As I was studying my Sunday School lesson, I read these verses and realized how important they are to our journey with The Daniel Plan and also our prayer journey. Satan doesn’t like to see us grow stronger in our faith or our spiritual life in general. The enemy sneaks in everywhere he can find a weak place. It may be through health issues, family issues or even something as simple as distracting us from our focus on God. Distractions are a big thing with me and I have to be constantly on guard. It truly is a battle and we have to have our armor in place.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the saints.
7 SNEAKY THINGS THAT MAKE YOU STRESS EAT WITHOUT REALIZING
Stress eating, emotional eating, diving face-first into food—whatever you call it, it can creep up when you least expect it. In fact, you may not even realizing that when you’re regularly heating up the oven to bake your co-workers the best batch of pumpkin spice cookies they’ve ever tasted—and taste-testing for proof—you’re actually stress eating (and here you just thought you were being nice). So we turned to the experts to help us ID those subtle habits that could actually mean you’re pushing your limits, and stole their top tips and techniques to help break the cycle.
No matter what’s on your plate, if you feel your back is up against a wall or you’re dealing with a difficult-to-solve problem, you may try to eat your way out of the situation. “It’s often our go-to soothing strategy because it fulfills the 3 E’s that motivate our behavior: it’s easy, effortless, and economical,” says Susan Albers, psychologist and author of 50 More Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food. Meaning it’s a simple, immediate solution that doesn’t require much thought.
Stress relief: Because it might be such a knee-jerk reaction, it may take longer to break this little habit. So practice makes perfect with this alternative solution from Albers: Create a self-soothing tool kit, filling a box with items like gum, tea bags, and even bubble wrap to squeeze if you get angry. Stash the box in the spot you’re most likely to need it (ie: the place you tend to get stressed most often, like your desk) and use as many of the items as you need until you’re feeling more zen.
YOU’RE CARING FOR A SICK KID
Trying to juggle an under-the-weather child, plus all of your normal responsibilities, makes you turn to ice cream, chips, or a hefty glass of wine for comfort. “When things happen out of our control, we tend to react instead of acting proactively,” says Melissa McCreery, PhD, psychologist and author of TooMuchonHerPlate.com. And that knee-jerk reaction to stress is almost always food, because that’s something you can control.
Stress relief: Think about other things you can do that will help you take back a bit of control, suggests McCreery, like making a to-do list. Then tackle each item one at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed by the big picture. When you need a breather, repeat a mantra like this: “It’s one day, and she’s feeling better. The day feels out of hand, but I’m doing my best.” Research shows that taking the time to do so can help you re-center your emotions and help reduce the urge to pour another glass.
YOU’RE REWARDING YOURSELF
You’re done with a stressful work project and made it through parent-teacher conferences, so you deserve a decadent dessert, right? Ehhh…Research shows that treating yourself for a job well done can affect how your brain works by impairing your ability to learn, and it turns into more of a punishment than reward when the habit makes you gain weight.
Stress relief: When you crave a post-stress nosh, ask yourself if it’s what you really want or need, says Albers. “Pausing for a moment will stop the automatic habit to reach for a bite,” she says. Then do something that’s calming or fun that doesn’t “cost” calories. Scientists found that taking a brief, brisk walk was enough to quash stress-induced chocolate cravings, while another study discovered that watching funny cat videos can recharge your energy and put you in a more positive mood. Nothing guilty about that.
All those restrictions you’re implementing to help you lose weight could actually be making you gain. “If you have a lot of food rules about what or how much to eat, you’re more likely to be stressed and preoccupied with food thoughts,” says Alex. And when you break a “rule,” you’re apt to feel guilty, which can make you eat more to soothe your feelings, or cause an “I give up” mentality that could lead to a food binge.
Stress relief: Skip the all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to food, and start by removing the phrase “forbidden” or “can’t” from your eating vocabulary, says Alex. A doughnut is not forbidden, bad or wrong—it’s just a doughnut and you can have one if you’re really craving it every now and then. Repeating that every time you catch yourself depriving can help you break the longtime habit we’ve developed after years of being told what’s good and what’s bad, which in turn can stop destructive behavior like eating (and often overindulging) those foods in secret.
YOU’RE DEALING WITH RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS
Okay, you know that that fight with your husband makes you want to bow down to the land of chocolate chip cookie dough. “Relationship stress is the number one reason we stress eat,” she says. Here’s why: “Other people’s words and actions are so out of our control, and food, once again, is in our control,” says Albers. “During a fight or breakup, it’s common to see people push down their feelings with food because it’s something we have power over,” she says.
Stress relief: If there’s a persistent problem in your relationship that causes you to stress eat so much that you’re gaining weight from it, then you may need professional guidance from a relationship counselor. Whether you go to couples therapy or see someone solo, they’ll be able to help figure out your relationship issues, teach you how to communicate feelings more effectively, and potentially address food issues that may be developing.
YOU’RE EATING TO PLEASE
The holidays are coming up, and while we already know it’s easy to overeat because of the overwhelming abundance of food, most don’t realize that just being around a ton of family members can lead to second or third helpings. “Navigating family situations and certain relationships can be a stress eating minefield,” says McCreery. One study found that people often eat to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings, so if there’s tension in the family, it can make you reach for your fork in order to make them feel a part of the group, or so they don’t feel bad about themselves or the dish they made. You may also do it to appear friendlier, which comes in handy for relatives you see once a year.
Stress relief: If you know that you’ll be in a stressful family situation, plan ways that you can have some time to yourself to get grounded, suggests McCreery. That may be taking a walk, going to the gym (even if you spend more time in the sauna), or just sitting in a room having “quiet” time to yourself. “Practicing regular self-care means you value you own needs,” adds Alex. “As a bonus, it allows you to be more present and patient when you return to the festivities.”