Tag Archives: binge eating

A Rant: Get off Your Stupid Phone and No You Don’t Need a Special Diet for the New Year!

I like to end the year by taking some time to recharge my batteries and I definitely did that this holiday season, though I will say I was somewhat forced into that as I came down with a cold just before Christmas (and I haven’t had a cold in almost 3 years)! Ug! Luckily it wasn’t a super bad one, thanks to the self-care I do all year. One good thing about getting sick always gives me an opportunity to sit still and think about what’s actually important to me and what’s not. There are two things I decided were going to be less important to me as we moved into the new year – and while they may seem arbitrary to this blog, they both can relate to those of you who have food issues!

What’s not that important?
1.Being a slave to social media – whether for your business or personally.
2. Finding a new diet or detox program to work off those holiday pounds as quickly as possible (especially if you are tired of repeat weight gain).

This will be a long one but if you can’t put your phone down or seek a quick diet fix every new year, please read on! Let’s get into it!

Put down your stupid phone and pay attention to your life and the people in it!
One of the things I learned really quickly with starting my own business was that I needed to have a strong social media presence – this means posting frequently, be engaging/interesting, sharing high value content and being personal while also being professional. I’ve worked really hard at it – while juggling other aspects of business. At times I’ve definitely enjoyed it, but holy crap it can be exhausting trying to keep this up (never mind the amount of time I spend on my personal account too!).

Part of recharging myself after a super busy year was taking a much needed break from Social Media. Normally, I work that in to my vacation time by scheduling a bunch of articles, photos, and other posts to be published on my business social media profiles while I’m away – so while I can take a break from the stimulation, but it looks like I’m fully engaged like everyone else. This is a great help but I never really get to fully disengage because I still need to comment and respond if followers interact with my posts – which leads me to checking social media a few times a day on my vacation. This time around, I just decided I wasn’t going to post and I wasn’t going to schedule anything – I didn’t even reply to private messages I received on social media. This was both incredibly difficult to do (what will they think if they don’t hear back from me within a few hours) and also super freeing . . .and it was exactly what I needed to do. Taking a major break meant I could actually be in my life, instead of worrying about what I was going to post tomorrow.

What does my social media break have to do with you? And certainly what does it have to do with your relationship with food?

A lot. I swear.

How much time do you spend on your electronic devices browsing, posting and commenting on social media? And why do you do it? I know I was talking about it from a business perspective, but you can relate it to your personal use of social media, I’m sure!

Many of us do it as a way to “zone out” from our feelings or things we’re worried about. We use it to deal with boredom. You may even be using it to not be present.  It’s even gotten to the point where we feel uncomfortable just watching a TV show with our our devices in hand. Have you ever gotten up on a commercial break to grab your phone to browse something non-specific? That urge to scroll something, anything, instead of being left with just our brains, is strong! It may feel harmless, but we actually actively avoiding being in our lives – feeling whatever we feel.

When we actively avoid our feelings – good or bad – we’re balancing on a slippery slope. Finding ways to not be present in our lives frequently leads to overeating. Not for everyone, but it is a bad habit to get into if you struggle with food.

I’ve noticed people doing this at parties or family events – we think we’re spending time with our families during these important events (birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holidays etc) but we’ve checked out by looking down at a gadget in our hand for most of it. At the end of the day, what do you remember about it? Was it a buzzfeed article you read that someone (you aren’t even sure who) posted on facebook? Maybe a photo posted on instagram by one of your favorite celebrities? Or was it a conversation with your favorite aunt? A funny thing said by one of your nephews? Or how delicious your cousin’s cheesecake was? At the end of the event, do you feel like you got to catch up with everyone you wanted to? Or do you feel like you didn’t even see anyone (but you know that a classmate of yours from 20 years ago just announced her engagement and that someone you once worked with is drunk posting and will probably deactivate their account when they see the fallout tomorrow morning)?
Be present. Commit to NOT zoning out from your life and the people in it. Your life satisfaction will increase - and guess what- This also translates to a less complicated life around food and that's amazing!!

How do you get out of this habit? Here’s some tough love. Put the phone in your purse or pocket and leave it there until you are ready to go home. If you use your phone to take pictures of the event, put it back in your pocket afterwards. You do not need to post the photos immediately. Your followers are hopefully busy living their lives as well. Post the photos (if you desire) later, when you are no longer in the company of the people in them! Enjoy the time you get with your family, your friends, EVEN if they drive you crazy. Sure, your curated instagram photos look like you had a fun day with your family or friends but did you? Were you more interested in creating an experience for your social media followers than you were in creating an experience with the people you love? There will come a day when you WISH you actually talked to the people you are related to – when they are no longer here. Don’t waste it on people you’ve never met on the internet who don’t really care about you.

