Before you jump into this week’s post you might want to check out last week on Emotional Eating.
This week I wanted to chat with you about some tips to help you begin to combat emotional eating. (And I say “begin”, because this will take practice and of course reading one blog post isn’t going to solve all the problems now is it?)
I gave you a sneak peak at this tip last week. I’ll give you an example from one of the women in a recent challenge group. Here was the situation, Eileen* (not really her name, but really her story) shared experiences of how she would “zone out” while eating. She would get into a zone where she just ate and ate and next thing she knew the entire pot of pasta was gone. I asked her a few questions to help her become more aware of when and why she might be doing this. When I asked her “when was the first time you remember doing this” she shared that it was back in High School – you know, when cliques start to form and girls can be downright nasty (especially since Eileen already struggled with her weight). She remembered eating and zoning out when she did because it was a way to combat the pain of loneliness and not being accepted. She shared with the group that she had never understood why she did this until I had asked her a few questions. She realized that she never “zoned out” while with people and friends.
Eileen became aware that it wasn’t that she needed to go on a diet or restrict eating certain foods – she actually needed to cultivate meaningful relationships with friends.
How can you become more AWARE of your tendencies towards emotional eating?
What are the circumstances that have come before to lead you to make the choice to turn to food.
Yesterday on my Facebook page I asked a simple question: “True or False? Food can be good or bad.”
Let’s just say I have some pretty smart Facebook friends! Most of them agreed that food is food – and it’s us humans assigning a moral value to it.
Yes, it was kind of trick question – because some might argue that food can be “good for you”, “food can go bad” or “food can taste good” but that wasn’t what I asked – I asked can food BE good or bad. And the answer is, it can’t. Food is an object. It’s like asking if a door can be good or bad. Or a blade of grass.
Somehow we have decided to add morality to our food, and when we do this it can often transfer over to us as humans. We assign this value to foods – a “good” food or a “bad” food and then we think we are “good” or “bad” based on the choices we make. It’s just not true. What you chose to eat does not make you “good” or “bad”.
You are not “good” person for eating a salad for lunch. And you are not “bad” for eating cookies for breakfast.
Remove this moral issue placed on food and accept it for what it is. Food: Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.
What if you were told that you could eat whatever fod you want, whenever you want and however much of it you want?
Guess what – You CAN. You’re an adult right? So long as you aren’t stealing the food (because stealing IS a moral issue, eating is not) you actually have the right to chose 100% what you put into your gob. What do you think would happen if you actually DID eat whatever food you wanted?
Would you find yourself eating doughnuts everyday for breakfast? Would you eat a large pizza for lunch and wash it down with Diet Coke? Maybe. But I doubt you would do that day after day after day. After a while eating like that you’d probably start to feel like crap.
Plus I believe deep down inside we all crave HEALTH (not just being skinny/thin/fit but HEALTHY) and we all know that eating the above meal plan is not a recipe for health.
You know the saying the only things certain in life are death and taxes? I’ve always wanted to add on one more – we must accept the consequences of our choices.
What if gave yourself permission to eat whatever you wanted? Unless it was deadly poisonous the only thing we would have to do is to accept the consequences of our choice. So lets look at eating doughnuts and pizza – what would be the consequences of those two meals? Probably feeling sluggish, overfed, major sugar crash mid morning, indigestion, heartburn. And eating like that day after day then you’d probably see a few other problems, including (but definitely not limited to) weight gain. If you are happy to accept those consequences then by all means – enjoy the doughnuts and pizza. You’re a human adult and have earned the right to eat exactly how you like to eat.
