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Is All Emotional Eating Evil?

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from several women in my online community who are struggling with emotional eating.

The question is:

Question:

“Bonnie, when I eat emotionally, I feel guilt. Unless of course if I choose cucumber slices and carrot sticks with hummus. Is it possible to give myself permission to eat emotionally if I really want to without the guilt?

 

What an amazing question. Perhaps you are wondering this too.

 

When feeling sad, lonely, unloved, disconnected, frustrated, bored…I could go on and on…what is your first thought? More than likely if you are reading this, your first thought is to seek comfort in food.

 

Or perhaps, you need more than comfort. You need to escape your reality for a few minutes, you need to numb out just not to feel what you are feeling for even a little while.

 

And then, more emotions flood in. This time, they are feelings of guilt, shame and despair with promises never to do this again. Until you do.

Let’s be clear about one thing. Food has an emotional connection in your life, in all our lives. It’s actually part of being human. This emotional connection starts as soon as you are born and placed on your mom’s breast to bond. You are fed by your parents, you celebrate milestones with food, such as birthdays, anniversaries and promotions, and almost every culture has food as part of their symbolic customs.

 

The problem arises when you use food to try to meet too many of your needs, and what happens is those needs don’t actually get met. It then creates an even stronger drive to continue to eat. And that’s when the guilt steps in.

 

This is most often seen in dieters and those struggling with their weight for many years who have been on and off diets over and over again. There are good foods and bad foods…there’s lots of moral judgement around food that has you making associations of “I’m good” if you don’t eat (“ooh, I deserve a reward), or “I’m bad” if I do eat (I need to be punished).

 

So you attempt to ‘control’ your emotional eating using willpower, or by restriction, and it works against you each and every time.

 

As one new client told me – “I thought I could just lose weight and I’ll be fine, but it’s the emotions. My emotions get me every time.”

 

And how you react to your emotional eating is key to your outcome. Reacting with disgust, that it is “bad”, that you are bad, in essence puts you right back into diet/restriction mode.

 

It’s time to treat emotional eating from a different perspective. From a perspective of curiosity, kindness and self-compassion. And all of a sudden, the switch flips.

 

Let’s discuss this further on today’s Facebook LIVE at 5:00 pm EST on my Facebook business page HERE. LIKE the page now so you get notification when I go live. If you can’t make it live, no problem. You can catch the replay.

 

 

 

How to Stop Labeling Food as Good and Bad

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question and Struggle comes from 2 women in my Diet Free Radiant Me private Facebook group:

Question:

I know choosing certain foods makes me feel healthy and vibrant. I also know there are certain foods that make me feel the opposite, drain my energy and leave me feeling sluggish. How do I approach health in this way without viewing food as good and bad?

Struggle:

Bonnie, I can’t appreciate the body I have now because it isn’t healthy. I know losing the extra fat will help those issues. But I can’t stop labeling food as healthy or unhealthy. I keep reading not to label foods but we all know broccoli is healthier for you than a Hershey bar. I feel like the extra fat will not go away along with all the health problems until I start feeding myself healthier foods, which feels like a diet. I try to eat mostly healthy but it seems once I eat the unhealthier foods that’s all I crave because they do taste better to me. Help!

 

Both the question and struggle you have just read above have something in common, which is why I am addressing both in the same blog today on Intuitive Eating Wednesday.

The commonality is…

 

Food is being labeled. In the first question it’s being classified as “good and bad”, and in the second struggle it’s being labeled “healthy and unhealthy”. This is due to your years of dieting and following rules of foods to eat and those to avoid. The foods to eat are ‘good/healthy for you foods’, meaning they will help you lose weight (or at least not gain weight) and be healthy. The foods to avoid/are unhealthy are ‘bad for you’ foods, meaning they will cause you to gain weight and be unhealthy.

 

As long as you continue to think of food in these terms, you continue to harbor a diet mindset. And as long as you continue to harbor a diet mindset, you will continue to struggle.

 

Download Your Fleshing Our Your ‘Good Foods/Bad Foods’ Worksheet here.

 

Even though intellectually you know you feel more vibrant when you eat food A over food B, if you associate food A as a good/healthy food and food B as a bad/unhealthy food, you will continue to crave food B, depriving yourself of it until you have an emotional trigger and you fall into the “what the heck” mode. You then overeat food B, perhaps even to the point of bingeing, followed by guilt, shame, and hopelessness.