It’s hard – I’ve caught myself pulling out my phone too – (I may be preachy but I’m not perfect) especially if I’m left alone for a few minutes at the dessert table! But whether I’m zoning out from people or around food, I know I’m choosing to live that way, and I don’t want that. I have a feeling you don’t either. Be present. Commit to NOT zoning out from your life and the people in it. Your life satisfaction will increase – and guess what? This also translates to a less complicated life around food and that’s amazing!!

No, you really don’t need a new diet or detox for the new year!
Part of me not only felt compelled to post on social media, but I also felt pulled to promote a weight loss or detox program for the new year (like every other health coach, nutritionist and health food guru out there). This is prime $$$$$ making time for anyone with a health or web based business. People overeat and drink heavily over the holiday season and come January they are ready to throw money at gym memberships they’ll never use and the newest diet program that promises them significant and (most importantly) fast weight loss. Then after the program is over, they usually go back to their old habits and by next January will be chasing down another quick program to lose the same pounds they gained yet again.

Sound familiar?

I get it, having dealt with my own weight demons for decades, I really do understand that urge to grasp at whatever will help you feel better as fast as possible. As a businesswoman, I also majorly feel the urge to offer you something for this time of year – there are others in the industry who would say I’m literally throwing money away by not promoting something (someone else will sell people things if I won’t). It’s not that I can’t put together a program that will help you with your holiday weight gain (I have one already actually) but like I mentioned in last week’s post – I’m in this for your (and my) longterm success. And I want to work with people who are looking for that longterm happiness with their bodies – not with people who just want to fix RIGHT NOW. No offense meant RIGHT NOW folks, but it’s just that if you want something immediately, you’re a little less inclined to put in the actual work that it will take to solve your issue.

So in addition to my social media break, I also let go of the urge to sell something for the new year. It feels awesome – and I was more able to relax during my break because I didn’t have to think about a program launch or if I had enough marketing planned. I’m working on planning out my year and I’m going to be offering some things that I truly feel are suited to you and that also truly feel right in my gut. But I’m not going to hawk restrictive and painful products to you that you’re going to need every January 2nd.

What does my objection to new year diets have to do with you? What does it have to do with your relationship with food?

One of my beliefs about healing our food lives, our food relationships is that we really have to look closely at it – we really need to get to know ourselves – intimately! How we operate, why we operate the way we do and how we try to elude ourselves. In seeking out (or for me, selling) quick fixes, we again aren’t looking at ourselves clearly – we’re afraid to admit and acknowledge why we gained weight and why we ate things we feel badly about in the first place. To ignore all of this means you’re just going to do it again, and again.

Are you ok with that? Are you going into a quick fix detox or cleanse believing that this will be the final time you resort to something like this? Do you believe that next year will be different if you could just drop 7 lbs right now?

Hey, maybe you’re ok with an annual or quarterly quick fix diet – for sure there was a time I felt this way too – but if I’m honest that was because I didn’t want to give up the food that I enjoyed when I gained weight each holiday season and I also believed that I couldn’t have these foods. I got over that. You can read about that here. Maybe you’re ok with living like that. But maybe you’re not!

If you are ready to focus on your longterm health, relationship with food, relationship with yourself AND willing to take active steps on them week after week (despite your full and busy life), you’re ready to work with me and I’m super psyched to have that opportunity. Because I know my longterm success as a coach depends on the success of my clients and their longterm success matters far more than if they can drop 8 lbs right after new years.

You don’t need a quick diet to make you feel better in 3 days. What you need is the fortitude to go at this one day at a time, to say “so what?” and “That’s ok” when you make a food choice you aren’t happy about. You need kindness for yourself and your choices and you need to recognize that your life is about far more than what you weigh, what you look like and what you put in your mouth.

How you approach eating and your body is closely tied with how you deal with everything in life. How likely are you to look for quick fixes at work, in your relationships or anywhere else? How uncomfortable are you with things not being perfect, good or easy? Oh my, I’m painfully uncomfortable when things aren’t “good”. It’s frequently been a trigger for my eating – when my Mom was in the hospital, when I was miserable in my job, when my husband and I fought. Fix it fix it, fix it I’d be screaming inside as I ate. Sound familiar??

