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Caregivers: Steps to Stress-Proof Your Diet

Experience clinician-run addiction treatment at Red Oak Recovery® in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains

Caregivers: Steps to Stress-Proof Your Diet

/Have you ever effortlessly finished off a bag of chips or box of cookies after visiting your loved one in rehab? Have you noticed that your pants are getting a bit snug? Does working out seem like a selfish and lofty goal right now?

If you’re a caregiver and answered “yes” to these questions, you’re not alone. For many, the reality is that caregiving can easily lead to weight gain – whether due to emotional eating or a lack of time and energy to cook and exercise.

But the reality is also that compromising your health to care for someone you love is not doing you or your loved one any favors. Instead, practicing self-care by eating right, managing stress and exercising will help you be a better caregiver. It will also set a good example as your loved one embarks on a new healthy and sober life.

Don’t wait for the New Year – start today and manage your stress and your weight with one of these tips.

  • Think moderation. You don’t have to completely ditch the comfort foods, but you do need to pay attention to portions. Make an effort to stick with a serving’s worth. Hint: Never eat from the bag or box but instead doll chips or cookies into smaller bags.
  • Choose smart snacks. While there’s no one food to eliminate stress, certain nutrients do provide a steady, reliable source of energy to get you through the day feeling focused and balanced so you’ll have the ability to conquer anything. Some winners: asparagus, avocado, berries, nuts, oranges and green tea.
  • Distract yourself. The next time the desire to eat away your anxiety strikes, do your best to divert your cravings. Go for a walk, listen to music, read a book, or even toss in a load of laundry – whatever will keep your mind and hands busy.
  • Make an effort to move. It’s not new advice but it works. Exercise has been continually proven to boost feel-good endorphins and bust stress. And even a brisk 15-minute walk can do the trick when food cravings hit, according to a study in PLOS ONE.
  • Start a food journal. Writing down how you’re feeling when hunger strikes can help you identify any patterns and help you become more conscious of what you’re eating and why. Journaling is also a great way to let go of any bottle up emotions.

Help for Families

At Red Oak Academy, we understand how easy it is to feel out of control when a loved one is addicted. We have a strong commitment to providing support to the parents and families of those entering treatment. Becoming involved with their treatment in a supportive manner gives them the best chance of success. To learn more about our family program, call today: 866.457.7426.