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When Eating is a Non-Issue and Food Decisions Just Happen

When you want to get into a routine and build something new into your life, one way to do so is to schedule and plan.  As a chronic dieter, this was (or maybe still is) also true for you when it comes to eating for weight loss (a.k.a. dieting).

 

You schedule the number of meals you’ll eat that day based on when the plan tells you to, and you restructure your life around that plan.  You find that you’re constantly thinking about what you’re supposed to be eating next, will you be eating it “on time” and if you didn’t pack it with you, will you be able to find something comparable.  You find the only thing you are thinking about is food.

 

I want you to remember a time where you weren’t worrying about your weight or your food.  You lived your life and when you were hungry you ate, you stopped when you were full and you weren’t frantically wondering if a food fell into your plan if you wanted to have it.  For many of you trying to get back to this memory, it might take you all the way back to your childhood days—and that’s OK.

 

When you were younger and there’s less to worry about, that carefree attitude translated easier to food.  Eating was just something you did in between all the other fun things you did each day. And you enjoyed every bite you took.

 

This is intuitive eating at its finest….when

 

…..Eating is a Non-Issue and Food Decisions Just Happen

 

Now that you are older and have been influenced by the diet culture that surrounds you, well, it hasn’t been so easy for you to return to the way you were born.

 

I know you have this deep desire to become an intuitive eater again. I know this because I have spoken to hundreds of you wishing it were easier.  I know how easy it is to fall back into diet mentality, and I also know how important support is for you on this journey.

 

Free Training

Join me tomorrow, Thursday September 7 at 8 pm EST for a Facebook Live training where I will discuss how you can make intuitive eating second nature again.

 

I’m going live in my private Facebook group, so if you aren’t yet a member of our group, click here now to join us for free.

 

Here’s what you’ll learn during our Facebook Live training:

  • The #1 reason you struggle with implementing the intuitive eating principles
  • What it really takes to make intuitive eating a part of your being
  • How you can be at peace with food and yourself so you can enjoy life to the fullest

 

Oh, and if you are not on Facebook and want to watch the replay, just send me an email to Bonnie@DietFreeRadiantMe.com and I’ll send you the recording.

 

How Do You Handle Food-Related Stress?

Food is supposed to be enjoyed. Yet, when speaking with so many clients, and potential clients, they tell me that food is stressful. All aspects of food, whether its deciding what to eat, shopping and preparing food for meals, or even the thought of going out to eat food.

 

Stress, stress, stress!

 

Do you feel the same way?

 

If you have had a difficult relationship with food for some time now, then you can probably relate.

 

I know you probably want food to be a non-issue in your life. And you know what? It can be.

 

Let’s first start with 3 strategies that you can put into place immediately to help you minimize the stress around food.

 

Strategy #1: Set up your environment for success.

While I’m all about teaching you how to be intuitive in your eating (of course…I teach intuitive eating!), I am also very practical. It is important to be mindful of your eating and one way to do that is to reduce your external eating cues. That means put all food away after you’ve eaten and don’t leave food on the counters or table. If food is left out, it can very easily lead to mindless munching which then leads to feelings of guilt and frustration for eating when you weren’t hungry.

 

Strategy #2: Seek assistance from your family members.

Food shopping and meal prep doesn’t have to just be your responsibility. Get everyone involved in the menu planning. Even better, assign everyone a night to prepare the dinner. This way the whole family is involved, the kids will more likely eat what they help to prepare, and you get quality family time too.

 

Strategy #3. Start to use meditation and visualization. Meditation can be a powerful tool to help keep your mind clear and stress-free. You can use meditation as a way to visualize yourself being stress-free around food and, by visualizing that, you can start to believe it will happen too.

 

These strategies are a good place to get started and you can use them as a way to figure out what works best for you.

 

But I have more!

 

Come join my 3-Day Challenge – Managing Food-Related Stress.

 

It starts TODAY, August 30th and runs through Friday September 1 and is happening in my Private Facebook Group.

 

Download your free e-Book “How to Manage Food-Related Stress” (which we are using throughout the challenge) as a tool to teach you ways to manage your stress around food.

