Stress and how it affects me physically

I’ve started to notice a bit of a pattern recently and thought I’d share it with you guys. Since having my gastric bypass and going through a process of getting to know my body again I am quite a bit more perceptive about it and how outside things influence my body. Stress is something that can be hard to manage at times and I’m only now beginning to see just how much it effects me physically.

Stress is something that many of us struggle to manage in healthy ways and after having bariatric surgery not being able to turn to food to comfort myself has been hard at times. So hard I’ve cried and basically thrown a tantrum. There have been times when I have gone to food for comfort and it never turns out well but sometimes I forget that and lapse back into old habits.

I have found some healthy ways to channel my stress, exercise being the main thing. I love the instant boost it has on my mood and outlook on things and it’s something I can do that’s just for me (other mums out there I’m sure will relate.) I also do things like take time to pamper myself with beauty products and that helps me relax and unwind. These are great when I can fit them in time wise but obviously they aren’t things I can always turn to at any time when my stress levels suddenly rise.

I have started to find though that when I’m really stressed I have more trouble with food than I usually do. There’s a couple of situations I find myself in on a semi regular basis that just plain stress me out and if I try and eat anything that’s more than the consistency of yoghurt then I have trouble and end up being in pain for a few hours. I’m not sure why it doesn’t work I can eat slowly and chew really well but my body just seems to say a big no. It’s starting to get really frustrating and that only adds to the stress as you can imagine.

I have just realised through writing this I need to find some things that I can do while I’m in these situations to try and relieve it but right now I can’t come up with anything off the top of my head. The physical manifestation of this still takes me by surprise and I have never felt stress manifest itself in such an obviously physical manner before.

Throughout this post-op lifestyle I have learnt so much about myself, my body and how my mind affects a whole lot of things I didn’t realise it did. There’s always something to learn and this is something I still need to work on. Life has been pretty crazy lately and has reached new, unprecidented levels of stressfulness so I guess all of that is playing into it as well.

I’m putting this out there to you guys to see if there’s anything you can suggest that I can do in social situations to help me chill out when I can tell I’m getting stressed? Do you have any tried and true techniques that could help? Comment below and let me know!

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There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Gemma at 8:53 pm

    This is going to sound gross, sorry, but I’m someone who can’t burp (like NEVER). When I’ve been in situations where I feel anxious or am talking and eating at the same time I think I swallow air and the only way to relieve the pressure in my chest is to well, sort of retch – not actually throw up but get the air out and then I feel better. Since surgery it’s been quite a bit worse and is always after social situations and never at home so I think it has a lot to do with anxiety. I am positive that learning to breathe better would help. There’s lots of info out there about diaphragmatic breathing and I can’t say I’ve actually practised it (because I’m a lazy hypocrite) but I bet it works and would make our slightly fussy tummies deal with things better. There’s my 2 cents! X

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 9:29 pm

      That’s really interesting, especially how it only happens in social situations. I wonder what difference it would make if you practised the breathing exercises though.

  2. Michelle at 9:34 pm

    Stress is a perhaps the single biggest factor for disrupting digestion for normal stomach, let alone smaller ones. There’s been some fascinating research into the brain-stomach link for IBS that does show how much stress & anxiety etc, can have an impact. Don’t have research on hand to explain unfortunately but can hunt some out sometime in near future if you want me to!

  3. Stephanie at 9:46 pm

    When I’m stressed I crave sugar, probably because stress stops me sleeping restfully. Sugar offers psychological comfort from old habits as well as a quick boost of energy. Sometimes it takes me days or weeks to work out why I don’t feel on top of my game and sugar is ALWAYS to blame. And it’s just a hard and addictive habit to break, too.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 10:10 pm

      That all makes far too much sense! Yes sugar is such an addictive habit and so hard to break. Whenever I turn to sugar if I’m stressed it NEVER ends well for me now.

  4. Nigel Pearson at 10:46 am

    Thanks for this…and very timely for me too. As well as having bariatric surgery I simultaneously managed to give up an old habit of biting my finger nails…..My nails were looking great until STRESS kicked in as my partner and I have started looking to buy an investment property. I’m back to the nail-biting habit again and haven’t found the capacity to regain control of myself yet! I’m approaching 5 months post-op and sometimes I too find my tummy is extra sensitive to what I eat.
    However, in the past I have found BACH FLOWER remedies very useful for emotional support/learning and they might be worth checking out.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 11:23 am

      I’m glad to hear this came at the right time for you Nigel. That’s a shame about your fingernails but hopefully you manage to get on top of it soon. I really find exercise helps to channel any nervous or stress related energy. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look into it. I find now that some natural or homeopathic remedies can play havoc with my tummy so fingers crossed it wouldn’t. I hope things get back to normal for you soon and your stress levels come down. Thanks for reading and commenting Nigel I appreciate it!

  5. Lizette at 12:14 am

    I too have found stress upsets my tummy and I need to return to sliders to get me through. I never used to experience this, I guess beacause I was not listening to my body and would turn to emotional over-eating.

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