 

It IS possible to shift your mindset away from labeling foods and out of a dieter’s mindset. However, this must be done without consideration of the nutritional value of the foods otherwise you are still thinking in terms of good/bad, healthy/unhealthy which will keep you stuck in the diet food rule trap.

 

This is the very reason that I don’t teach nutrition to my intuitive eating clients until Step 5 of my 5 Step Intuitive Eating Program. If we start the process of learning how to nourish your body, yet you have a diet mentality, all the nutrition conversation we have about foods that make you feel healthy and vibrant is heard by you as more diet rules (good/bad, healthy/unhealthy).

 

Make sense?

 

Let’s discuss this further on today’s Facebook LIVE at 5:30 pm EST (note the time change!)

 

In the meantime, grab this freebie to help you understand your good food/bad food mindset: Fleshing Our Your ‘Good Foods/Bad Foods’ Worksheet.

 

 

I Feel Full But I Still Want to Eat More

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question is:

 

“How do I stop eating when I know I’m full? I just want to keep eating what’s on my plate until it’s finished. And I do, and then I feel bad, guilty and ashamed that I’ve done it again!”

 

Do you ever have this conversation in your head?

 

I hear this question a lot from my clients, which is why I want to address it with you.

 

As a dieter, you are used to eating on autopilot, and finishing what’s on your plate or in the bag. Part of the journey I take my clients on is learning how to move out of autopilot eating……ahhhh, not always so easy, is it?

 

If you are eating a meal and you know you are full, but you are just loving the food you are eating and don’t want to stop, it may very well be you testing the intuitive eating process. You just don’t fully believe you could actually give yourself permission to eat what you love. If you did, then you’d know that you can put this food away and have it at another time.

This is often tied to emotions.

 

Download your Emotional Eating Inventory Worksheet here.

 

You are feeding an emotional hunger when you continue to eat even after you have recognized you are full. It’s not WHAT you are eating, it’s WHY you are continuing to eat.

 

So the first step is learning the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. This is key. And understanding what emotions you are feeding is the second step that will help you take action to stop.

 

To break the pattern around emotional eating, you need to increase your awareness around this pattern. You then give yourself the choice to respond differently and to find another way to meet your emotional needs without food.

 

Grab this freebie to help you take stock of your emotional eating: Emotional Eating Inventory Worksheet.

 

 

Another New Weight Loss System that’s Doomed to Fail

balloonsTrying to figure out how the picture here connects with the blog title? Read on…

It is not unusual for you to open up a magazine or hear on TV about a new weight loss procedure or miracle diet/supplement to help you lose weight quickly.

If you are a chronic dieter, you probably take notice whenever there is a new “best” way to lose weight.  And, you’ve probably tried most if not all of them.

Well, today I had to write about another new weight loss procedure that is about to hit the market because I just can’t believe it.  I will describe it to you, without naming names (for good reason).

This latest FDA-approved weight-loss system is minimally invasive.  It consists of three tiny capsules, each containing an inflatable balloon attached to a catheter.  You would swallow each of the capsules, three weeks apart, and X-rays are taken to ensure they are just in the right spot.

(You would be swallowing inflatable balloons!)

Once the balloons are in the right spot, gas is pumped through the catheter, filling the balloon up.  The catheter is removed, and you would go home with a small balloon (or balloons) in your stomach.

The balloons stays there for six months, filling up the stomach.  This is meant to help you feel full so you don’t eat as much.  After six months, the balloons are removed via minimally-invasive endoscopic surgery.

UGH!

But, why do you need to resort to this type of procedure?

Wouldn’t it be better to learn why you feel the need to overeat, and to change your relationship with food?

The research for this procedure did have the volunteers meeting with a registered dietitian every three weeks, helping them making healthy lifestyle changes, which is good.  This system is meant to be done in conjunction with diet and exercise and the company says you would need to meet with a dietitian regularly as part of the program.

But, why not meet with a registered dietitian certified as an intuitive eating counselor to do the deeper work that you have to do NOW so you can finally be free of all these weight loss systems and procedures (which by the way doesn’t keep the weight off long term)?

This is where intuitive eating can be beneficial.  If you learn the why behind your eating and what is actually driving your overeating you will no longer seek to fill those needs with food! You will learn how to listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues and give your body what it wants.

You CAN do this.  No device or procedure or pill is needed.

Remember, there is no “quick-fix” to obesity, it is a disease that requires a long-term solution via a multi-faceted approach.

Start by understanding the real reason(s) you overeat, the WHY behind your eating. As I have said many times before, it is not about the food.