 

Head over to our Private Facebook Group to see what Day One of the challenge entails!

 

See you there!

 

3 Steps to Stop Emotional Eating NOW

“Why do you eat?”

 

It seems like a simple enough question. But is it?

 

This is a question I ask all my clients in our first session. As I am learning about their weight history, diet history, challenges and struggles, I stop and ask them “why do you eat?”

 

They pause, look at me and say, “that’s a great question”.

 

There is a myriad of reasons why you eat. Yes, it might be from hunger, true biological hunger. But then again, it may not be. Do you know what true biological hunger feels and sounds like? Probably not if you’ve been a dieter and you’ve been eating based on food rules that have been dictated to you, including when and what to eat.

 

Stop and think about it. Are there reasons other than hunger that you eat?

 

Perhaps when you are bored? Lying around the house on a rainy day with nothing to do so you find yourself in the kitchen?

 

Or maybe you had a disagreement with your partner and you feel sad, hurt or lonely?

You remember the last time you were sad and hurt you ate the double chocolate fudge Haagen Daz ice cream and felt so much better.

 

Or so you thought…

 

But then, suddenly you felt worse. You now feel guilty, ashamed and disheartened with yourself. “Why did I do that again?” And, you feel physically uncomfortable, bloated, heavy, sluggish, with acid buildup! Oh, and let’s not forget the original feelings of hurt and sadness which is not multiplied by 100!

 

How long do you want to ride this emotional eating vicious cycle? It’s not fun. There is a way off, but you have to commit to taking action, because it won’t happen by itself.

 

Here are 3 steps to get your started:

 

  1. Identify your emotional eating type and trigger Take a long hard look at your eating habits and discover what type of emotional eater you really are. And, what are your particular triggers that lead you to the cookie jar over and over again!

 

  1. Create customized strategies to manage your emotional triggers. If you don’t tailor your strategies to your specific triggers, you will constantly jump from one strategy to the next, getting nowhere. In addition to customizing your strategies, it is imperative to learn how to actually feel your feelings, and to be okay with that. This is a tough thing to do, yes it is. But you can do it with the right direction and support!

 

  1. Use food as your ally. Instead of viewing food as your enemy like most chronic dieters and emotional eaters do, take a step back and realize that the right nutrition can actually help you balance your brain chemicals and regulate your blood sugars to best manage your moods, emotions and stop your cravings.

 

So, how do you implement these 3 steps and get results?

 

Join me in Total Food Freedom™, a program to help you end emotional eating and enjoy a new relationship with food. Learn what your emotional eating archetype is, what your emotional eating triggers are, and how to customize and tailor the strategies for each trigger. And, learn how proper nutrition can be your secret weapon to ending emotional eating for good.

 

Enrollment closes Sunday May 21 at midnight Eastern.

 

Class starts on Monday May 22nd!

 

Learn more and register here > www.TotalFoodFreedom.com

 

 

 

Please Tell Me What to Eat!

“Can you give me a meal plan WHILE we work on intuitive eating?”

 

This is a question I hear often from clients who are contemplating starting the intuitive eating journey!

 

The answer is NO! Giving you a meal plan goes against the core beliefs of intuitive eating which is eating based on YOUR inner body wisdom, not a pre-printed meal plan. Even if this meal plan is “calculated” and customized for you.

 

Let me explain.

 

You have been on many diets over the years. Perhaps these were formal diets such as Weight Watchers (you can have x points per day), Jenny Craig (you can only eat our prepackaged meals), Atkins (no carbs!) etc.

 

Or, you were on what I call a “Self-Designed Diet”, meaning you created rules that you told yourself you’d follow. Example:
• I can only eat carbs for lunch, never with dinner.

• I must stop eating by 7 pm every night.

• If I snack, it can only be on a fruit or veggie sticks

 

You get the picture, right?

 

Point is, these diets or your own self-designed diets gave you the rules of eating. You followed them like the good girl you are. But these diets don’t take into account what your internal body cues are telling you about when to start eating and when to stop. You eat when, what and how much the diet tells you to.

