Responding with love after an overeating episode.
How do we do that?
Last week I wrote a post on how the way that we respond to ourselves when old eating habits resurface can make a big difference in how often we overeat. I talked about how there are two ways you can respond – either with love or with shame, disgust and guilt and that responding the more familiar, negative way is the sure way to find yourself rooting around the pantry again. Responding with love can help these kind of overeating episodes become less frequent and less damaging over time.
So let’s talk about what responding with love actually looks like!
If you’re like me, you like lots of information when you are trying something new. Information, details and answers make you feel safe or like you’re on the right track. But I also have a tendency to overcomplicate things with my need for details (haha! If you’re like me you probably get that too!) so I’m not going to do that to you today! I’m going to give you the info you need but not so much that it makes you feel paralyzed or stuck in taking action.
Responding with love each time you overeat doesn’t have to be a huge, complicated process. It can just be something you do, naturally, simply and normally.
If we go into this by only focusing on giving ourselves love when we eat in a way we aren’t happy with, it’s going to feel like an uphill battle. So with that in mind, the way you respond with love in your overeating episodes is to respond with love every time you eat.
Each time you eat, whether it’s a normal meal, overeating, under eating, a binge, a diet, a snack say thank you. If you’re eating a salad, a steak, a cup cake, a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers, say thank you. Every day. Every meal. Every bite.
Thank your body for receiving the food.
Thank it for digesting it.
Thank your teeth, saliva, your tongue for chewing it so that you can digest it.
Thank your body for retrieving the energy and valuable nutrients from the food that it needs so that you can live your life.
Thank your body for giving you feelings of comfort and satisfaction and safety after a meal.
Tell your body your love her. For no reason other than you are present with her now. Thank you, I love you. Thank you, I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.
Get in the habit of sending her adoration and gratitude at every opportunity.
It might feel silly at first.
You might feel conceited.
But it’s not conceit. It’s not pride. It’s one small, gentle, non-threatening way you can show yourself love.
We already are really good at saying thank you. From an early age we are taught and trained to say please and thank you. Saying thank you in response to certain situations becomes automatic. We want to show respect and be polite. We want to acknowledge the thoughtfulness and kindnesses others show to us. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves? Isn’t our body deserving of the same pleasantries? Literally everything we are able to do in life happens because we have a functioning, breathing, thinking body. And eating and processing food is a part of all that. Thank your body so often for it’s daily gifts that your positive response will become automatic (just like it is when someone holds the door open for you).
Your digestion will be better. Your body will absorb more nutrients from the food you eat. Your general outlook will be better. You may not even recognize why but it’s because you’re connecting with and acknowledging the role your body plays in your world.
If this feels crazy silly to you, you could also try saying a form of “grace” before you eat or after you eat. Instead of (or in addition to) a prayer to God or your higher power for providing the food you are eating, you could pause for a moment and to yourself (or out loud if you wish) say:
“Dear Body, I thank for all the work you will undergo so that I can eat this food and digest this meal. Thank you for making it so the nutrients in this food allow me to have a productive and satisfying day. Thank you for giving me energy today. I love you for all that you do, all that you are and exactly as you are right now.”
Alter that as you wish. What does your body want to hear? What does she do for you every day that you are grateful for? How is she worthy and deserving of your love? And will you try giving it to her so that it becomes easier to give it to yourself?
So now you know how to respond with love to your eating episodes. Will you try it?
Like this? For more, download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldn‘t Be a Workout: Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).
Need help with your own eating struggles? Let’s talk.