Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stress, Weight, and Money

In project management, there's this theory known as the triple-constraint. It basically says that scope, budget, and schedule are all related, and you can't change one without affecting the others.

I think stress, weight and money are my personal triple-constraint, and let me just tell you that I have blown all three. Yeah, that's right. I'm a stressed out, overweight woman with a credit card. I've just been stressed to hell recently, and my regular stress management strategies (spending time with friends, walking it off on the treadmill, escaping into a good book) have all been unequal to the task.

First the uncontrolled stress affected my weight. I gained five pounds right before the holidays. I realize that for a lot of people this is no big deal, but I used to be a lot heavier, and it was a good six months of Weight Watchers meetings and obsessive point-counting before I got down to this size. I never, ever want to weigh that much again. I like being able to climb a flight of stairs. I like being able to have a conversation while I walk with someone. So five pounds really scares me, and the worst thing is that I've been trying since January 1 to lose it and my weight is just completely random. Honestly--it's just like high school algebra. No matter how careful I am, I have no idea what's going to happen. Sometimes it's down, and then maddeningly the next day it's up again, even though I have done nothing different. At least it hasn't gone up past the five-pound mark. Hopefully eventually consistent effort will show up on the scale.

Naturally, this has blown my budget. Eating healthy costs a lot more than eating crap. I should probably have been eating healthy anyway, so it's not exactly a bad change. And I think I'm eating out less, so that's okay. But who am I kidding? The stress spending is definitely not confined to Healthy Choice frozen entrees. I've been spending WAY too much money, especially on girly items like sexy boots and (this is a long-standing stress reaction) underwear. Yeah, I know. How much underwear could anyone possibly buy? How could it be a genuine spending problem? Well, lemme tell you, there's a whole industry in this country devoted to making women by far more underwear than they need (or far less, depending on whether you're measuring dollars or acreage). It's a successful industry. And there was a sale.

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