It was another crazy busy week at work. I always feel like when I am in the physical office there is more to do, or maybe I just feel less in control about when to do it. I had a lot of need to happen moments this week between client meetings and presentations, and a few commitments after work.
While I pushed myself to get up and work out in the mornings, my portion controlled diet slipped. I was constantly hungry, and couldn’t stop myself from devouring the delicious hamentashen one of my colleagues got me.
Then a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a connection between work burnout and overeating and uncontrolled eating behaviors in women. This made me say “duh” because I know when stressed at work, I turn to sourpatch kids, goldfish and yogurt covered raisins as my saviors.
What did strike me were the comments on the study from outside experts. Dr. Melina Jampolis, physician and nutrition expert for CNNHealth.com noted that long-term stress can make it harder to make dietary and exercise changes. So while I was exercising because I knew it would make me feel better, I was eating massive cheesey veggie burgers and drinking down martinis because I like to soothe my stress with comfort food.
Dr. Jampolis also mentioned that short-term diet changes, like cutting out carbs, could also alter your brain chemistry making you feel even more down. Pushing you to grab a handful of M&Ms when you don’t even like them! (I said that, not her)
The Mayo Clinic has a good description of job burnout and what to do to keep it at bay. For me it is all about perspective. It has taken some time for me to learn the walk away skill, but I am getting better at it so that I can stop burnout in its tracks.