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How to Manage Your Emotions without Turning to Food

Sad woman eating donutOne of the things that come up often in my work with my clients is how they deal with emotional eating. We all experience different emotions throughout a given day. For some, there might be more than others. Such emotions include anxiety, loneliness and sadness. Other more subtle emotions that often might lead you to turn to food include boredom and stress. It is totally normal to experience these emotions from time to time, but how you cope with them is key. (Note: if you are experiencing intense sadness and depression, please see an appropriate mental health professional.)

 

So the question here is: do you find yourself reaching into the food cabinets when these emotions arise? If you do, how do you feel after you eat the cookies, candy or whatever your “go to” mood fixer food is?

 

I know that deep down you realize that food is not resolving the issue at hand. Yet, you still find comfort even for the moment in the box of chocolates. But you know what? After you eat them, you now have to deal with the guilt, physical discomfort of overeating and the original emotion you were trying to numb. You are now worse off than when you started.

 

Does this sound like you? How do you get out of this viscous cycle?

 

The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you turn to food to comfort negative feelings, even to numb the emotional pain you might be feeling. Then, you need to commit to learning a new way. Before immediately turning to food, STOP and ask yourself what are you really 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.

 

If you are unsure what you need, seek out the support from a friend, counselor or therapist. Talking through your emotions instead of eating through them is an amazing feeling.  If you are not ready to face your feelings, then engage in an alternate activity.

Write down some things that you enjoy doing that can distract you during these times. Take a walk, do a puzzle, read a book, go for a ride etc.  Figure out what works for you.

 

I’ll tell you what works for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed or upset about something, I remove myself from the area I am at that is causing me distress. I then take several deep breaths and count down from 10 to 0. It really helps me clear my head, and prevents me from heading to the peanut butter jar:)

 

What works for you? Please let me know in the comments section below. And if you need help sorting through your emotions, I am here for you. Just click here and request to speak with me so you can get clear on your challenges and have a clear path towards dealing with your emotions without turning to food.

The 3 Pieces of the Chronic Dieting Puzzle, Why it Doesn’t Work and the Puzzle that Does

Obedience, willpower, and failure are three connecting pieces to a chronic dieters puzzle. Once you have one set in stone, the other two follow. I call this a “puzzle” because as a chronic dieter you believe that you need all three pieces to feel good about yourself and to get to a satisfying weight.

 

What if I told you that this is not the case? What if I told you that these three components are actually lethal to your health, and cause you to get trapped in the dieting cycle over and over again?

 

Let’s start with “obedience”. Say for example you have a new pet (how about a dog) and you are training your dog. You teach the dog what he can and cannot do (a set of rules if you will) and when the dog is not obedient, you punish the dog for bad behavior. For example, you tell the dog he cannot enter the living room when you are not home. You arrive home and your couch is all chewed up. Now you punish the dog by putting up a gate at the living room entrance because the dog was not obedient, the dog was “a bad dog”.

 

Now relate this to yourself. You are following a particular diet this month which lists for you foods that you can and cannot eat.  You are following a list of rules with do’s and don’ts. Yet, you eat the very food you are told not to eat (let’s say, pizza) and you tell yourself you’ve been “bad”, you weren’t obedient to the rules. You vow never to do this again.  Guess what? That’s not going to happen. You will absolutely eat that pizza again at some point in time. No one or thing can tell you how you feel and what you should eat. You are the expert of your body! You should be responsible for when, what, and how much you eat. So, let’s forget about obedience.

 

The second piece of the chronic dieter’s puzzle is “willpower”. Let’s take the party scene for example. Whenever you go to a party do you find yourself staring at the dessert table, drooling over everything that you love but have vowed to never eat again? You keep telling yourself you don’t need all the calories, just have willpower. You try and walk away but end up overindulging because you have starved your body from those desserts for a few weeks or even longer. Willpower is not a component of intuitive eating. You have natural desires, we all do. And to try and will yourself away from them just ends in disaster. Forget the willpower and listen to your own body’s signals because that will bring you back to your natural instincts, which you have lost through the dieting schemes.

 

The final piece of the chronic dieter’s puzzle is “failure”. This is what you feel once obedience and willpower have once again failed you through this dieting process. So you in turn overindulge and gain back all the weight that you lost, and sometimes even more. Newsflash: you are not the one that failed; the diets are what have failed.

 

Should I say that again? You are not a failure, nor will you ever be with intuitive eating.

 

You need to start working on a NEW PUZZLE.

 

THE INTUITIVE EATING PUZZLE. There are only three pieces to this puzzle.

