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Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Perhaps The Most Popular Resolution...

By January 2, 2014

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Many people have made resolutions for the new year, and I'm loving this! As I've mentioned before in this blog, I think the momentum of the new year and the fresh start it provides is a wonderful motivational tool and boost for positive change. But I'm here to help you stay in it for the long haul. Because so many of the resolutions people set are in tune with healthy stress management (and because helping people create healthier lives is my business), I'm dedicated to helping you set goals that will work for you, and stride toward achieving the goals you set.

One of the most popular goals that people set during January and year-round, is the goal of maintaining a healthy weight. People may vow to exercise more or maintain a healthier diet (which doesn't always mean 'less'), and these things can lead to stress relief as well. However, stress itself can be a roadblock to these plans. This is because, as many of you know from experience, stress can leave you feeling drained (read: unmotivated to exercise) and can lead to emotional eating (read: scarfing down junk food and dessert). When we're feeling motivated and empowered, it's much easier to stick with our plans for a healthy lifestyle; when stress gets to be too much, it becomes more challenging.

Do you find yourself skipping workouts when stressed? (If so, don't beat yourself up over it or decide to stop trying to work out in the first place, but see if you can fit more activity into your day on days when you miss them, and remind yourself that you're looking for progress--not perfection--and stay with your plan.) Do you find yourself craving and eating the foods that are worst for you when you're particularly under pressure? (If so, again, don't beat yourself up, and remember that tomorrow is another day to start fresh--and see the resources below!) Pay attention to your patterns, and make contingency plans, and look at these little hurdles of challenge as part of the process rather than saboteurs of it, and don't let stress throw you off of your path. Below are some tools that can help with the process.

Tools and Guidelines for Combatting Emotional Eating:

  • Take The Stress and Weight Gain Test
    Stress can contribute to weight gain in several ways. If you're having trouble with your weight and wonder what role stress may be playing, or if you just want information and resources for healthy change, this is the quiz for you! The following 10 questions are each designed to help you assess a different aspect of your lifestyle to determine if you may benefit from some simple changes that can help you keep your weight under control when you're stressed. At the end of the quiz, you'll find resources that pertain to your specific situation.

  • What Causes Emotional Eating?
    Even if we know what we're supposed to be eating, there are additional factors that influence how much and what type of food we consume. One of these factors is stress, which is linked to increased emotional eating. Emotional eating has many causes. Learn about the main reasons--besides hunger--that stressed people eat, and find resources to stop emotional eating.

  • How To Stop Emotional Eating
    As anyone who's watching their weight will tell you, hunger is just one of many reasons that people eat. If you're an emotional eater, you may find yourself eating to deal with uncomfortable emotions, using food as a reward when you're happy, and craving sweets or unhealthy snacks when stressed. This article can help you to cut down emotional eating and develop healthier eating habits--even when stressed!

  • Diet Tips For The Stressed
    Despite best intentions, many people find themselves falling short of their diet ideals due to various 'diet traps', or factors that may sneak in and sabotage a healthy diet. The following diet tips can help you to combat some of the main diet traps people encounter, and maintain a healthy diet that keeps you feeling great.

  • Free E Course: Make Changes Last!
    All the stress management information in the world is useless if it's not properly implemented, that is, stress relief strategies only work if you use them! This free, 5-day e course will help you to make lasting lifestyle changes to promote stress relief and a low-stress lifestyle. Learn how to make changes that will bring lasting benefits and, more importantly, make those changes permanent! If you've tried setting New Year's Resolutions or goals for change before and have failed, this class can supply ongoing support and motivation, as well as valuable information on how lasting change occurs, so you can create the life you really want.

What are your stumbling blocks, when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough exercise? Share them in the comments section. If you have tips for getting past those stumbling blocks, share those, too! We can get past these challenges.

Like this post? Want to use it to start a discussion with your friends? Pass it on!

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January 11, 2010 at 1:22 pm
(1) Kelly says:

I find myself to be too busy to exercise. I have a partner who would like to workout with me, I have home videos, I have the desire, but I find that there’s no time in the day! It seems like I’m running all day long, and when I finally do get home, I’m exhausted and want to just relax for a while to let the stress evaporate. I’m not sure how to get past that.

January 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm
(2) stress says:

That’s one of my challenges, too. It seems there’s a limitless supply of things to fill my day until my energy is sapped. I see three options here for you to focus on, though:
1) Plan exercise in the morning. Just make it part of your schedule–even if it’s just 15 minutes and you work your way up (by adding 15 at night, or by eventually increasing to 30 or 45), you’ll get into the habit of working out and feeling great, and it will be easier to continue the habit.

2) Join a class. This gets the workout into your schedule so you don’t push it aside for other seemingly important things. (What’s more important than your health?) This can also motivate you to make that extra push in the evening. Don’t worry–once you’re exercising, your energy level will rise and you’ll actually be *less* wiped out afterward.

3) Fit it in where you can. If you have 5 extra minutes before you need to jump in the shower, try 5 minutes of jumping jacks, push-ups and squats; if you can fit in a 10 minute walk during lunch, do it. The small bursts of exercise will add up, and you will feel empowered realizing that you really *do* have time to exercise. This can be a first step toward a more structured workout schedule, and a healthier lifestyle.

Hang in there, and let us know how you’re doing!

January 12, 2010 at 12:58 am
(3) No Stress says:

I know the feeling about not having time. However, there is always time if there is a will. Once you have taken the first step, the next will be easier.

January 14, 2010 at 10:43 am
(4) Kate DuBois says:

Thanks for the good tools. I agree with all of you. It’s challenging to find time to exercise when you have so much going on and where there’s a will there’s a way. Small chunks of time work for me, plus I love walking in nature and live close to a beach. There’s also something else…becoming more aware of your resistance and journaling your way through it to the result that you want.

I just finished a great book “Obesity Free Forever with a free daily intake journal. The author, Georgine Collins, who is a nurse, writes about how she went from 282 pounds to 140 pounds sensibly, and includes how she tracked her exercise to keep herself motivated. We both use pedometers, but she also recommends an online tracking service.

January 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm
(5) Kelly says:

Thank you for the great responses, this is really helpful! I’ve been doing some of that, the small chunks of exercise, and I’m getting more done, but not as much as I’d like. Still, though, it’s more than I *was* doing, so it’s helping me feel encouraged.

I’ll check out that book, Kate, thank you for the recommendation. And I’ll try journaling. Thanks again!

January 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm
(6) Kate DuBois says:

Kelly, I had an error in my link for the “Obesity Free Forever” book. Here is the correct link:


Once you’re on the site, click on the free downloads link.

Thanks so much for all you do.

January 18, 2010 at 11:07 pm
(7) Kate says:

Guess it’s my time for major stress management. The correct spelling of the name of the author of Obesity Free Forever is Georgene Collins.

January 9, 2012 at 11:24 am
(8) Cyndi says:

I’ve been battling my weight weight for 5yrs I’ve lost gained and re-lost the same 40lbs over and over again, but this no longer bothers me every time I loose again or gain again I learn something new about myself. This self discover has been the best adventure of my life, I’ve learned so much about me and what makes me tick. I know the weight will stay off once I have myself figured out :)

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