I admit I’ve eaten when I’m lonely or bored, but stressed? Never thought about it until I flew with my husband. We own a Taildragger plane, but I rarely fly with him because it STRESSES me out.
So imagine when he flew me further than my own backyard this past weekend. The stress in my body exceeded Mt. Shasta’s 14,000 foot peak. If I’d been an earthquake, my stress level would have been a ten on the Richter scale. If I was a cat, I’d have been hanging from the ceiling by my claws with my fur standing on end.
Forget Thin Within’s boundaries and counting the cost. When we landed at a small airport, armed guards couldn’t have kept me from the snack vending machine. I wanted my sweet, endurance prize—an Almond Joy.
So yeah, Stress triggers my eating button. If I smoked, I would have inhaled two cigarettes at the same time. If I was a gunslinger about to fight the bad guy, I would have choked down a double shot of whiskey.
However, as I stood in the lobby, waiting for my husband to refuel our plane, I stopped to observe and correct my actions. I realized my taut nerves made me buy that Almond Joy. Eating it, was no solution.
So I climbed into the backseat of our tandem-seat plane and tucked that mouth-watering baby inside the seat pouch in front of me. When the flight got bumpy, my eyes feasted on the package; imagined how it tasted. But I refused to eat it unless it was absolutely necessary.
Understand, my husband is an experienced aviator who’s flown his whole life. He’s safety conscious, especially with me, because he gets stressed when I’m screaming, “Not so high!”
Everyone has their thing that makes them stressful. Mine is flying…actually, it’s being suspended in the air higher than ten feet. I feel the same way about aerial trams. So, I’ve had to “work” at not being stressed when I fly.
Here’s what I discovered in the cockpit that calms me and carries over into my life so I’m not a walking Almond Joy.
1) I listen to Christian praise music and meditate on the lyrics that talk about God’s presence and character.
2) I listen to imagery podcasts that help me control my breathing and relax my body.
3) I pray for people rather than focus on myself, and relinquish my desire to control or fix their problems.
4) I recite Biblical Truths
5) I distract my mind by doing a Word Search. I also have an adult coloring book filled with scripture. Coloring books are popular because creativity relieves stress. I used to embroider and needle point to relax.
6) I read a light-hearted book.
7) I poke fun at myself and laugh.
8) I close my eyes and pretend I’m soaking in a warm bubble bath.
These suggestions help me relieve stress…and avoid munching…whether both feet are on the ground, or I’m 10,000 feet in the air.
But honestly, when life gets crazy bumpy and it’s absolutely necessary….I munch on the Almond Joy. Only now I know to give half to my husband so I don’t consume all those calories. Why add guilt to stress?
This was such a great article!! I too am a stress eater and am trying to give that anxiety over to God! Thanks for the wisdom (& the chuckle) 🙂
Thanks Amanda for commenting. Closing my eyes and listening to the praise music…and being mindful of God’s presence while I was listening…truly relaxed and energized me. However, I have to consistently go to Jesus because I can’t live stress free in my own power. Would you believe….on the last day of our flight that I succumbed to stress? The battery died so I couldn’t listen to praise music. I bought a chocolate filled croissant to compensate my nerves. So my husband took a picture of me eating it with my eyes crossed, and we had a good laugh!
I too am a stress eater. I have been in the habit of running to food for years now. I think it started when my Dad found out my Mom was starving me and he would push food on me to fix the problem. So that was many years ago. But, praise God because in so many ways He leads me in lots of problems that i have, instead of me worring about my problem and acting on my problem to pray instead and seek His face and He will be there for me. He gives me so much peace as i wait on Him. Really trying to wait on 0 today, and praying about what does 5 feel like and how to stop at 5, not inhale my food stuff it down mode. I am going to pick one of thoes things you suggested when i am stressed and see what happens. Praise God He lives.
Bless your heart Carisa. I love how you are seeking God and praising Him even when you’re stressed and having problems. God honors a humble heart that desires Him. You are not alone in being a stress eater. Pick one of those suggestions the next time you feel stressed. Knowing ahead of time what you’ll do when you’re stressed is part of the battle plan! I’ll be praying for you Carisa.