Violent storms have a way of obscuring one’s vision.
Recently, I had the misfortune of having to drive in the middle of a thunder storm. You know how hard it is to see more than five feet in front of you when the rain is pelting your windshield like millions of tiny harpoons.
As I maneuvered nervously through my neighborhood, I drove right into a cavernous abyss. At least, that’s what it felt like, but it was only a large pot hole. Thankfully, I pulled through without damaging my car too badly.
The funny thing is, I knew the pot hole was there. How many times had I driven the same route? Hundreds?
I just couldn’t see the pot hole at that moment. I was too stressed out and distracted. That can happen as I navigate through life, too. I can be in a stressful moment and completely forget about a situation that might trigger me to eat mindlessly.
When I feel as though I am being attacked by harpoons coming at me from every direction, it is easy to forget about the pot holes. It is easy to be sabotaged by circumstances (and people) when you are under stress.
Here are a few tips that you can use when a violent storm is threatening your WLS success:
1. Be intentional about the terrain. In other words, when a stress-storm starts to swirl, think *first* about where your vulnerabilities are and how you will deal with the stressor so that your WLS lifestyle is not compromised.
2. Develop a navigational plan. Once you know what you are dealing with, you’ll need a plan for getting around your obstacles. Planning is an essential habit of WLS masters.
3. Fix the potholes you can fix. Are there boundaries you need to set with other people so the pot holes will go away? Do you need to bring healthy food to a party instead of relying on the luck of the draw once you get there?
4. Find an alternative route. Sometimes the pot holes in your life cannot be fixed easily or at all. Maybe you are caring for an aging parent or a sick child. Or, maybe you’ve been laid off from work with no immediate prospects of income. Maybe you have pandemic fatigue.
When ongoing stress mounts and emotional eating seems inevitable, consider your alternatives. When a road is closed for construction, you take the detour. Learn how you can self soothe without your old friend food.
5. Stay alert. New pot holes can crop up at any time. The winding road of life will take you up and down many well-worn hills. As best you can, keep your eyes open and scan the horizon regularly.
There is one pot hole in my neighborhood that is particularly large. Even though it’s the quickest route out of my neighborhood, I don’t go that way anymore — because I know that I may get distracted and break an axel!
If you have a “pot hole” in your life that can be avoided, maybe it’s time to find a new route. For example, do you have to bake cookies for your grandkids when they love apples with cinnamon?