If you would like my help to create a healthier relationship with food, your mind and your body, just go to www.TalkWithBonnie.com and we’ll set up a time to chat.

 

 

Do You Feed Your Emotions?

copy-of-webinar-replay-3One of the things that come up often in my work with my clients is how they deal with their emotions.  We all experience different emotions throughout a given day.  Those emotions can be sadness, happiness, stress, anxiety, boredom or many others.  It is totally normal to experience these emotions from time to time, but how you cope with them is key.

 

So let me ask you a question: How do you handle your emotions?

 

Do you look for support from someone close to you?

 

Do you journal how you are feeling and use one of your coping mechanisms to help you get through it?

 

Or, do you reach for food?

 

Do you find yourself reaching into the food cabinets when these emotions arise?  How do you feel after you eat your “go-to” mood fixer food?

 

As an emotional eater you use food as a way to solve your problems, so you think.  But in reality, food will not make these problems go away.  They will certainly distract you for a time but once you stop eating, the problem and your feelings will still be there. You sadness, anxiety, boredom or stress, will still need to be addressed.  But now, there is likely some added guilt and physical discomfort from overeating.

 

Does this sound like you?

 

If it does, know you are not alone.

 

Here are 4 steps you can take today to move away from emotional eating:

 

  1. Acknowledge when you turn to food to comfort your emotions. Are you choosing foods to help numb your emotion?  What emotions are you feeling in that moment?  Take a moment to breathe and think about what you are doing.  Journal what comes up for you.

 

  1. Stop and listen to your body before turning to food. What are you truly feeling?   If you can honestly say you are hungry, then by all means you should eat….a well-balanced power snack or meal. But if you are being true to yourself and really want to help yourself, you won’t automatically say “I’m hungry”. Instead, you will think about what you are feeling and how you can comfort yourself without turning to food.

 

  1. Seek support from a loved one or counselor. Talking through your emotions instead of eating through them is an amazing feeling.

 

  1. Journal things that you enjoy doing that can distract your during your emotional times. Take a walk, do a puzzle, read a book, etc.  Figure out what works best for you.

 

Let’s dig even deeper into how to end emotional eating.

 

Join me on Thursday, October 13th for a free live training called A Simple (and Delicious) Way to End Emotional Eating.

 

Click here to learn more and to register.

 

 

Read This if You are an Emotional Eater

facebook-live-ee-body-image-pvt-groupThere is nothing wrong with foods being a source of pleasure.  In fact, the more positive your relationship with food, the better you will feel about your eating habits.

 

But, there is a fine line between a positive food relationship and using food as comfort.

 

The notion of seeking “comfort” from certain foods can lead to problems with your relationship with food.  If you are eating something to gain a sense of comfort, this begins to connect your eating to emotions instead of satiety.

 

There is a difference between eating a food you love because you are enjoying the taste of it or the ceremony for which the food represents, and eating to soothe emotions.

 

If you eat to feed your emotions, then you may be an emotional eater.

 

Let’s take a look at the cycle of emotional eating:

 

Your emotional trigger might be stress or even lonliness, which can lead to overeating and bingeing.  You might be looking for “something” to fill a void that you seem to have in your life.  That food may give you relief in the moment, but shame, guilt and body bashing can quickly follow.

 

This can become a vicious cycle, leaving you with a poor body image, negative self-image and those same emotions you started with.

 

When you eat for comfort, you are likely looking to avoid feeling whatever feelings you are experiencing. Because let’s face it, feeling feelings is hard! You hope that food will solve whatever problem you are having, but you know what? Food will not solve the problem.  Once you stop eating, the root of your problems will still be there. And on top of that, you likely feel bloated, tired and physically uncomfortable.

 

The best way to deal with your emotions is to look at the root of the problem, instead of turning to food.

 

Use food as fuel rather than therapy.

 

This is not to say you can’t eat the foods you previously considered to be “comfort foods”.  Instead, simply redefine their place in your eating plan, and make them a part of your healthy lifestyle, not a part of your mental well-being.

 

Would you like to delve further into your emotional eating? 

 

Join me for Facebook Live in my Private Facebook Community on Thursday October 6th  at 8 pm Eastern where I will coach you through your biggest emotional eating and body image challenges.

 

No Facebook? No Worries!

 

Sign up HERE for a FREE TRAINING on October 13th

 

Topic: A Simple (and Delicious) Way to End Emotional Eating

 

 

PS: Even if you attend our Facebook Live, I recommend you still register for the Free Training.

