Say Ahh...

When stress hits, here's how to fight back—calmly and effectively.
Published May 10, 2017

Raise your hand if you felt stressed sometime today. Chances are you have. Stress is an all-around offender, tackling mind, body, and spirit. Typically it first makes its presence known emotionally. You might be short-tempered, anxious, overwhelmed—or all of that and more. But stress can stump you mentally, too. Maybe you find it hard to make decisions, or to sort through options when you're under pressure. It can affect you physically, including your cardiac health.   And stress can hinder your weight-loss progress, because we tend to take comfort in turning to food.

A great defense against stress? Just breathing. The exercises in your Weekly can help, with simple techniques that feel good while you're doing them as well as afterward.

Other ways to de-stress

While it can be tempting to try to escape by watching TV, surfing the web—or eating—fleeing the mental tumult doesn't help in the long run. A better, if counterintuitive solution: Tune in, not out. Paying attention to your surroundings, your food, and your actions can help right away (you slow your racing pulse, enjoy food more, and are even less injury-prone), and over time by helping you make more thoughtful choices. All that and you feel more relaxed, too.

If you have…

10 minutes: Find a quiet place — perhaps in your car or in the bathroom —where no one can bother you. Some members find it helpful to hold a memento of a relaxing time, such as a seashell, a pebble, or a leaf. Just close your eyes, relax your jaw, breathe, and recall the feelings of being in that serene time and place.

20 minutes: Leave your to-do list and cell phone behind and take a 20-minute walk. Focus on the here and now: the sidewalk, birdsong, the warmth of the sun, the caressing breeze.

30 minutes:  Try a few relaxing yoga poses. If you're not into yoga, take a bath, dance to a favourite song or try some simple, ease-out-the-kinks stretches.

Whenever your weight-loss efforts start to overwhelm you, bring yourself back to the present, and breathe slowly and deeply to regain your focus. It's a great way to stay on Plan for life.

Lotsa Pasta

Yes, you can eat carbs! The trick to making it plan-wise is whole-wheat pasta, lots of veggies, zesty seasonings—or all three.