David was sitting at home, on the couch watching a ball game, when he realized he was slowly killing himself! I wish more people would have this out-of-body experience like David Hookstead when he realized what overeating and living an unhealthy lifestyle was doing to him.
It took many hard months for David to lose 1/4 of his body weight. Not only did he beat the weight, but he’s been able to keep it off. Many people have starved themselves on a crash diet or gone through a radical fitness craze to lose a few pounds. However, keeping that weight off is a totally different story.
This article today is not about weight loss, not about fitness, not about your overall health… although those things are important.
This article is directed towards stress. David could only keep the weight off by going to the root of the problem. When he stopped for a moment and looked around while lying on the couch one night, he realized that overeating wasn’t the root problem. When he looked at why he was overeating, it was easy for him to identify that he was using food to escape the enormous stress in his life.
No crash diet or fitness regimen was going to be able to fix the overall problem in his life until he got stress under control. If you want to be unbeatable like David, you will have to face the hard realities of stress, as he did. Here are three reasons why you must beat stress before it beats you.
Stress can make you stupid
People can turn to some really stupid habits in an attempt to escape stress. I’m willing to wager that you know someone who picked up a bad habit when facing stress that turned into a full-blown addiction. It might be drugs. It could be gambling. It might be an alcohol addiction that started out as a simple way of trying to blow off a little steam after work. However, that simple habit can spiral out of control if you try to use it to fight the strain of stress.
All types of habits can become a problem when they are used to mask the pain of stress.
This principle doesn’t just apply to bad habits; I’ve seen many people abuse good and healthy habits in hopes of helping them deal with stress, too. This is exactly what David did. He turned to food to alleviate the stress of the newsroom’s non-stop, 13-hour work days. David came to the realization that he was using food to slowly kill himself because of the pain of stress.
Stress can make you sick
I’ve worked in the emergency room of one of America’s largest trauma hospitals. I saw patients in the emergency room with problems that were unable to be treated by modern medicine. When talking to the doctors, they said they always assume that physical pain which cannot point to a specific problem is stress-related.
My late friend, former oral surgeon Dr. Bill Buck, loved to tell the story of a patient who came to see him for severe pain in her lower jaw. After doing a battery of normal tests and X-rays, there was absolutely no evidence linking this woman to the pain she was experiencing.
Doctor Buck sat next to her in the exam room and asked questions about her personal life. It was immediately clear that the pain she was experiencing had to do with clenching her teeth due to the stress she was going through. Like any good doctor, he gave her the diagnosis she needed. He explained to her how she could turn her stress over to the Almighty God.
Stress will stick you in the ground
If you don’t deal with stress carefully, it will kill you.
I don’t know if we have accurate medical statistics to illustrate the number of people who took years off their life because of the way they dealt with stress. I’m convinced hospitals are full of patients that have no problems, or their problems are minimal but severely exasperated by the stress that’s going on in their life.
And this brings me back to David Hookstead’s personal challenge to get healthy.
Before he started tackling his eating habits or normal exercise, David went straight to work on the way he was processing stress. Any personal habit could take the place of food and still kill David if he didn’t first deal with the stress in his life. If you want to be unbeatable like David, you only have one choice- get stress under control in your life, or it will control you!