 

Puzzle piece #1:          A Healthy Non-Diet Mindsetweightlosspuzzleviolet

Puzzle piece #2:          Nutrition Education

Puzzle piece #3:          Caring Support

 

Does it sound difficult? Well, nothing in life comes easy. But it is truly your solution if you want to finally break free of the pain of dieting and achieve the body that you love.

 

Now it’s your turn to take action: Contact me for your FREE Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session so you can put your INTUITIVE EATING Puzzle together effortlessly.

 

 

 

Food Deprivation Leading to Rebound Eating

Overindulging in a food item that you restrict is common if you are a chronic dieter. This is called deprivation backlash-rebound eating.

 

Here’s a common scenario: you deprive yourself of a certain food, such as your beloved chocolate because you are on a diet and you are not allowed to have chocolate, right? Well an old time friend comes to visit and brings you a box of chocolates. You put it away vowing you will not open it. A family member spots the chocolate, opens the box and now what do you do? Hmmm, I’ll just have one, really only one. But before you turn around, you have more than one, and at this point you might as well finish the box because you promise yourself you won’t have chocolate again. You truly believe that you won’t. Yet, you now feel guilty and as a punishment you skip dinner only to find yourself bingeing into the evening.

The above scenario is one example of the backlash that happens when you deprive yourself of a food you love. You rebound by eating, and overeating.

 

There are many different forms of rebound eating.

 

Have you ever engaged in The Last Supper eating? I have had many clients tell me that they knew they were coming to see me on Monday (or whatever day their appointment was on) and so the day before they overindulged on all the foods they thought they would no longer be allowed to eat….the foods that they thought would be off limits.

 

Listen, eating shouldn’t be this difficult. It’s time for you to make peace with food so you can once and for all stop the dieting cycle.

 

Need help? Click here to schedule a time to chat.

 

 

Your turn to take action: Tell me about a time that you engaged in rebound eating or The Last Supper. Share your stories in the comments section below.

The Guilt of Food Talk

Woman eating choc guilty lookDo you have a set of unreasonable rules that dieting has created? Is your head constantly filled with chanting words that promote or demote you from eating food that you love? This is the food police voice that is constantly telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat. It’s sort of like the angel and the devil sitting on your shoulders, one telling you it’s okay to eat the chocolate cake, but the other yelling “NO” don’t do it.

 

You decide to have that chocolate cake, while the devil sitting on your shoulder is beaming with pride because you followed his advice. As soon as you eat that cake you feel guilty about the amount of calories and fat that you just consumed. Even though you enjoyed the chocolate cake, you still feel guilty. Most chronic dieters have this sense of guilt each and every time they eat something that the food police is saying they shouldn’t.

 

The media and various companies place thoughts in your head related to nutrition and ways to “cheat” and make yourself feel guiltless because of the way these food items are advertised. The slogans and jingles are created to convince you that this cookie will prevent you from being “bad” on your diet, and will keep you on track. These are the advertisements that cause you to have negative food thoughts and judgments towards food.

 

You are not born with these food judgments, you develop them over the years of dieting and being influenced by the media penetrating these images of good versus. bad in your head.

 

The next time you pick up a food item that you enjoy and you contemplate “should I or shouldn’t I”, take a moment to listen to your body and the food talk going on in your head. Push away the negative thoughts and change the tape that plays in your head. If this is a food that you truly desire, go ahead and enjoy it without guilt in a very mindful way. Realize that this one food eaten in this one moment will not make you gain weight or have a nutritional deficiency. You may actually find that you don’t love the chocolate cake as much as you thought you did.

 

 

Your turn to take action: How will you replace the negative self-talk that plays in your head? Post your comments below!

How to Wipe Out the Foods on Your “What-Not” to Eat List

Donuts-pickes etcI love lists. I live by lists. Just ask my family members. I have a lot of lists. They help me to prioritize my tasks, stay organized and accomplish what needs to get done.

 

How often do you make lists throughout your day? To-do lists, shopping lists, what-not to eat lists?

 

Lists play a prominent role in the life of a chronic dieter. Some of these lists are written out, others are likely engrained in your head. The good versus bad food lists draws a line between the foods you allow yourself to eat and those you don’t, which inevitably establishes a barrier that you “cannot” cross.

 

Do you overindulge when you allow yourself to eat from the “bad food” list? Most likely you do because you are experiencing deprivation from this particular food item that has become taboo for you. This is exactly why you overindulge; it’s called deprivation backlash.

 

I say it’s time to thrown away these food lists so you can make peace with food once and for all.

 

How?

