Living in Chronic Stress
For most of my adult life I lived in a state of chronic stress and I overate whatever I wanted to try to get rid of the level of stress I felt. Since understanding that stress is a major reason I was eating all the time, I’ve lost 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013. The weight loss, of course, is great, but even greater is now I can more readily recognize when I am in a state of stress or headed towards a state of chronic stress and deal with it in ways that actually reduce the stress rather than add to it.
At 430 pounds, I lived in a state of chronic stress. Anyone who is in the super morbidly obese category has put their bodies in this situation. Living in chronic stress is no fun. Many of us are there, we just don’t realize it. So today I want to talk about chronic stress, what it is and some ways to begin to manage it.
One of the reasons I lived in chronic stress is because I put myself there with my constant striving to be better and do more. There are many reasons for this but one of the biggest ones is that is how I God made me. And if He made me this way, then He can certainly help me understand how to use my strengths and not make them into my weakness.
All of my pushing and striving do better and do more added additional stress which I tried to mitigate by overeating. This only served to pile on the pounds to the point that I weighed 430 lbs. and landed in the hospital which a cardiac surgeon telling me I needed to lose weight and keep it off or I would be dead in five years.
This wasn’t the first time a doctor had told me I needed to lose weight. But this was the first time a doctor said it in such a way that it made me mad, but also got my full attention because he had added an expiration date!
For the first time I faced my own mortality. It was the moment that Duet 30:19-20 NLT talks about. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land.”
For the first time I saw that my way of dealing with the stress of everyday life was killing me. I wanted to choose life.
This was just the start of my turn-around point. It should have motivated me to do what God told me in 1977, but I still had many more years to wallow through my difficulties. I did go on a diet and lost 100 lbs. This time I kept it off longer. But because I still didn’t see what I was doing as a sin against God, I did not commit to it fully.
My problem was that I did not see what I was doing as a sin. I didn’t see overeating as a sin. I had no problem many other things as sin, but overeating was not in that category for me.
When a sin becomes common place, meaning everyone is doing it without thinking, it becomes a normal lifestyle. We don’t even think about it because everywhere we look we are being enticed towards our one main vice—for me that was eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it.
On the podcast I share more about how this helped me understand how to deal with stress in other ways and what some of the signs of chronic stress sare. Don’t miss the Action Steps for dealing with Stress which are available with my free Eating Stress Course.
Eating Stress Course: https://TeresashieldsParker.com/stress/. Each week you will receive an email when the new lesson has been uploaded.