How do you get beyond that? How do you stop looking for quick fixes? You have to sit in it. You have to recognize that sometimes life has a timeline that you’re not in control of (I know, this makes me want to pull my hair out too!). You have to keep your head above water during the hard times (whether that be illness, weight gain, stress etc) with dedicated a self-care routine (you decide what keeps you going – sleep, massage, exercise, social time, creative pursuits, sex, a good book etc). You must trust that things are going to work out the way they are meant to (that doesn’t necessarily mean that all will be well – people pass away, terrible things happen etc) and that no amount of worry or mental emphasis on the situation is going to make everything perfect. Dropping weight you’ve gained over the holidays in a longterm focused way, means taking it one day at a time (that fortitude we talked about earlier in this post), making decisions you feel good about as often as possible and remembering that you love people in your life whether they weigh 5 or 25 lbs more or less than they did the last time you saw them. Saying goodbye to the quick fix is easy when you focus on all that you have to offer this world and the people in it (instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale). Put your mental energy into other things in your life and if you do need to focus on something physical, focus on how good your body feels each day in your care (not how you look) and how your daily actions affect that. This will help you make better daily decisions that affect your longterm goals.

Well, I’ve ranted enough today! What are you fed up with in your own life? What behaviors and habits in your daily life are affecting your experience of it? Are you a slave to social media or quick fixes? How do you feel about that? Share with me in the comments or send me an email! And if you like this, fill out this form so you’ll get my weekly emails!

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To Get What We Want, We Have to Give Up Something

Everything you want has a price. Becoming a runner might mean getting up earlier (trading sleep). Is it worth it?

Everything you want has a price. Becoming a runner might mean getting up earlier (trading sleep). Is it worth it?

You have a dream. You want to earn $1,000,000. You want 4 kids. You want a prestigious job. You want the Master’s degree. You want your wedding to be Pinterest perfect. You want to lose 30 lbs. You want rock hard abs. You want to stop binge eating or dieting or talking crap about yourself.

No matter what you want, in order to get it, you’re going to have to give up something.

There’s always a tradeoff.

Unless someone literally drops 4 kids off on your doorstep or hands you the master’s degree. And even then, I’d argue that getting those things would change your life in a way that something would be pushed to the wayside. If you suddenly had 4 kids overnight, you’d have less free time and certainly less money. Having the Master’s Degree in hand might get you the job you’re after but how long will you be able to keep that job if you didn’t actually earn the degree? Your lack of skills in that area will show eventually.

If you want something, you have to work for it. And if you’re like most people, your current life doesn’t have much room for making that goal happen. We’re all busy, full of excuses and tired. It’s easy to say, I can’t do X because I don’t have Y. But some people do make it happen – even though they’re busy and tired and make excuses of their own sometimes.

If you want rock hard abs or to lose 30 lbs, you’re going to have to make the time to exercise and eat properly. The time won’t just appear. You’ll have to swap out something else you are doing (TV watching, Facebook browsing, social time, laundry etc) in order to fit in the stuff that will help you get there. Is it worth it?

If you want to prestigious job, you might have to work extra hours, attend events that bore you to tears, take extra classes and kiss ass. You might get the job but the trade off is time with your friends, family and time for yourself. Is it worth it?

If you want that Pinterest perfect wedding, you may need to hire a wedding planner if you’re not crafty – which means you may have to take on an extra job to pay for it. If you are crafty, you’re going to have to find the time and energy to plan, shop and prepare all your fancy shit. The trade off will be time and money. You may not have enough of either as it is. Is it worth it?

If you want to stop dieting, binge eating or beating yourself up emotionally, you’re going to have to stop indulging in old behaviors. You’ll have to actively work towards changing. It takes practice and awareness and time and trial and error. To get there, you’re going to have to give up eating for comfort, stuffing down your feelings and believing that you are broken. The trade off is giving up all the things that keep you where you are. Is it worth it?

I know right now you’re saying “Of course it is!”. Of course, what you want is worth it. I’m not questioning that validity of your desire. I am questioning whether you know that you’ll likely have to give up something to get to where you want to go. In most cases we can’t have both. We can’t stay where we are and also go somewhere different. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t lose weight and binge eat. You can’t outrun a shitty diet. It’s always a tradeoff and yes it is usually worth it – but you have to decide if you can commit to the sacrifices that your goal will require. And be consistent about it.

You’ll never have the body you want if you fueling it primarily with foods that don’t nourish or satisfy. Are you willing to trade it in for good nutrition?

You’ll never have the relationship with your body that you’d like to have if you keep thinking about yourself in negative and hurtful way. Are you willing trade it in for kindness?

Think about what you really want and then list all the things you’ll have to do to make that a reality.

What do you want in your heart of hearts?

What are you willing to give up to have it?

