Coming back from the holidays, life is pretty stressful. Am I right?
We have this huge workload that’s piled up for us since we left for vacation. There are friends to catch up with, New Year’s resolutions to keep, and a ton of pressure to make this year the best year ever!!!
So how do you cope with all that stress?
You eat. Duh.
You eat when you’re bored.
You eat when you’re upset.
You eat to reward yourself for a job well done (which negates all the hard work you just put in to actually earn this reward!).
You eat because, well, you always have.
Afterwards, you feel bloated, heavy, and like you’ve failed yourself… again. You think, “Why am I so weak? Why can’t I just have better willpower so I can actually lose this weight?”
Dude. I’m with you. It took me years to overcome my emotional eating pattern! That’s exactly what “lack of willpower is”: emotional eating. Something is driving you to eat when your logical brain says, “Stop,” and it’s based in your emotions. That’s what we want to get a hold of so that we can stop the vicious cycle.
I found my way. So can you. It’s that simple. Honestly, the habit still resurfaces now and then, but now I know exactly what to do to reign it back in so I don’t derail my healthy intentions.
But it took me years!!! Seriously, it was rough and tumble for quite a while. Man, if I could just help you whittle that time down! If I could just give you the knowledge that helped me beat the spiral… oh wait. I can.
If you adopt just ONE of these tools into your daily agenda, your control over your eating habits will get so much stronger. You have to stick with it, but if you do, you’ll soon be saying, “Why was it so hard in the first place?”
Try them out. Any of them. All of them. Let’s banish the binge for good!
1. Read Geneen Roth’s Women, Food & God
Seriously, guys. This book changed the way I looked at why I was emotionally eating in the first place, and then it helped me develop a practice to counter the anxiety when I wanted to emotionally eat.
Truth? I reread this at least once a year to make sure I’m still on point. :)
You can grab it here or here (both are non-affiliate links). Also, I put together a video not too long ago, detailing one of the exercises within the book. Check it out here: Inquire Within: An Inner Strength Exercise.
2. Take yoga 2-3x/week
I rediscovered yoga about 2 years ago and MAN, am I grateful I did. I notice a humongous difference in my mood, and in my ability to be present and to listen… even to myself.
When I do yoga consistently 2x/week, I am more in tune with my body’s own cues. I can hear them over all the noise that’s usually going on in my brain. Maybe you can relate.
Go try out your local yoga studio or if you’d rather do it at home, check out YogaGlo for online classes with some of the world’s leading teachers.
Though 1x/week is helpful for some people, I think 2-3x is what works for most. Find the type that works best for you. For me, it’s power yoga. The more sweaty I get, the more clear-headed I become!
3. Visualize your intentions daily
“Oh, Amy. You are your woo-woo habits. What, are you going to tell us to go read The Secret next?”
Ok ok, I know it seems a little new-agey (there is something to be learned from The Secret, btw), but just try it out a few times and see if it helps you. No one even needs to know you’re doing it!
All you have to do is sit for 1 minute in the morning to visualize your intention for the day. Do it either in bed before you get up, or in the bathroom if you sleep with a partner or have kids that hopefully know not to bother you there.
If your intention is to listen to your hunger cues, visualize yourself doing exactly that. Maybe you’re at a table with a meal in front of you. What do you do when you start feeling full? Do you take a breath, or close your eyes and remember your intention, or inquire within and ask yourself, “Am I still hungry?”
Seeing yourself do it in your mind’s eye mentally prepares to choose this action over binging. Basically, you’re teaching your brain to think, “Oh, I’ve done this before.” Double up on your practice with daily visualization.
4. Develop a simple check-in question
Like a mantra, your check-in questions will be pulled out when you need it most: right before diving into a plate of fix-my-everything. Though this will differ from a mantra because it’s a question.
This question is designed to snap you out of the emotional whirlwind that causes you to overeat so that you can look at the facts: this won’t fill the need. Some examples that I personally use are:
“Am I still hungry?”
“Do I really want this?”
“What’s going on with me right now? Would eating more fulfill my need?”
The question you choose should direct you right smack dab into your intention. It’s designed to make you realize what’s important. It’s most likely not that extra bit of food that’s gonna make you feel nauseated…
5. Join a group… or don’t
Whether it’s a group therapy session (OA is a good one), or a Facebook group, working through this kind of issue with other people who are also struggling through it makes sticking to your plan much, much easier.
Whether you just overeat occasionally or you’re a binge-eater, there’s a group that can help you by supporting and encouraging you through the process of re-structuring your mindset. The accountability involved with weekly or bi-weekly meetings or group chats are quite helpful if you tend to get distracted from your plan.
Or maybe you’re a loner? I know I am. Though I have been in groups before, I’ve found that doing the work on my own and following a plan given to me by a professional is the most effective for me, personally.
The bottom line of all these tools is this: you CAN overcome this. It’s just a deeply-ingrained habit. We have to gently work it back out like a splinter, and then it will heal up and you’ll have the ointment for whenever it gets inflamed again. Stretching a bit too far, am I? Ok, well, you catch my drift.
You can and you will get control over this.
I CHALLENGE YOU to try just ONE of these tools daily for 3 weeks, and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
I will be accepting thank you gift baskets at my new San Diego address. ;)
That’s all she wrote for today, folks. Now, go have a blast this weekend, and enjoy your strengthened willpower!
top pic credit: Esparta