When Life And Loss Happens…
You have a choice
Life is full of ups and downs, and while we will always have stress coming at us, like ocean waves. There is a difference between riding the waves or getting knocked down and dragged under. I tend to work with men and women who are trying to lose weight and have multiple jobs, mortgages, responsibilities, travel schedules, sometimes children, and always…stress.
Can you relate?
I sure can. There is stress, and then there is STRESS! Just 10 years ago I lost my mom in the worst way possible way. She was murdered in her home one night by a home invasion. My world collapsed around me and I was devastated by what had happened. Over the next year, the stress and anxiety was ruining my life. Symptoms that I experienced were weight gain, headaches, constant mind chatter, insomnia…you name it. I was a mess both emotionally and physically. It took quite some time to bounce back from that. There were quite a few lessons learned during that time. The biggest one is about my instinct to fight. I fought for justice, I fought for my sanity in the thick of it all, and I fought for how the rest of my life would turn out. I realized along the way that I have two choices:
I could suffer my whole life with the pain of losing her, and hold on to the anger towards the men that did this to her. I also could have let this tragedy dictate my future and could have been a mess the rest of my life. Instead, I chose not to feel like a victim. I chose not to hold on to the anger, and I chose to forgive the men who did this to her. Obviously the tragedy I mentioned is not an everyday stress. It is the small things that seem to derail us. (Flat tire, traffic jam, long lines at the grocery store, washing machine breaks, babysitter cancels, etc.)
When something happens to you that takes your choices away it can be very debilitating. Losing a loved one, or a job, parents divorcing, medical conditions, etc. makes you feel that you are not in control of what happens to you. Sometimes taking back that control can be what gets you past that difficult time in your life:
Ask yourself, what is it that I can be in control of in this situation? Here are a few scenarios:
If it is a loss of a loved one, you can control how this will affect you. Will life stop for you, or will you be strong and bounce back? While you can and should grieve for someone, it doesn’t mean that your life needs to stop in the process.
- If it is a job you lost, diving right back in to a job search, and redoing your resume will give you back some control.
- Parents divorcing is a tough one, because many kids or adult children blame themselves for the divorce or they might try to fix it and make it all better. If you realize that it is not your fault, nor is it your job to fix it, it will release you from the obligation you might feel. You again, have the power to choose how to react to this. You could choose to pick sides, get involved, beg them to stay together, etc. What makes the most sense is for you to decide what would give you the most sanity, and react based on that finding.
- Getting diagnosed with a medical condition is scary. You may feel fear, shock, disbelief, anxiety, powerlessness, loneliness, sadness, and anger. Once you feel your emotions and have let them all out, it is time to “pick up your big girl panties” (or boy briefs) and come up with a plan. This plan may be to save your life, regain your health, or deal with the consequences or your condition (example – a diabetic who needs to inject themselves with insulin, or someone with kidney disease who has to hook themselves up to a dialysis machine on a daily basis). Your reaction to the condition is just almost as important as the medication you take for it.
Imagine for a moment that you grabbed the bull by the horns and became an advocate for yourself and fought the good fight with everything you had in you vs. sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself. The same goes for people who want to lose weight. We can sit home and eat our bon bons, or actually put together a plan for success by looking at our pitfalls and seeking the help we need.
While I could go on and on about the steps to reduce stress (and there are many), I believe it all begins and ends with a choice. If you have been struggling with your weight for a while I am sure you are beyond ready to make a change. Whether you have made zero effort or have been a lifelong dieter that has failed again and again, it doesn’t matter. You can start by making the best possible decisions for yourself today, and remember….it is all a CHOICE.