Plan for Stress and Have Success


Tiffany often tells me that she had a stressful week. Sound familiar? It’s common for work and family obligations to overwhelm you some days or weeks, causing tension. But that’s no excuse to eat poorly or skip your workout! The Lehmans know this first-hand. The Healthy Family Challenge has taught them strategies to stay on course even during times of anxiety. Here are some tips I’ve shared with them which can help everyone.

  1. Stock the freezer. When you’re short on time and stress levels are high, you’ll be tempted to order take-out or head for the nearest restaurant, where you’ll likely eat far more than if you had eaten at home. Avoid that by having a freezer full of healthy frozen meals.
  2. Get a fitness buddy. Have someone in place to motivate you to keep working out, even when you have no interest in moving from the couch.
  3. Make a different diet friend. Find someone who is also trying to lose weight or make healthy changes and act as each other’s support person.
  4. Plan for special events. Holidays, birthdays, parties. It seems like we’re always surrounded with excuses to eat. Decide now what events are worth that extra splurge and which foods you most look forward to. Then say “no” to the rest. Love those holiday sweet potatoes? Enjoy them! Don’t really care about that cake at your office party? Skip it!

Think about any other things that would help you stay on track and then write them down, making your own personal plan for staying healthy. Stressful events often occur when you’re not expecting them. So have a plan in place now to help ensure you’ll continue your healthy habits when anxiety rears its ugly head.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.