 

Write down all the foods that you don’t allow yourself to eat. Then plan out one by one when you are going to purchase that food and when and where you are going to eat it. Make sure you plan to do this when you feel calm, not stressed and you are in a calm, relaxing atmosphere.

 

Explore how you feel when you eat each food on your list. Is it as good as you expected? What surprises did you experience?

 

This is a process, so be patient with yourself. You might just find that what you thought you once loved you actually do not like at all. And, what you thought you didn’t like has become your new favorite.

 

Making peace with food takes time, but it is well worth the effort. If I can help you on this journey, feel free to reach out by requesting a strategy session here.

 

Your turn to take action: Write down all the foods that are on your ‘what-not” to eat food list, and share in the comments below how you are going to start incorporating these items into your menus.

Take A Stand Against the Scale

Scale-womans feetDo you find yourself hopping on the scale every morning? Do you rejoice on the days you’ve lost a pound, and scold yourself on the days you stayed the same? The scale starts to have the ultimate power of how you feel and treat yourself during the day. This leads to a cycle of under and overeating, weight gain, and body dissatisfaction – four things that lead you down the wrong path when it comes to food.

 

The number on the scale does not reflect the person you are, or the person you are becoming. No one and no thing can tell you how you feel about yourself. With intuitive eating you cannot fail, it is a lifestyle and learning process every step of the way. The scale is a false idol. There are many factors that influence your weight which do not reflect body fat, such as fluid retention, fluid shifts within your body and water loss from sweating after a workout.

 

Forget the scale; it does not represent who you are, or who you are becoming. Intuitive eating teaches you to become compassionate toward yourself, and helps you to get past dieting. Listen to your internal cues telling you what you want to eat, and when you want to eat it. The scale does not determine your food or exercise schedule for the rest of the week. Your inner cues won’t lead you astray, have confidence and listen to what your body is telling you.

 

The next time you go into the bathroom to weigh yourself, STOP! Remember the scale is not your measure of success on this intuitive eating journey. Take that scale and put it away. Just take a look at the image with this blog…a woman standing on the scale yet the scale registers zero pounds.

 

Now it’s your turn to take action: Put away the scale and make a commitment not to weigh yourself. Please share your success in the comments below.

 

 

International NO Diet Day

No DietingToday is a very important day: International NO Diet Day!

 

The purpose of this nationally recognized day is to raise awareness of the harmful effects unhealthy dieting can have as well as the importance of respecting and accepting body types.  The goal is to teach people how to have a healthy relationship with food and ditch restrictive eating habits.

 

May 6th has been the designated day for NO Diet Day ever since it was created in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, director of the British Group “Diet Breakers”.  After overcoming anorexia, Young worked to help people appreciate themselves for who they are and the body that they have and established the following set of goals for this very important and meaningful day:

 

GOAL: Celebrate the beauty and diversity of all our natural sizes and shapes.

 

GOAL: Declare a personal one-day moratorium on diet/weight obsession.

 

GOAL: Learn the facts about weight-loss dieting, health and body size.

 

GOAL: Honor the victims of eating disorders and weight-loss surgery.

 

GOAL: Help end weight discrimination, size-ism and fat phobia.

 

These are a great set of goals to set not only on International NO Diet Day, but for every day of the year.  Learning ways to eat intuitively by honoring your hunger and satiety cues is the best way to ditch the diet mentality and develop a healthy relationship with food.

 

Chronic dieting and the perpetual obsession with food and body weight is something that we are faced with constantly, especially in a culture that glorifies the notion that thin is beautiful.  This misconception has caused food to become the enemy for most people.  This is sad because food is something we should all cherish and enjoy and view as a means to nourish our bodies.

 

If you have been struggling on and off diets, let today be the day that you say NO MORE! Contact me for your FREE Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session and let’s turn this around for you. I will help you transform your relationship with food, your mind and your body so you can achieve the body that you love!

 

Your turn to take action: Click here for your Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session.

Intuitive Eating: Make it a Family Affair

Family meals 2Many of the eating behaviors that you are trying to change have likely been behaviors and habits you learned while growing up through your childhood. Statements such as “you can’t leave the table until you clean your plate” or “clean your room and we will go for ice cream” puts food in the category of either punishment or reward.  It is so important to think about how these statements mold your children’s thoughts and beliefs about food.

It’s very important to me, as a mom of 4 children and 1 grandchild, to help my family respect their individual food preferences and inner signals of hunger and satiety. They need not eat what they don’t like, nor should they eat when they are not hungry or continue eating when they reach satiety. That doesn’t mean, by the way, that I don’t ask them to be open minded and taste a food that they “think” they won’t like, or that they didn’t like years ago. Tastes change, especially in growing children.