 

 

How to Prevent Rebound Eating

Woman contemplating fruit or cakeHow many times have you done this: You want to look good for an event on the weekend so you spend the next week or 2 restricting your food and calories thinking you’ll shed 10 pounds by the weekend? And when that event is over you make up for lost time by indulging in all the foods that you were deprived of on that “diet” you were on? This is called rebound or binge eating. It is a vicious cycle that can lead to disordered eating patterns.

 

Depriving your body of the foods it wants over time can really take a toll on your body and mind. It can lead to cravings so bad that when you do finally allow yourself to eat what you want you could spiral out of control and end up bingeing on it. Then to compensate you might go back to restricting or trying to “work it off” at the gym which will only continue the cycle.

 

By incorporating intuitive eating into your life, you can break this cycle. Eat the foods you want when you want. But be mindful. If you want chocolate cake, have some cake. Don’t have the whole cake but have enough until you are satisfied. Eating a slice of cake won’t set you back on your weight or health goals, but depriving yourself until that cake is all you can think of just might.

 

Before deciding what to eat ask yourself these questions:

 

What do I really want?

 

  • You tell yourself you should get the salad when you’re out to dinner because it’s a healthy option, but you really want your favorite pasta dish. What should you do? You could get the salad and not be satisfied while watching your family enjoy their pasta. Or you can honor your preference and order the pasta. Consider asking for an appetizer portion or have the waiter bring half the portion and pack the other half to go. This way you can enjoy the pasta without the worry of overeating from the extra large portions restaurants usually give you.

 

Am I choosing the food because it’s what I should eat?

 

  •  Who’s to say what you should or should not eat? Only you are the owner of your body and your food choices! Don’t fall prey to the “good food” “bad food” list diets give you. Own your choices!

 

Am I emotionally eating or am I really hungry?

 

  • If you’re craving a certain comfort food but you’re not actually hungry, this could be because you are feeding your emotions. Try to make yourself feel better by getting to the root of your emotions and find ways to fix them without food. Read more about this here.

 

Eating shouldn’t be an all or nothing sort of thing. If you give into your cravings once in a while you are not a failure. Extremes are easy, but finding balance within yourself and your eating is the hard part.

 

I know this isn’t easy.  If you need help feel free to reach out to me here.

 

 

Are You Feeding Your Stomach or Emotions?

Emotional eating quoteIf you are having one of those days where nothing seems to go right and all you want is something to make you feel better, what do you reach for?  Are you reaching for food?  If so, is that bag of chips really making you feel better?

 

“I had a long day and the only thing that will make me feel better is my favorite junk food!”

 

Does this sound like something you would say?  I have many clients that come to me seeking help in dealing with their emotional eating.  They find themselves eating when they are stressed, upset or bored, and they don’t feel satisfied afterwards. In fact, they feel guilty, ashamed and desperate.

 

I help my clients to realize they will not feel satisfied when they are feeding their emotions.

 

I want to help you understand this too.

 

Emotional eating is eating in response to feelings, not because you are physically hungry.

 

Eating away your emotions may make you feel better for an instant, but when the bag is empty you’re left with the same feelings of guilt, the discomfort of overeating, plus those original emotions you had in the first place.

Whether you are eating as a way to reward yourself for a job well done or trying to make yourself feel better after a rough day, this form of emotional eating can affect your mood and health long after the bag is empty.

 

To identify if you are emotionally eating, you should figure out what is driving your desire to eat.  Are you experiencing physical hunger or psychological hunger?

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “How am I feeling? Am I upset, angry, tired or even happy? Could this be causing me to crave a certain food?”
  • “Do I usually use food for comfort?”
  • “Do I associate rewards with food?” Maybe you just received a promotion, is your first thought “I’ll celebrate with dessert tonight?”
  • “When was the last time I ate?” Natural hunger cues start to occur a couple of hours after you last ate.  If you just ate, you might not be experiencing physical hunger.

 

These habits can be hard to break and you will need to dig deep inside of you to figure out what you are truly feeling.  This isn’t always easy as sometimes it’s uncomfortable to feel your emotions.  I get it.

 

One way to deal with your emotions without food is to distract yourself.

 

Here are some tips you can try today to help you regain control over your emotions:

  • Go for a walk to get endorphins going and help you clear your mind.
  • Do yoga or meditation to clear your mind and help you relax.
  • Call or text a friend to talk about your day or vent, if needed.
  • Watch your favorite show for a good laugh.
  • Read a book to get someone else’s point of view.
  • Take a nap to regain energy.
  • Write how you are feeling in a journal.