 

So, what’s the big deal?
This only “works” for as long as you “follow” it. Then when you have a bad day or an uncomfortable emotion surfaces that you’d just rather not feel, BAM….off the diet you go.

 

This cycle continues until you realize that you need off this merry-go-round. There is no joy in eating anymore. So, you hear me talking about intuitive eating and you’re like, “wow, this sounds amazing. Let’s do it. But, can you give me a meal plan too?’

 

I hope you now see why my answer is “no”. Not because I don’t want to help you. But because on the contrary, a meal plan will keep you dieting by telling you when to eat, how much to eat and what to eat. It does not allow you to relearn how to let your body guide your eating decisions.

 

Having said this, I will also say that at a certain point on the intuitive eating journey when my clients raise their hand and say “YES, the intuitive eater within me has woken up”, then we start talking about nutrition. And guess what? You are now able to make the best choices for yourself with my guidance based on what feels awesome in your body!

 

Sounds intriguing? Want in on this journey? Just reach out to me at www.TalkWithBonnie.com and let me know you want to Break Free of Dieting for good! I’m here to support you!

 

 

How to Treat Yourself without Food

You’ve had a long day. Heck, it’s been a long week. You need a treat. You head to the _______ and get yourself some ______________.

 

How would you fill in these blanks?

 

When I pose this question to the women who reach out to me for help with their weight, they fill in the blanks with the words ‘kitchen” and ‘ice cream’. Or, ‘store’ and ‘chocolate’. Or ‘freezer’ and ‘cake’.

 

Sound familiar?

 

The first thought that most likely pops into your mind when you are looking for a treat is food! Why is that? Why do you associate a treat with food?

 

An emotional connection with food is created from the moment we are born and placed on our mom’s chest to bond. And then, as you get older and need comfort, you are given some milk and cookies. Of, if you fall down and hurt yourself, you are consoled with a lollypop. There are numerous examples of how the emotional connection to food continues to be reinforced around you.

 

But how has this served you now into adulthood? Not very well I’m guessing. It has led to your struggle with emotional eating and your never-ending ride on the yo-yo diet roller coaster.

 

It’s time to treat yourself with something other than food. It’s time to treat yourself like a queen and to take good care of yourself so you don’t need to find comfort in food.

 

Let me share a story with you.

 

The last few months have been very busy and well, quite stressful. So yesterday I decided to treat myself like a queen. One of my dreams has always been to have a personal shopper come into my home and go through my clothes closet with me. Toss what is no good, keep what is, and create new outfits with what I have. Then head to the store with my personal shopper in tow and buy some new clothes.

 

Well, I didn’t exactly get that full dream….no, a personal shopper did not come to my house. But I did make an appointment with a personal shopper at Lord and Taylor and meet with her yesterday. This is a complementary service for shoppers…I never knew that! She set me up in her exclusive office fitting room and brought me clothes to try on based on what I told her I was looking for.

 

Wow, what an experience. I felt like a celebrity. This was the best experience ever! I bought some really great new clothes and felt really amazing.

 

I treated myself like a queen. I felt the stress lift off my shoulders, just like that. Doing something for yourself really feels good! You don’t need food to comfort or console yourself. Taking care of your needs on all levels and nurturing yourself will help you cope with your feelings without turning to food.

 

Try it…and let me know how it works out for you. If you want to talk, just contact me here!

 

Your Emotional Health, Self-Talk and Weight Loss

quote-92I have many clients that come to me with the frustration of not meeting their weight loss goals.  They come to me wondering what they can do to reach their “goals”.  I usually sit down with them and go over what they are eating and if they are exercising; the typical conversation I have when a client comes to me for weight loss.

 

But their eating pattern isn’t the only thing we discuss.

 

My clients and I may also discuss how they feel about themselves after not reaching their “goals”.  Where is their mindset at?  How are they feeling on their journey to a healthier lifestyle?

 

Often they might see not reaching their weight loss goal as a failure and a reflection of who they are as a person.  They may then develop a negative internal monologue with themselves that tends to only perpetuate weight gain or the inability to lose weight.

 

Does this resonate with you?

 

Bullying yourself is not the way to long lasting weight loss, nor is it part of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Many times the roadblocks in the journey to weight loss are not a lack of nutrition education or even support, but rather they are barriers you put up in your own psyche that prevents you from moving forward.