What if you removed the guilt, shame, embarrassment and unworthiness that went along with the foods we deny ourselves? Would they be as appealing? Ever notice how as soon as we say we “can’t have something” we want that sooo much more? So stop denying yourself – give yourself permission to eat what you want, when you want, and as much of it – just be willing to accept the consequences and more importantly… pay attention which brings me to…
Listen to your Body
So you took my advice and ate EXACTLY what you wanted. How did it feel? Did you go overboard? Do you feel like crap? How long do you think you would ACTUALLY eat doughnuts and pizza If so that is actually your body (not anyone else) telling you “hey, easy on the doughnuts and pizza!” Your body KNOWS what is good for it and what is not good for it. (For some of you with a gluten or lactose intolerance that pizza might have left you running for the bathroom or in a brain fog for the next 5 days)
Listening to your body takes practice. We aren’t really taught that growing up, are we? Instead we’re taught love=chocolate on Valentine’s Day and to “clean your plate or you don’t get dessert” or “had a bad day? I’ll make your favorite for dinner – mac and cheese!” and “good job on getting an A in math – let’s go for ice cream!” It’s no wonder when we use food as a replacement for love, rewards and a comfort later on in life. It’s not always bad – I’m not saying it is. Some great memories can come from enjoying ice cream after a game with your kids. I’m just saying we can benefit from recognizing when we are using food to replace a desired feeling – acceptance, love, support, comfort and when we are using food to savor the taste and to ENHANCE the experience, not replace a missing piece.
I love to ask questions – of myself and others. Here are a few questions you might want to contemplate this week to keep you on track when dealing with emotional eating
- How do you want to feel? Will food help you to feel that way? Be honest.
- If food wont help you to HONESTLY feel the way you want to feel, what will? Remember, food might appear to help you combat your emotions but that feeling is typically temporary and leaves us feeling worse later on. (Lonely? Call a friend. Feeling unloved? Write down what you are grateful for in your life. Scared? Ask what’s the worst that can happen. Stressed? Exercise, yell, journal, say ‘no’. Sad? Ask for a hug. Look at pictures that bring back memories of happier times. When I am feeling down I love to call a friend and simply say “tell me something good in your life” – it always brings me up to know my friends are happy)
- How do you feel when you eat not based on wanting to savor the taste or feed your body?
- How do you feel when you eat too much? Is that they way you want to feel?
- How do you feel when you deny yourself food? Is that they way you want to feel?
Have you overcome eating emotionally? I’d love to hear what worked for you. Did any of this resonate with you?
Don’t forget to check out this month’s specials! Have a great week! Feel free to reach out if I can help in any way.
I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day! I had a great day spending time with my active, healthy friends. It’s great having friends with similar goals and values when it comes to health and fitness.
Have you ever heard the saying – you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? It’s so true! As I looked around at the people I was hanging out with it was mostly health conscious active people, which of course makes it soooo much easier to stay active and health conscious!
Well that’s great – but what if NONE of your friends are active and health conscious? I would recommend checking out sites like MeetUp.com which have activities all over – from volleyball, to hiking to bike rides and everything in between.
Reach out to your Facebook friends – even just having someone on the path to health and fitness WITH you can help keep you on track. You can even start a group of your own, like N.E.A.T to help hold people accountable.
Another thing I did this weekend was to volunteer at one of the aide stations for the Kauai Marathon. (I know, you’re probably thinking “why didn’t you just run it??” I actually really don’t like running so it was great to help out on the other side.) It was great to meet some of the runners and other volunteers out for the day.
Being around people who share the same values when it comes to health and fitness will help you to reach your goals much faster. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop hanging out with the friends you have currently – you might just find that you have MORE friends and more support! YAY! Friends!
I’d love to hear from you! Where do you meet your health minded friends? Have your relationships changed since you started on this journey? Have you made some new friends along the way?
Also – have you started a group of your own? If so I have a little present for you. If you have started a group on your own let me know – I have a little gift I would like to send to you. Reply back to the email or leave a comment. I have a limited supply so reply back ASAP!!
Don’t forget to check out this months specials!
Make it a great week – and let me know if there is anything I can help YOU with.
Have you ever ignored or missed one of these signs?
