Tuesday we celebrated the Fourth of July in the U.S. July 4th is a day to celebrate independence and freedom. At the same time, many of us are filled with anxiety over what is happening in the world at large and in our own divided country. What do we do with that anxiety? Do we mesh it with our own personal anxiety regarding not being able to lose weight or being unhappy with our lives and blindly eat the unhealthy food around us?
We know eating well will feel better. But we can't seem to use our willpower to do so. We may feel overwhelmed by anxiety caused by a mixture of worries, so we resist feeling this anxiety and seek solace by eating.
If you experience anxiety, how do you address it? Do you reach for something sweet or a perfect combination of salty/savory? When everyone around you is eating junk food, what do you say to yourself? How do you treat yourself?
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Did you use this holiday to overeat? Did you practice overeating at a picnic or family gathering to calm your anxiety and stress?
What else is there to do? you might ask.
Be prepared with your own food
You can look at yesterday and congratulate yourself for keeping your promise to yourself or you can be the gentle observer and learn from your mistakes.
If you anticipate that you will be exposed to the ‘normal’ American Fourth of July diet: BBQ, chips, beer, cake, baked beans – you can plan what you will eat in advance. It is very doable if you have several strategies.
Finding the right food to eat is paramount. Grilled meats with a green salad and some red, white and blue fruit (strawberries, bananas and blueberries) for dessert are easy to include in any family 4th of July outing.
If it is pot-luck meal, you can bring a green salad and a fruit salad to share to ensure that you get what you need and grab a naked grilled hamburger or a piece of chicken. If you are vegetarian, you may already be used to bringing your own to get what you need!
Be prepared for outside food.
It is also possible to get healthy foods when you are out. How, by being aware and prepared! The Marin County Fair has a food court where the local Greek Church sponsors fresh Greek food. I had a delicious gyro (without the bread), a Greek salad and tzatziki sauce. It was fuel food and tasted wonderful.
As I passed all the fast food, I was sad for a brief moment because we are not communicating to everyone how these junk foods are killing us.
That passed quickly, because, I wasn’t tempted by any of it and I just headed out to my next activity.
After the food, then what?
How will you enjoy the day without using food? You can plan an activity. You can allow for a little anxiety.
As 2017 is the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love in San Francisco, we attended the Happy Together Tour at the Marin County Fair. We had a blast listening to The Association sing “Never My Love” (and I knew every word of that song and many others).
Looking around at all the grey-haired men and women moving to the music, I felt the many years that passed since I heard those songs on the radio day after day. All of us smiling and swaying to goofy songs and love songs.
Has it happened to you? You look around at the crowd and note how old they are, then you realize that you are just as old as them! How did that happen? How does this revelation feel?
Any anxiety I had about acknowledging how old I am was transformed by how much I loved singing along with those songs of the 60s. That felt pretty darn good to my brain.
Even though I can hardly remember yesterday, I decided I wanted to give myself a break from current events and focus on having a relaxing day at the Fair.
Food – Check.
Fun – Check.
Care for my soul – Check!
You can learn to deal with stress and anxiety by allowing for it, having self-compassion, and finding your fun. This is an amazing way to love yourself thin and maintain a healthy weight without deprivation.
It is possible.