Let me share a story with you. Last week we were eating a family dinner. My youngest daughter (11 years old) stopped eating and put her fork down. There was a little food left on her plate (I think it was potatoes) and my husband asked her why she didn’t finish.  She said that she’s no longer hungry and that she had enough. She looked at me when she said it, as if to say “mom, aren’t you proud?!” Yes, indeed, I was beaming. I quickly said that I will put away what she left over and she can eat it tomorrow. This was important as my husband doesn’t like to waste food and as long as he realizes I wasn’t going to throw her food in the garbage, he didn’t say a word other than, “oh, okay”.

Practicing intuitive eating should be a family affair. In this way, your kids will grow up with a healthy attitude towards food, their mind and their body.

Your turn to take action: Please share in the comments below one of your dinner table stories depicting intuitive eating.

My Experience with Comfortable Satiety

iStock_000019977922XSmallWhen working with my clients, it is often hard for them to identify what comfortable satiety feels like.  This is truly understandable. If you have been eating mindlessly and/or cleaning the plate without consideration if you’ve even had enough (“how can I leave food over, I’m entitled to eat this amount on my diet?”), then that would partly explain why this part of your journey might be difficult.

 

As I’ve previously mentioned, I have incorporated intuitive eating into my own life. I want to share an experience with you that I had yesterday when I was eating lunch.

 

I identified that I was “gently hungry” and decided to take my lunch break. I remembered that I had some soup left over in the fridge from dinner the night before, that I did not eat but that my family raved about. While the soup was heating up, I prepared my sandwich, which is what I often eat for lunch.

 

I sat at the kitchen table, took a deep breath to center myself, and began eating my soup.  Yum, it was truly delicious. The texture of the vegetables, the flavor of the spices, and the temperature really hit the spot. I noticed the trees and the sunshine out my bay window (it was a nicer day yesterday than today…brrr, its cold today).

 

I finished the soup, rested a moment to check in with my stomach. I felt good, but was still slightly hungry so I picked up half my sandwich. I ate focusing on each bite. It too, was delicious.  After I finished the half sandwich, I once again checked in with myself. I was feeling content. I didn’t need to eat the other half of the sandwich. My son had left me a small bowl of 4 peeled grapefruit sections with a note “Enjoy, Ma, Love Jason”. How sweet.  He knows how I love grapefruit sections.

 

At this point, I decided to wrap up the other half of the sandwich and finish off my meal with the 4 grapefruit sections. What a wonderful experience. I was being intuitive, listening to my body, and being mindful.  And I enjoyed every bite.

 

Now it’s your turn to take action: Tune into your internal signals at mealtime, and share your experience in the comments below.

Freedom From Dieting….Finally!

Freedom from Dieting Inner CircleHere we are again!  Mid January, the start of a new year and the media bombardment of promises to help you fulfill your weight loss goals for this year.

Click here to watch and listen, or read below.

You can’t read a magazine, listen to the radio or watch TV without a commercial or advertisement touting the latest diet, meal replacement drink, detox program or miracle pill to help you lose the weight in the new year.

http://www.youtube.com/edit?video_referrer=watch&video_id=ilA9ohhy2vc

If you suffer with emotional eating, yo-yo dieting and just feel lost, trying another diet this year is NOT your answer.  Time and time again it has been proven that diets don’t work for long term weight loss.  They work great short term if you are good at “following” what someone else tells you to do, what to eat and how and when to eat.  But by now you’ve realized it’s not your FOREVER.

 

The solution to your struggles is reclaiming what you were born with…and that’s the ability to become an intuitive eater.  That means learning to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortably full.  If you’ve been ignoring your inner signals for some time now, this might sound difficult to do.

But the ability to be an intuitive eater is buried inside of you and I would be honored to help you bring it back up to the surface so you can live your life free of food worry and free of the pain of diet failure.

 

Sounds great, but you want to know HOW, right?

 

Join me in my new program called              Freedom from Dieting Inner Circle

 

This is a small intimate group coaching program; I’m only taking 6 people max so you can get the attention you need.

 

It’s perfect for you if you are ready to take action and realize you’ll accomplish more by having the accountability, structure, and support you need to succeed.

 

What to hear all the details?

 

I’m offering a FREE Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session for you where we will discuss your biggest challenges preventing you from achieving your weight loss goals, and we will see if the Freedom from Dieting Inner Circle program is right for you.

 

Click here and submit your request for this Free Session.