You may not notice this super stealth fat loss destroyer until it has done its damage, you’ve gained several pounds, and you’re left wondering, “what the heck happened?” I’m talking about the transitions we go through in life whether they are big or small, good or bad. This can come in the form of moving in with your significant other, getting married, moving into a different city, losing a job, getting injured, breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, getting a new job, losing a loved one, etc. You get the idea. Most of the time, these transitions throw us off our “game” in many ways but most of the time we are not even aware that it’s happening and what it’s doing to us.
I’ve definitely have had this happen to me when I decided to quit my job and start a fitness bootcamp from scratch along with my husband deploying to the middle east. Thinking back now, this was a good change in my life because I was leaving a job I was not happy with and moving towards a career I was truly passionate about. But, the combination of the lack of structure in my day and the stress of starting a business ( which is like taking care of a new born baby) in addition to losing my main support system soon took its toll on me and I started to turn to things that were comforting to me. Ten (10) pounds of weight gain later, I was wondering how I got there.
What Makes Us Gain Weight During Transitions in the First Place?
In life, we learn everything after the fact – usually. Looking back to my behavior during that major transition from employee to business owner, I realized that I was turning to food for comfort. I discovered that a lot of people tend to do the same thing no matter how good or bad the change the’yre experiencing. We can turn to food because you’re really happy and in love with someone or we can also turn to food when we’re feeling really down. Personally, I turned to food for comfort because it was the only thing that was familiar to me in this new situation I found myself in.
For other people, it can be that their routine has been affected by moving in with their significant other or just being in a different place. For instance, if a woman moved in with her boyfriend, she may find that she eats out with her boyfriend more because he’s not used to cooking at home. If she was used to cooking at home and able to control her calorie intake that way and all of a sudden she starts dining out more often, there is no doubt that she will gain weight. Another example would be someone who had a job that requires them to be active and transitioning to a desk job without changing their eating habits.
The Best Thing to Do When in Transition
We have so many choices available to us nowadays. But, when we are out of our element, we end up choosing the wrong ones and we do not notice how these choices have affected us until the shit hits the fan (not a good situation to be in). Part of this is due to the fact that we get bombarded with useless information sometimes that we forget to pay attention to the things that truly matter – like our health. It is unfortunate because this is how most people tend to “let go” of their healthy lifestyle and their waistline. This is the reason I wanted to write about this here at my blog to bring it to our attention so we can do something about it when it does happen.
The first step to taking action in anything is becoming aware that a change is happening and acknowledge what it can possibly do to our health. Ask yourself a few key questions like will this change affect my workout routine, my activity level, how I prepare meals, or where I get my food from (cooked at home vs. dining out)? Is the new situation so stressful that I will not be able to get at least 7 hours of sleep or get enough time to rest? Most transitions are not simple. There are usually several factors at play that cause a big shift in your lifestyle.
Nip it in the Bud
Once you are aware, you then decide what your course of action will be. Fortunately, it’s easier to get back to your usual workout and nutrition routine once you have established it for a couple of years because you have created some pretty strong positive habits. The problem occurs when the new situation throws you off completely and all of a sudden you feel like you don’t have any control over anything. This is when the problem usually starts. When this happens, you’ll have to find out what exactly is causing you to feel out of control.
When in doubt, I would start with how I feel. There are usually some strong emotional reasons behind our food choices and whether we decide to exercise or not. Going back to my story, the things that threw me off my game the most were stress from the new business and the feeling of sadness when my husband deployed. These are two major transitions I didn’t anticipate and I almost felt like I was in depression. Granted, I still worked out but there were days when my nutrition choices were so poor that it made me feel even worst.
Back then, I was so immersed in my emotions that I could not observe what was happening to me and look at it objectively. I felt like I self-medicated with food just to numb out the stress and sadness I was feeling. I imagine that most people going through any transition would probably feel similar to how I felt and most of the time that it’s difficult to even think straight.
Looking back to those days (almost 1.5 years ago), I would take some time to analyze what I’m feeling and deal with it the best way possible (instead of shoving it deeper and self-medicating with food), set a schedule where I am getting enough time for work, play, and rest; surround myself with supportive, positive people; and follow a nutrition and exercise plan that has more flexibility and will not add stress to my life until I can do my regular schedule. To tell you the truth, this is exactly what I did but it just took me a lot longer to realize what I needed to do to get back on track.
I hope you learned a lesson or two from this post because I feel that this is something everyone will go through at some point in their life. The first step is to be aware (of anything and everything) that goes on around you. Once you do that, all you have to do is to take positive steps until you start to feel better and feel like your normal self again.
On a lighter note, change can be a really good thing. We’ll just have to make up our minds how it will affect our lives.
Have you experienced a minor or major transition in your life that threw you off your game? If so, what was it and what did you do to over come it?