I am so full. I feel bloated and weighed down, yet I keep on eating. A handful of bean chips, the leftover broccoli, two slices of gluten-free pizza, a protein shake, etc. This was all after having a nice dinner of delicious homemade tacos. I am so full. What the heck?

Rewind 72 hours. I had the privilege of having my nephew come stay with us for the weekend. The whole weekend. He’s four. And incredibly active. I spent all day Friday prepping food (and my house) as he has a few allergies and food sensitivities.

My house is generally one of the neighborhood hangout spots (which I love), but I realized it’s quite different to have extra kids in and out all day and to have an extra one ALL weekend.

My older two children were really helpful in the entertaining and “sit down with us to eat” departments, but there was still much to do between my nephew and my own soon-to-be one-year-old baby boy.

I think I ran the dishwasher two or three times per day, picked up the living room (and entryway and mudroom and library) every couple hours. There was more than one article of clothing in my front lawn (the slip-n-slide was the culprit behind that) and shoes everywhere. I would have just left it all until today, but then my baby would have gotten into everything and ended up eating more cat food or dirty socks or something he wasn’t supposed to have. I felt like I was trying to herd cats all weekend. Have you ever felt that way?

Fast forward 72 hours.

Once my house was quiet and the kids helped me dig out of the pit for the thirteenth time, I checked in with myself to see how I was doing. The first thing I noticed after recognizing sheer exhaustion was my bloated stomach. I may not have noticed it over the tiredness, but what nagged at me was that I kept looking for food even though I was already full.

So, I did a little inventory of the weekend:

Drank plenty of water? CHECK

Ate healthy food? CHECK. Well, mostly check; I just ate way too much.

Exercised? NOPE, no time (that’s what I told myself, anyway).

Quiet time? DOUBLE NOPE (have you been reading any of this blog post?!).

Once I took the time to really think about it, it wasn’t difficult to pinpoint the culprits for my cravings.

I was TIRED. I mean really tired. Especially today. It hit me once I sat down in the quiet.

I had started overeating as a way to manage the chaos, telling myself that I didn’t have time to eat mindfully. Then I continued overeating as a pick-me-up. And now, here I am, full and bloated and feeling bummed that I made these choices.

One could say that I didn’t have a choice to do anything differently given my circumstances—it was chaos! One could say, Oh well, what’s one weekend? Next week will be better. One could say I’m being too hard on myself.

I have been a personal trainer for over 12 years, and I have heard all the excuses. I know exactly where they lead. Excuses are a slippery slope that leads to declining health.

The truth is that I know better. I could have asked for more help and made time to exercise and rest more and ask God to deal with my control issues. I just wasn’t mentally prepared. When I don’t give it up to God, my desire for control can become a problem.

I was really tempted to write about something else today, something less vulnerable. But it is my deep desire that if you find yourself with similar eating or exercise struggles, you will take some time and examine the root causes and tackle them. I encourage you to invite God into your struggle.

I am a big advocate for making wise choices in spite of—and especially during—challenging circumstances. Whenever I don’t think I have the time to do something, that’s exactly when I do it. For example, if I’m running out the door and I notice a dirty baby bottle sitting on the counter, I take the time to wash it out. I know it seems like a small thing, but I am certain I have 24 hours in the day and I choose not to say “I don’t have time.” I will make time for my priorities. That’s why tools like an accountability partner and a Wellness Journal are so important for me.

We are worth feeling our best, as often as possible. Your physical body is priceless. So is mine.

We have so much that we can’t control with our health, in our genes, and in our circumstances, but I believe that for every one thing we can’t control, there are a dozen things we can affect positively.

This encouraging video I made several years ago for the Living Wellness Growth Group program speaks to the topic of rough circumstances. Watch it here.

Friends, I’d love to hear how you deal with chaos. Leave me a comment and share with our readers how you manage the unexpected chaos of life, however beautiful or messy it may be.

*This article was first published on the Living Wellness Blog

 

Ashley Darkenwald

Author Ashley Darkenwald

Ashley Darkenwald is an inspirational speaker and the author of Living Wellness, the book encompassing her 10+ years as a fitness professional, club owner, and nutrition fanatic. Ashley enjoys homeschooling her two children, leading worship at the WHY church in Elk River, and playing sand volleyball in the summer. Ashley’s favorite speaking topic is FREEDOM through the practice of exceptional health.

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