Stress eater with a hectic job ... tips?

I was so proud of myself for 3 months of great diet and exercise and a steady 12 lb weight loss. But then my job got really busy 2 months ago with a big deadline project and work crises and other stuff and I've been eating junk, drinking too much caffeine and not exercising (before work gym time just became more work time). Not surprisingly I've regained 7 lbs.

What do you do when you need bursts of intense energy? How do you handle stress when you literally can't take a moment to meditate or exercise? I get so stressed and tired I just keep eating and drinking to keep going. Healthy calorie ranges and whole food meals sustain me through the day when my life is normal but make me run out of steam when I'm busy. I've found with dismay how much sugar and caffeine really give the bursts of energy I need. Even when I'm not eating junk I find I need more calories, even if they're well over my "sustain" numbers.

Help!

Replies

  • ammo7
    ammo7 Posts: 188 Member
    edited July 2016
    kf1834 wrote: »
    How do you handle stress when you literally can't take a moment to meditate or exercise? I get so stressed and tired I just keep eating and drinking to keep going.

    I usually answer these types of posts with the short-term solution that worked for me when I would eat as a reaction to stress: having lots of low-calorie food available, so that when I would keep reaching for something, it would be easy to fit into my calorie deficit. But for you, it seems like you're specifically looking for something that would be energizing (which low calorie food typically isn't, by its very definition!)

    I have to tell you what worked for me long-term: creating a life where such energy-sapping stress is not the norm. I personally cannot imagine being happy in the type of situation that I was in, and am truly very happy with the new lifestyle I have been working toward over the past few years. I work a lot less and spend much, much more time outdoors.

    It's probably not the answer you're looking for, but it's my honest belief that life is not for living highly strung out, trying to eat all the time just to get through the day.

  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    Haha, trust me, I have definitely considered the "get a new job" diet! :) But I think a lot of us have times when we do need those bursts contrary to a relaxed, well-balanced lifestyle. What do ER nurses or firefighters do, for example? I'd love to know what other folks do for those go-go-go moments that last longer than a few hours. What are healthy meal choices when a meal is some you cram in your face with one hand during a "break" that you spend working? And especially what do you do to keep yourself going that doesn't involve food/drinks?
  • kurriouskat
    kurriouskat Posts: 7 Member
    My job has periods of high stress/long hours. These are some things that have helped me.

    5. Don't be too proud to take advantage of streamlining meal prep. Buy those pre-cut veggies, grab a frozen meal that fits your goals, find takeout places that will make meals that fit into your plans. Obviously you want to meet your nutritional meals, but there is no point in stressing about not having a "whole foods" meal when you can grab something that fits within your goals, meets your nutritional needs, but isn't a "whole food."

    I always try to make Sunday my shopping and meal prep day for the upcoming work week. This way I have the healthy foods ready to go in my hectic life. Planning food out for the week makes one less thing to worry about with all the stresses brought on by work.
  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    edited July 2016
    These tips are so great, thank you!
    I love the idea of a walking meeting
  • BZAH10
    BZAH10 Posts: 5,710 Member
    kf1834 wrote: »
    Haha, trust me, I have definitely considered the "get a new job" diet! :) But I think a lot of us have times when we do need those bursts contrary to a relaxed, well-balanced lifestyle. What do ER nurses or firefighters do, for example? I'd love to know what other folks do for those go-go-go moments that last longer than a few hours. What are healthy meal choices when a meal is some you cram in your face with one hand during a "break" that you spend working? And especially what do you do to keep yourself going that doesn't involve food/drinks?

    Bring food with you to work that you've prepared and planned for. What types of food do you eat when you're not as stressed that YOU consider healthy? Batch cook or prepare those foods for the week and take them with you every day. Remind yourself that you are fueling for energy, meaning over eating will have the opposite effect and will bog you down and make you sluggish. Picture it as putting gas in your car. If you have a long trip ahead of you you don't over fill the tank and waste gas, right? Same thing with your body. You need the right amount of fuel to function properly.

    Drink caffeine if it helps but make sure it is in calorie-free, sugar-free form. Avoid the sugar boost. It may give you a quick burst of energy, but the crash is inevitable.
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,985 Member
    Agree on pre-packing meals and snacks, and if you didn't bring it don't eat it. Plus, drink lots of water to hydrate and make you move a little when you need to pee.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    nowine4me wrote: »
    Agree on pre-packing meals and snacks, and if you didn't bring it don't eat it. Plus, drink lots of water to hydrate and make you move a little when you need to pee.

    I have used the "If I didn't bring it, don't eat it" guideline and it has worked really well for me. If I see something I want (like candy or chips), I will tell myself I will buy it for myself next time I am at the grocery store if I still want it. 99% of the time, I don't buy it on my next trip because the urge has passed.
  • markrgeary1
    markrgeary1 Posts: 853 Member
    Looking back at a 29 year career with one company that always was in crisis mode: QUIT! Wishing I'd done that.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,881 Member
    kf1834 wrote: »
    I was so proud of myself for 3 months of great diet and exercise and a steady 12 lb weight loss. But then my job got really busy 2 months ago with a big deadline project and work crises and other stuff and I've been eating junk, drinking too much caffeine and not exercising (before work gym time just became more work time). Not surprisingly I've regained 7 lbs.