What are you not willing to give up?

Where can you make room in your life for this goal?

Now, I’d like to know, what are you working on? Is there a goal you’ve been working on but not making progress on? Could it be that there is a trade off that you haven’t allowed for? Share in the comments or if you want to look into where you’re getting stuck, contact me soon to do a Discovery Session.

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Get your copy!

You Are Going to Make Mistakes (Lots of Them)!

photo credit: Keepers II via photopin (license)

Just a treat or a spiral back down into disordered eating?                       photo credit: Keepers II via photopin (license)

I’ve noticed that many women who are trying to heal their relationship with food think that at some point in their journey, they’ll be completely healed and never have a bad day of eating or restricting ever again. I’ve had days where I got caught up in that idea too. They either have an idea of how other “normal” eaters must live or they’ve have had such a long streak of good days that in this moment they can’t see how they could ever have an issue again.

They believe that they’ll never have another binge, that they’ll never be tempted to calorie count again, that they won’t see a fad diet or new product and be tempted to just try it once, that their weight won’t fluctuate at all, that they’ll never have another bad thought or thing to say about their body, that they’ll never feel bad about what they ate or didn’t eat, or that they’ll never overeat again.

None of that is true.

It’s not all glitter and rainbows when you figure out how to have a better relationship with food and your body. It’s not 100% smooth sailing.

Occasionally, you’re going to make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll have a whole month of daily mistakes! To be honest, I actually hate to even call it mistakes because these types of mistakes are normal for healing eaters! You’ll resort to old habits and old ways of thinking. You’ll feel like you’re sliding backwards rather than moving forward at all. You’ll think for a minute, that maybe you should give it up and just let yourself get really heavy again. You’ll want to rationalize the crappy food you keep putting in your mouth (I deserve this. I want it. I’ve been so good for so long. I really just buy it for the kids. etc) so that you can eat more of it.

Don’t worry, I know your game because I’ve participated in it myself. I’ve bought cookies “because John likes them” and then proceeded to eat 500 calories of them myself before he even saw them. I’ve eaten an entire 3 serving candybar in my car after a yoga class. I’ve rationalized skipping my workouts for a week or more because it was good to rest sometimes (and that rationalization also comes with extra eating too).

I know it’s kind of terrifying to learn that healing can look a bit like screwing up again but I promise you, for most, it’s part of the process.

So how do you determine if you are making progress (healing) or you are stuck in the same hell hole you were in in the past?

It’s how you respond when you get tripped up. It’s how long you let these slip ups go on before you get yourself back on track or ask someone else to help you. It’s whether you let a bad thought about your body pass on through or you decide to hold it hostage and indulge it and make it mean something. If you identify with everything I’ve written above, check out the questions I’ve written below and answer them for yourself to help determine whether your slip ups are a normal part of healing or if you may need extra support to progress.

Timing & Practice
-Do you fall off track for a day or two?
-Or do you fall off and can’t get back on track for a long time?
-Do you allow yourself to have a meal once in awhile where anything goes?
-Can you eat normally and thoughtfully after that meal?
-Do you practice emotionally healthy eating habits when you are eating well? (mindful eating, only eating when hungry etc)

It’s not a big deal to stop listening to your hunger cues for a meal or a couple of days and then get back on it. Problems arise when we stop listening to those cues long enough that the cues become foreign again or when we know we have absolutely no intention of getting back on it. Overeating one night isn’t going to set you back at all but overeating every night for a month or more might.

If you struggle to stop once you do fall off the wagon, you may need more support from an outside source (a coach might help) or may need more practice in putting mindful eating practices in place. When we practice emotionally healthy eating habits and do them over and over again, they become our norm, they become second nature. Think of muscle memory – when you do a sport over and over, even if you take a break from it, your body remembers the activity when you return to it (even if it’s been a long time) and you won’t have to work as hard as someone who is brand new to the sport. We get good at whatever we practice, so if you practice eating in a thoughtful way vs. eating in a disordered way, the thoughtful way will get stronger and when you fall off track, it will be brief, as you’ll have the muscle memory to right you again. Making an effort to practice your healthier eating skills is a sign you are healing. Choosing to not practice them because it’s hard is a sign we’re not making progress.

Intentions
-When you go grocery shopping, are you buying items that you know you struggle with, under the guise that you have to because someone in your home likes them?
-Do you eat sparingly in public but plan to go home and eat more when you’re alone?
-Do the majority of your intentions around eating have to do with fueling your body or fueling an emotion that you do or don’t want to feel?

