Stress and my Health

I had my physical earlier this month–my lube, oil and filter as I call it. Everything was great (blood pressure low, heart rate good etc.) until the issue of my weight came up. Seems I’ve put on almost 30 lbs since my last physical two years ago. Not good. It didn’t take the doctor’s scales to tell me I was overweight, all I had to do was look at my recent photos– or my lack of recent photos since I was avoiding the camera. Until I hit my 40’s I had been in good shape. Not skinny anymore since I have inherited the huge chest that both my grandmothers had, but I was curvy. Now I am definitely apple-shaped, which I know is risky.

My weight gain has been particularly hard to accept because I was a skinny kid. When I got married I weighed 107 lbs for goodness sake! Being thin was a huge part of my identity so trying to accept the new me has been very hard to do. I have been consciously avoiding visiting any friends from my past because I do not look anything like I did back in high school. This weight gain has totally filled me with shame.

I made a list of everything that has happened to me during the past 2 years as a way of figuring out what the hell happened to me. Once I had it all down on paper, I could see the tremendous effect stress has had on my body:

-middle daughter (aka Kay) left for college August 2009

-broke my left foot in November 2009

-lost my job 4 days later

-moved to a new house 2 weeks after that

-my youngest daughter (aka Elle) moved in with her father and step-mother July 2010

-I moved in with my beau August 2010 (changed cities)

-I started college September 2010

It’s clear to me that stress makes me gain weight. I know I have not been taking care of myself and have been eating crap all this time. I struggled financially being an unemployed single parent trying to make some extra money freelancing and eating too much as a way of relieving the stress. I know I was seriously depressed during that time but dealt with it on my own because I don’t like the side effects associated with antidepressants. I thought the weight would magically fall off me when I was back in school and happy but that didn’t happen.

Life is a little more calm now but I have had a very hard time adjusting to an empty nest. I miss my youngest daughter so much. Motherhood is a very big part of my identity and I still feel lost because she isn’t around very often. Add the stress of fitting into my beau’s home and trying to get along with doing things a different way and the stress of going back to school full-time, it’s no wonder I gained weight!

Now that I have this realization, I can work on the solution: self-care.  I have to make time to see friends, see my kids on a regular basis and think about what I’m eating and why. I’m not trying to diet per se but I am trying to do what’s best for me.

I hope it works.



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6 Responses to Stress and my Health

  1. kellypriebe says:

    A suggestion if I may. Two things that you have mentioned, the first being large chest, at the wonderful age of 40 hormone level change dramatically and a large bust is a classic sign of estrogen overload, I strongly suggest an estrogen supplement. That being said a natural supplement not pharmaceutical.
    The second suggestion, you mentioned that comfort food is an issue for you. Google Clean Eating, it can be a little pricey to start eating healthier but after your initial purchases have been made it gets easier to “digest”, many thing in your body will change, energy is one and an overall feeling of wellness. I can give you tips if you need them, life is good and you can make it better!

    • Kelly, do you mean an anti-estrogen supplement? I am on one already that has tumeric and broccoli compounds to remove excess estrogen. It has really helped with my cycle, which has been heavy for years. I have cut way back on any processed foods. Eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit. If it comes from a box I don’t eat it.

  2. Suzy Turner says:

    Wow… you’ve been through some serious crap over the past two years Leanne… I commend you for writing this all down and sharing it with us. That’s the difficult part. I wish you all the luck in the world to sort out the issue with your weight… somehow, though I don’t think you need luck. I do believe that you’re on the road to success even now. Getting it all off your (rather ample – I’m just jealous that I didn’t get just a teeny weeny bit!) chest will help you to move forward.
    Best wishes
    Suzy Turner

    • Thanks, Suzy. Writing it all down made me go “wow”. Trying to cut myself a bit of slack about the weight gain and just treating myself well with healther food and exercise as a kind of moving meditation.

  3. kdmccrite says:

    I totally understand what you’re saying about the stress/weight gain connection. It seems to me that many of us eat (self-medicate) for comfort, then our bodies (God bless ’em) somehow seem to think we need to be cuddled and hugged and what better way to do that than a layer of fat? Good luck with your weight loss. Don’t beat yourself up, and know that you can anything if you want it badly enough and stick to it .

    By the way, I love your poetry. Keep writing. That will help you in so many ways.

    God bless!


    • Thanks, Kathleen for the kind words. I’m glad you like my poetry. I have been exercising and watching what I eat this month and I’ve lost 4 lbs so far. Yay! I’ve tried to lose weight in the past but never got anywhere but I see now that I was not working out hard enough. My body needs to be pushed. Using free weights has really helped.

      Take care!

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