have some kind of stressful situation occurring. So if you won’t or can’t change those circumstances, then you need to change the way you are dealing with those circumstances. That’s when it’s important to remind yourself: “I need to be here anyway, I made a choice to make this a part of my life, I can choose to be okay with it, or choose to let it take over how I feel and act.”

The result of making that choice to let that anxiety overcome what you eat ends up being more detrimental than the behavior itself. You still feel lousy, anxious AND you’ve just eaten a whole box of cookies. So now what? You have to get to the point of saying, “No, I choose not to do this any more.” Saying, “I’m tired”, is only going to create more bad choices that will, in turn, make you more tired. “I’m anxious” is going to make you more anxious, unless you choose differently.

So when those feelings come up, do this: take a breath and say: “This is hurting me. I’m not going to hurt myself anymore, I’m going to love myself and do what’s self-loving.” It’s about taking that moment to be present and recognize how you feel and how you are acting. Once you start becoming aware of that anxiety and catching it in the act, than you can be proactive and stop it in its tracks before it gets to the point of ruining your healthy eating habits all together. The cycle can just as easily stop as it began.

So what are you ready to do to keep your anxiety from eating into your healthy habits?

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