Stress Triggers and Cutting the Cheese

I hope everyone had happy holidays!! Ours was very chill and relaxing. The kids were excited at gifts they received. The Hubs and I cooked a delicious dinner of beef tips, mashed potatoes and asparagus. We watched WW84 and we’re bored.

I baked a crap-ton of cookies the days leading up to Christmas. I also made homemade cookies and cream ice cream and even baked my first ever cheesecake! It was all so yummy. We gifted some to some family and friends before Christmas. (Ring Doorbells sure make it hard to “Ding Dong Ditch!”) I enjoy baking and I am pretty decent at it. However, I know that when I am stressed out, I stress eat. This is a main reason, I have scaled back my baking (or try to give so much of it away.)

Image: Homemade Cookies and Cream ice cream served over a warm brownie

In the 3 days since Christmas, I have stress eaten so much of it. (I know that I am stressed right now by someone close to me being Covid positive and how I feel all the emotions about that.)

I know that when I am stressed, it triggers me to stress eat or stress shop.

I’ve gotten so much better about stress shopping. In 2019, I challenged myself to not buying any new clothes for a year. I had to break my challenge for two occasions when I needed outfits for two specific events and the clothes in my closet would not work. I don’t consider this failing, just more of an asterisk.

In 2020, I had to adjust to online shopping. Let me just say, I do not like shopping online. Unless it’s things I have previously bought so I know how it is, like gallon size plastic bags. In the early months of 2020, I bought so many things online that were the wrong size or the wrong type of thing and returns were hard.

As the depressing months of 2020 dragged on and I would be triggered by living through a global pandemic, I would add things to my cart, look at the total and close my browser and the urge would pass. If the urge didn’t pass, I’d put it in my online cart and wait a few days to see if I still needed/wanted it. Most the time, if I took a break, I would not feel like I HAD to buy whatever I had patiently waiting for me in my cart.

When I am triggered to shop, I now can take a step back and analyze what the deeper issue is.

I have not learned to control my stress eating, other than to just not have anything sweet in my house. I momentarily feel control and comfort when I eat these things. Then guilt kicks in. I have left myself notes, I have told myself to go do something else, just walk away, but it is so much harder to change my mindset to do with food.

Image: My first ever attempt at a cheesecake

I have been having stomach issues for the last few years. Prior to the pandemic, I was working with a nutritionist to help my stomach and to hopefully figure out what foods trigger inflammation and stress on my guts. At the beginning of December, I started to track what I ate on a food app. I stopped noting things when I realized the closer we got to Christmas the more, I should have been adding entries like, “ate 13 chocolate fudge cookies”, “had 2 bowls of ice cream”, etc. but I was embarrassed to share my truth on a private app, no one else would see.

Long story short, I have made the decision to cut dairy. I should cut carbs too. (I have an allergy to wheat and yeast but I love me some carbs.)

My game plan is to slowly cut milk products. In researching, I have found there are so many lactose free options that it seems really doable. I will eventually cut the cheese out, haha. So many people on Instagram suggested great brands to try for cheese alternatives.

As I am doing this, I am trying to be more mindful of the carbs I am also eating with the hope, I get in the habit of cutting those too. We have made the switch to organic meats and wild caught fish already. I am telling myself this is a change in lifestyle and it needs to be done with different choices. The physical pain from when I accidently poison myself with food is still seared into my brain and I try to remind myself of that when I get all boo-hoo about these changes. Sarah, it is not worth the pain.

I know myself well enough that I have to start with very small, POSITIVE, baby steps or I will just quit outright. I added the foods, I ate today to the app. That’s a small positive step!

I am uncomfortable but determined to try. Have you made a big food cut like this? Do you have any tips? I feel like there are so many different food options out there, I really have no reason to not make the switch other than myself trying to stand in my own way.

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