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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

For Caregivers: How to Stress-Proof Your Diet

You’re so stressed about your addicted loved one that you devour whatever you have on hand — chips, candy, soda — even though you know it’s unhealthy. You have no time or energy to cook. Your clothes are even getting a bit snug but carving out time to exercise seems like a selfish, lofty goal right now. 

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, caregiving and weight gain often go hand in hand. But caring for your loved one should never mean compromising your own health. Instead, it’s important that you make healthful lifestyle choices, including managing stress without eating your worries away. Not only will you feel better but you’ll set a good example for your loved as he or she embarks on a new sober life. 

Try one of these tips to help stress-proof your diet. 

Make moderation your motto. It’s OK if you’re not ready to ditch the comfort foods, but there’s no need to finish off an entire bag of chips or box of cookies. Portion them out to remove the temptation. Try dolling cookies or chips into smaller bags so you’ll only eat a serving’s worth.

Stock up on stress-busting snacks. Hit the grocery store and load up on a few foods shown to alleviate stress. Think nuts, dried apricots, omega-3-rich fish, legumes, and whole-grain cereals. And aim to eat snacks that include low-fat protein. This will keep you satisfied longer. Try red and green bell pepper strips with hummus, grapes with low-fat string cheese, or a celery stalk with a dollop of peanut butter. 

Distract yourself. The next time you’re about to eat away your anxiety, call a friend, listen to music, read a book, or even toss in a load of laundry – whatever will keep your mind off of food. Studies show that simply closing your eyes and imagining a tropical vacation can help kill a craving.

Get moving. It’s not new advice but it continues to hold true. Exercise boosts those feel-good endorphins. People who exercise regularly are also study-proven to be less impacted by stress. Try it: take a walk, pop in a yoga DVD, or sign up for a swimming class.

Write it down. Start a food journal – and be sure to include how you’re feeling: scared, angry, tired, fed up, craving chocolate, etc. This will help you become more conscious of what you’re eating and why. Journaling can also help you express any bottled up emotions. If you decide to seek counseling or therapy to better cope with your loved one’s addiction, you may even consider brining your journal with you. 

Calling All Parents!
At Hope Academy, we understand how easy it is for parents to feel out of control when your child is addicted. Becoming involved with their treatment in a supportive manner gives them the best chance of success. With your help, we’ll help your teen or young adult attain lasting sobriety. Call today: 

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