It’s a refrain I hear a lot:
“I am SO busy – I just started a business/have a successful business/hate my job and want to start a business/times are tough at work and they just keep piling on the responsibilities and projects – there is so much to do – I can NEVER catch up – my email consumes me – I’m always working but I feel pulled in so many directions – I’m stuck and I don’t know where to begin – I don’t feel like I accomplish what I want to – I’m snacking all the time/overeating/bingeing in the evening – and I’m putting on weight – life feels out of control but I don’t know how to break the cycle – I have so much to do – I know I should exercise but frankly I’m too darned tired – and I can’t get control of my eating. Help!”
Sound familiar? If so, this is important. Overwhelm, stress, lack of self-care, and emotional eating are intricately connected for many smart busy women with too much on their plates (the pun there is always intended). Breaking out of this vicious, damaging cycle requires being respectful of all these components. No low carb/high protein/liquid/fill-in-the-blanks diet addresses these crucial pieces. Frankly, it’s about so much more than the food.
Each part of the cycle perpetuates the others. Overwhelm can contribute to cutting back on time for self-care; stress (and exhaustion) fuels your appetite, impacts your metabolism, and triggers emotional eating, which in turn increases feelings of overwhelm, stress, and just-plain-feeling-out-of-control.
Breaking the cycle requires a pause (yes, I know you are busy, but you really do need to stop and disengage), some deep breaths, and then a plan of action so that you can take the wheel of your life (and then your business or job) instead of running along frantically behind it.
Now is the time to do it. Because if you don’t, you will either stay stuck where you are (I’m betting you don’t have any extra energy right now to grow, think, play bigger, or hoist yourself out of the pit you see yourself in), or worse, as a new client described to me this week, you will crash and burn. And then you will HAVE to stop. You deserve so much more.
If you can do nothing else, commit to the following steps. They will help you start to see some daylight.
1.Give yourself 15 minutes a day. It won’t take away from your productivity, it will increase it. Journal, walk, meditate, soak in the tub. Connect with yourself and pay attention to how you feel. Don’t do this at the end of the day when you are too tired to move and your brain has stopped working. Pay yourself first or take a break during your work day.
2.Adopt the following mantras: “I’m doing my best,” and “I can’t do it all.” They are true.
3.Each evening, identify your top three action items for the next day and call it an accomplishment when you have knocked those out. If possible, do them early in the day.
4.Plan for food that fuels you. Don’t skip breakfast, have a plan for lunch, and don’t starve yourself before dinner. Make sure you have the groceries that you need. Choose foods that are appealing. No starvation diets.
5.Cut the multitasking. It stresses us out and makes us less effective. Really practice focusing on doing one thing at a time. You won’t get it perfect, but that’s okay, remember step number two.
6.Take emotional eating seriously. That doesn’t mean beating yourself up over it. Emotional eating happens when our spirit or our life isn’t getting fed the non-food things we need or crave. We have to pay attention to that and develop other ways of caring for ourselves. This can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you feel stuck, consider an emotional eating program or coach. There is so much more to life than this vicious cycle.
7.Don’t skip #1 (you’ll probably be tempted).
There are more steps, but hearing them now might just add to your overwhelm—and it’s okay not to know all the steps before you get started. Do what you can, give yourself credit, and remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
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