You’re cruising down a beautiful unfamiliar neighborhood and miss the sign and next thing you know you hit a speed bump a little too fast. Your car might bounce a bit – you’re a bit startled and thankful you finished your tea otherwise it would be all over the roof right now. I know I have hit a bump a bit too hard. Does it kind of feel like the month of August was a bit of big ‘ol bump to any one else??
Maybe it was the blue moon or the weather and the season coming to an end. Whatever it was I felt knocked off my game. I had friends come and visit which meant a change in routine for workouts and eating out a lot more than normal. I worked hard during May, June and July and felt exhausted. Then I tweaked my back and couldn’t do much of anything besides walking, light yoga or an easy bike riding for a full week. Ugg!! Where were my signs?
I know I am not alone, I have received a bunch of emails this week about others, just like you, who have slipped up a bit this month. I like to think positive and wanted to figure out what could be GOOD about slipping off the wagon or hitting a few speed bumps along the way. There has to be some sort of silver lining, right? And I think there is.
First of all, falling off the wagon does not mean that you failed. Got it? You started at least once, right? Maybe you started two, three, four, or even fifty times. Each time you did you felt better, you probably even saw some results. You might have found a new way to prepare broccoli that even your kids love, tried a new workout and maybe even had some fun. I don’t see failure in that, do you? Every time you started or restarted you kicked failure in the pants.
Here is what I know is true for me – maybe you can relate
1. The initial euphoria of everything fades. You might feel amazing for the first 1-3 days of a new workout but then by day 4, 5 and into week two that initial euphoria fades a bit. That’s NORMAL! Think about a long term relationship – do you get butterflies every single time your partner walks in the room? After 5 1/2 years I know I don’t, but I know the love is still there, even through the hard times. I don’t always get a crazy high after every one of my workouts – some are just average, some are AWESOME. Long term commitment doesn’t always mean rainbows and butterflies – it means putting in the work even on the tough days.
2. I don’t always workout or eat clean because I feel like it. I workout and eat clean because of how it makes me feel. I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t days I really don’t want to do my workout and days I wish that chocolate chip cookies were a good breakfast option. (Ok, most days I wish cookies were a good breakfast option)
And here is what I think the silver lining in falling off the wagon really is.
3. When I fall off the wagon I learn about myself and my tendencies. When I fall off the wagon as I get back on track I ask myself “What happened to bump me off course?” By asking that simple question I am able to see patterns in my life to help me deal with the bumps BEFORE they come AND to set up a plan of action to get over the bumps as smoothly and as quickly as possible. I do this in every aspect of my life – not just my health and fitness.
Do you see a pattern that every time you have family or friends come to visit you fall off the wagon with workouts and nutrition? From now on you might plan their visits differently, maybe include a hike or invite them to try one of your workouts with you.
Do you make poor choices on food when you get really hungry? I know how easy that is! Planning ahead and having an quick healthy option on hand will help you to avoid making poor choices. (I pretty much never leave home with out a water bottle and snacks – a piece of fruit, nuts, a boiled egg, Shakeology, etc) Knowing and recognizing both your habits and the circumstances that affected your choice to skip your workout or eat unhealthy food if your way of creating your own “Bumps Ahead”, “Proceed with Caution”, or maybe it’s even a “Detour” sign until you can get back on track.
Are you on or off the wagon right now? We all hit bumps in the road, here are my recommendations the next time you hit bumps on your road:
- Remember how good you felt when you were ON the wagon.
- Set a time to start again, the sooner the better.
- Know you are worth it.
- Start paying attention to the things that throw you off course, pay attention to the warning signs and proceed with caution so you can cruise over a speed bump instead of getting knocked completely off the wagon.
I’d love to hear from you! In the comments let me know what you learned the last time you fell off the wagon and how you got back on.
Don’t forget to check out this months specials!
With the upcoming release of P90X-3 there is a special offer on both P90X AND P90X-2 Challenge Packs for the month of October.
To purchase each item separately you would be looking at spending over $260. Grab a Challenge Pack for only $180 (normally $205) and save over $80. Challenge Packs are already such a great deal – even better when it is on sale!