    What do you do when you need bursts of intense energy? How do you handle stress when you literally can't take a moment to meditate or exercise? I get so stressed and tired I just keep eating and drinking to keep going. Healthy calorie ranges and whole food meals sustain me through the day when my life is normal but make me run out of steam when I'm busy. I've found with dismay how much sugar and caffeine really give the bursts of energy I need. Even when I'm not eating junk I find I need more calories, even if they're well over my "sustain" numbers.

    Help!

    I find a lot of my "I don't have time" thinking is self-imposed. I have coworkers who are disciplined about taking their lunch hour and I try to emulate them and get in some exercise at lunch no matter how busy I am. The problem is we all take lunch at different times so someone is always talking to me, making it hard for me to break away. But it's possible - I just need to work at better boundaries.

    Exercise is crucial for stress management for me and I must make it a priority. Lots of times after a stressful day the last thing I want to do is exercise, so I force myself. For some reason, taking a shower helps change my state and energizes me enough to get moving out of the house. Once I'm on my way to the gym, I'm fine.

    I like chocolate for stress but eat much less by eating it much more slowly. I let chocolate chips dissolve in my mouth one by one and can make 70 calories worth of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips last 45 minutes.

  • Mom2Frankie
    Mom2Frankie Posts: 23 Member
    I'm a nurse so I am at work for 13 hours straight. It's stressful and often I have only minutes to eat. I prep all my meals the night before and I log EVERYTHING I pack and then I know I can have all my snacks with no anxiety. I also need to try and eat on a schedule because when I get famished it's hard to get rid of the craving to shovel food in. I also feel better with sleep and a cup of coffee in the afternoon.

    Breakfast: Usually a Quest protein shake
    Snack: PB on a plain no salt rice cake
    Lunch: Today was chicken salad made with avocado (I hate mayo) on a sandwich thin with raw veggies on the side
    Dinner: Quinoa with ground chicken which I seasoned with Mexican flavors
  • OlyCapitalChick
    OlyCapitalChick Posts: 236 Member
    edited July 2016
    oy! do I get this thread. I plan on re-evaluating my career choice in the near future. Some jobs literally kill.
    I try to take back control where I can. I have had to get really direct and clear with others and also myself to see if I am just going to be stuck or if I have the power to do something? Anything?
    depending on what your work/home life is like something here may help:
    1. food prep, routine, bring my prefilled water bottles - (6) 23 oz ones (helps with weight lifting while I haul stuff upstairs)
    2. Adjust my desk to standing
    3. Run!! out the door at the end of day and leave and don't say good bye to anyone - I choose me
    4. vitamins and magnesium or anything else from the health store that calms me at night to sleep
    5. I have been known to drink energy drinks or eat a gummy slim quick (green tea) but really try not to
    6. protein - keep the grams fairly high each day
    7. drink tea
    8. chew gum
    9. hide and mediate somehwere
    10. play music in earphones
    11. exercise at night
    12. leave for lunch at all costs..I can only "people" so much and then I need to get the frick outta dodge before I end up in jail. Lol
    13. prebook my annual leave 12 months in advance
    14. I prebook my doctors and massage visit appointments with buffer drive time.
    15. No meetings on FRIDAY I need a day to attempt to even try to get caught up..Lol
    16. NEVER take on extra work, assign yourself tasks, or volunteer - its time someone else lifts the burden!! you are in essense sick and need to self care. Be selfish!

    hugs
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,268 Member
    exercise is my stress relief...
  • NaturalNancy
    NaturalNancy Posts: 1,093 Member
    Same as above^^^ exercise helps me and planning what I will eat
  • kf1834
    kf1834 Posts: 43 Member
    I love all of the input, please keep it coming!
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,268 Member
    kf1834 wrote: »
    I love all of the input, please keep it coming!

    I will add to mine.

    I am a planner to the point of keeping a written list for daily stuff etc.

    So I do prelog my food for the week normally. Often time lunch is leftovers from the night before.

    That makes it easier to know what I am eating so I can prep it if needed.
    I often use my slow cooker so that when I get home I don't have to rush around to get dinner in and my workout while still keeping my house clean and spend time with my husband and now that it's summer keep ahead of the weeds in the flowers and garden etc.

    This summer I did start getting up earlier (5am) and doing my workout then as I was finding my evenings rushed....

    Set priorities...and make sure you are your number 1 priority and that the job takes 2nd fiddle to keeping you healthy and sane.

    I have my A priorities...exercise, time with husband, sleep, fun
    Then I have B priorities....clean house, laundry done, job
    C Priorities...hobbies like my wreaths, getting the quilt done, fixing my shoes....

    If I get the A's done then I worry about my B's then if there are C's I worry about them
  • orangpeel757
    orangpeel757 Posts: 38 Member
    Eat fruit. Bananas, grapes, strawberries, and many more are high in nutrients and fun to eat because they're sweet. Pair them with some protein like yogurt, a bit of peanut butter, or a handful of nuts and you've got yourself a power snack.

    A 20 minute nap with your feet up on your lunch break can help get you over the afternoon slump.

    Stand up and stretch.

    Take a 5-10 minute bathroom break to meditate. No one will bother you there or notice that you are taking an extra bathroom trip (unless they're some kind of creepo obsessed with your bathroom schedule). You can take some headphones and listen to a couple songs on your phone while you're in there.

    If it's possible, also use headphones to listen to music at your desk. Tune out the hectic for a bit.