 

Distractions may work for a short time.  Ultimately you must dig deeper to understand why you turn to food in hard times.

 

I am here to help you.  I can help you work out your emotions and teach you ways to deal with them that do not involve food.  I can teach you to listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat only when you are experiencing physical hunger.  Take care of yourself by being in tune with your emotions. Dealing with them now instead of letting them build up will benefit you and your overall health.

 

Contact me here if you’d like to chat.

Chocolate Doesn’t Solve Your Problems

Overwt woman contemplating chocLife is hard sometimes, wouldn’t you say? Things can be going along wonderfully and then all of a sudden BAM, you get hit in the face with a situation that you are not quite ready for. What I’ve learned in my life is firstly that this is just a part of life. We become better people when we go through tough situations and we learn from them. And, secondly, I’ve learned that food (and for most people…chocolate) does not make the problem go away.

 

Now, I know you are reading this and perhaps you are saying “you are wrong Bonnie, chocolate makes it all better”.

 

And, to that I say, it makes it all better for the moment you are in your empty body, stuffing the chocolate in your mouth, pushing your feelings down deeper and deeper. But now, the chocolate is gone and what are you left with?

 

THE PAIN! The pain of still dealing with the difficult feelings you had originally, AND the pain of the GUILT of bingeing on chocolate and the PHYSICAL PAIN of eating too much of it.

 

So, what are you to do when you just don’t want to deal with the situation that has presented to you in your life?

 

You SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH IT!

 

WITHOUT. THE. CHOCOLATE.

 

Yes, I know that sounds harsh, and I don’t mean to be harsh. But it’s just a part of life. You are here on my blog reading my articles, following my work because you want help. You want and need someone to say to you “let’s learn how to deal with your emotions and difficult situations in life without using food. Because food is not the answer.”

 

Here are 2 steps for you to take immediately so you can learn how to turn away from the chocolate when feeling down:

 

Step 1: Make a list of the situations and/or emotions that cause you to turn to chocolate (or any food for that matter).

 

Step 2: Click on this link to request to speak to me so I can help you craft a plan to overcome emotional eating.

 

I look forward to speaking with you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

Is Intuitive Eating just for Women? A True Father’s Day Gift!

Intuitive Eating is Not Just for Women! (1)I recently had a potential client express how he was stuck in the dieting mindset.  He had tried many diets before and has lost the weight and gained it right back.  He has feelings of failure and did not know how to break out of the cycle.  I suggested intuitive eating and how it can help him.  He realized that is exactly what he needs, but hesitated for two reasons:

 

Reason #1: He is so used to wanting and getting results quickly, that to engage in a “food behavior therapy-type” program wasn’t going to get him the instant results.

 

Reason #2: He thought this type of deep work was only for women, and what would people think if he embarked on this journey?

 

Well, after a few more minutes of conversation, he realized that reason #1 was exactly why he was speaking to me in the first place. Yes, all those diets gave him quick results, but those results never lasted. So, what good were they?

 

As for reason #2, I get it. Quite a few men think the path towards intuitive eating is more for women than men.

 

But listen up men! Intuitive eating is not just for women.  Men and women were both born intuitive eaters and the process to reclaim this is unisex and can benefit everyone.

 

The work I do with my clients in my 5 Step Intuitive Eating Program is a step-by-step process to help you transform your relationship with food, where you end the battle with food and your body and achieve great pleasure in eating once again.

 

If you are a man reading this blog, I’m sure you have your reasons as to why you assume this process is just for women.  Men don’t like to talk about their emotions, right?  May I ask you why?  Is it because of what society thinks? Is it just because men don’t “do emotions”?

 

Men – It is OK to talk about your emotions!  You are not alone.  Intuitive eating will show you and teach you how to cope with your emotions without food!

 

With intuitive eating, you’ll be able to enjoy eating your favorite foods without experiencing the guilt afterwards.  You’ll learn to accept your body, and with acceptance comes appreciation of your body.  From there, your mindset will change and you’ll be able to build a better relationship with food.  Your body will thank you.

 

What better time to take charge of your health and break free of the dieting mindset than around Father’s Day? 

 

Here are two steps you can take today to start the journey to become an intuitive eater:

 

  1. Commit to saying goodbye to the quick – fixes. Truly recognize this isn’t your long-term solution.

 

  1. Take advantage of my Father’s Day Gift to you – a Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session. During this session we will uncover the challenges that’s been holding you back from losing weight forever, and we will map out your intuitive eating path. Just click here to schedule your free session.

 

Happy Father’s Day!