 

Your emotional health is key to your physical health, and talking yourself down will not lead to success.

 

How many times have you eaten what you consider “poorly” or not in keeping with your “diet plan” throughout the first half of the day, and your inner voice starts bullying you saying, “You can’t even make it a few hours without eating unhealthy” or “Can’t you stick to anything?  You’re such a failure!  You’ll never lose weight!”  The disappoint that accompanies these thoughts almost always leads to more unhealthy choices throughout the rest of the day.

 

Instead of criticizing yourself, be your own cheerleader.

 

The day is not ruined if you chose to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of oatmeal.  Tell yourself it is OK and move on.

 

There are so many more things to the day than what you eat.

 

Food should only be a part of your life, not what controls it.

 

The more you can shift your mind from the negative to focusing on all the great things about what you do in a day, the more success you will have with living a healthy lifestyle.

 

Support from others is great and is a key piece in a healthy mindset (and intuitive eating), but the support you give yourself is equally if not more important.  After all, you are on this journey for you and nobody else, and while weight loss is great, achieving happiness and a sense of peace with the way you maintain a healthy lifestyle is even better.

 

Intuitive eating can help you change your mindset and help you overcome body bashing.  You will develop a better relationship with food and no longer have feelings of remorse or anger if you go off your “diet plan”.

 

If you would like to learn more about intuitive eating and how it can help you, contact me here.

 

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.

 

 

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.

Navigating Life’s Surprises as an Intuitive Eater

big whyLife happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus and veer off track.

 

The truth is that no matter where you are on your intuitive eating journey, stressful life events are bound to occur. It is okay to feel stressed or anxious, but you don’t want to lose yourself to life’s surprises. I encourage you to stay focused on your health rather than slipping back into old ways.

 

When you feel life weighing you down, it may feel most comfortable to turn to food but the thing is, food is meant to nourish you, not be used as your crutch. So next time you find yourself in this situation, what can you do to keep going and to stay on track?

 

First, I want you to really focus on why you are on the intuitive eating journey. As you feel like you are falling apart, ask yourself the reason you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Was it to feel better in your own body? Was it to stay healthy for your kids? Was it to get off medication?

 

Chances are your “why” still resonates somewhere within you, even on your darkest days. Let this motivate you. Some days are easier than others but if you keep your “why” in focus, you can navigate the bumps along the way. Instead of letting the bad times discourage you from working to better your health and yourself, use mindfulness to clear your head space and find peace within yourself.

 

Make every day the best it can be by prioritizing your own needs. That may mean making a list of goals, tasks to tackle, or fresh produce to pick up from the grocery store. Each step in the right direction is an important one.

 

You can make the most of each day by scheduling time for your own priorities into your daily routine. There is a time for work, a time for taking care of the needs of others, and a time to care for yourself. This includes time to sit down for meals and to be engaged, mindful and do nothing but focus on your food.

 

Take time to unwind each day. This can be exercise, taking a bath, catching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, or talking with a friend. Remember that you do not have to navigate alone. At times life is too much to balance on your own so reach out to friends, coworkers, family, and loved ones for support when you need it. By letting go of pent up emotions, you will be clearing your mind and allowing more room for mindfulness.

 

You may be thinking “but I don’t have TIME to relax.” Trust me, I know the feeling. With busy schedules, sometimes it may feel like there is just no time to unwind. Even just taking 15 minutes to vent to a friend or to decompress your thoughts onto paper will benefit your day and your overall goals.

 

Instead of taking time to make excuses as to why you cannot do this or that, put that energy towards focusing on the reasons you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Write down your motivation and the messages your body is sending you. You will gain clarity and feel motivated to trek on this journey.

 

The truth is, life comes at you fast. You cannot go back in time but you can make the most of your present and future. Honing in on your intuitive eating and mindfulness will help you navigate through life’s obstacles and keep you on track to being the best version of yourself.

 

Always remember, when you are feeling low, there is nowhere to go but up! If you keep your focus and mindfulness, you will find inner peace on even your worst days.