If you know full well that you are planning to eat the food, don’t pretend (even in your head) otherwise. Owning that you are planning to eat something that you know is troublesome for you is less problematic than pretending your intentions have nothing to do with your desire to eat. Lying to ourselves is a sign we’re moving backwards in our progress. Being able to call yourself on it so that you can step out of it, is a sign of healing. Create a habit of calling yourself out on your bullshit – if you can’t hide from yourself, there will be less desire to have these secret food habits.

Thoughts
-When you do slip up, what do you think about it?
-What do you think about yourself?
-If you think negatively about yourself, how long do those thoughts last?
-Do you hold onto them and allow them to become more than just a thought?
-Or do you allow them to happen and move on with your day?

It’s entirely normal for someone healing from a food issue to have a bad thought appear about their body or themselves once in awhile (and “once in awhile” is something you define). In some cases, daily thoughts aren’t a big deal. It’s really how we react to it that is the important thing. Negative thoughts that we intentionally play over and over in our heads become issues – issues that we turn to food to deal with so it’s best to not indulge them. You’re going to have negative thoughts about your belly, your weight, your thighs, your hair etc, every so often, so just let them pass through, like a train going on to the next station. There isn’t a “stop” at this station so don’t drive there to pick anyone up. Hanging around the station, looking for passengers to pick up is a sign we are stepping back in our progress. Letting the train and it’s passengers (thoughts) pass by to where it needs to go is a sign we’re healing.

Don’t be wigged out by the idea that you are going to screw up along the way! If you are legitimately practicing everything you’ve learned about managing emotional eating and not indulging in lying to yourself or replaying those negative thoughts, it does get easier and the mistakes you’ll make will be less of a big deal over time. You’ll recover from them faster and have more confidence that you can do this. You won’t have to think so much about eating intuitively, mindfully or thoughtfully – it will just be how you operate. And if you’re not practicing the tools you’ve learned (or don’t even know what those tools might be), there is help for you too – but you need to ask for it and you need to be willing to work! If you are – I have total faith that you’ll heal your relationship with food.

If you are struggling and want support – please contact me to set up a mini session.

How To Recover From a Binge

My old binge food of choice. photo credit: Sugarland aka Supermarket (2 of 10) via photopin (license)

My old binge food of choice. photo credit: Sugarland aka Supermarket (2 of 10) via photopin (license)

Last week, one night on my way home from running some errands (which included the grocery store), I decided to have a piece of milk & caramel chocolate from a bar I had bought (just a piece!). That one piece, turned into me eating the entire bar on my drive home.

Ug.

I felting sick from being “over-sugared” and so disappointed in myself for choosing to indulge in emotional eating. I felt myself slipping into the mental shit spiral that comes with binges (do you know what that feels like?? It’s the WORST).

But I stopped my pouty pity party because I thought “hey, wait a minute, I don’t want to do this. What would I tell a client right now?”. I coached myself through it and instead of one eating episode sending me into a tailspin for days, it was over, which is the goal.

Here’s what to do to recover from a binge quickly:

  1. Figure out what the feck you were feeling when the binge happened.For me, I know I wasn’t hungry but I was tired and kind of in a funky mood. Buying the bar itself wasn’t a big deal – we usually keep some junk chocolate in the house – because we’re human! But most of the time I try not to eat in the car, unless it’s absolutely necessary (like eating a snack immediately after a long workout), and that I was choosing to do this was unusual, at least it’s become unusual for me in the last 2 years.Prior to that, when I was in some of the worst binges I’ve ever had (I’m talking about you 2012!), I went through a period of time where I would drive to a store on my way home from work, buy a bag of doritos or a box of white cheddar cheez-its (jesus christ those things are delicious) – and open it as soon as I got my seatbelt on in the car. Then I’d drive home (another 35 minutes) inhaling whatever junk food I bought – barely tasting it and feeling awful about it the whole time – but feeling unable (and unwilling!) to stop.But why was I doing it today? What was going on for me in the last 24 hours? Nothing crazy. I had a couple of really good client calls that day – I was feeling really proud of all my ladies and all they were doing for themselves. Ok, so what was I doing right before I did errands? I was listening to a business building podcast – on a subject that I’m excited about learning about but feel a little overwhelmed on. Ah!! Bingo – So I was feeling overwhelmed, and probably like I wasn’t enough / didn’t know enough. Instead of feeling that and remembering that those feelings would go away in their own time, I reached for something that was my comfort for a long time – food!When trying to figure out why you binged (especially when your binges have been a thing of the past), it’s helpful to keep digging if you’re not coming up with an answer. Telling yourself “I don’t know” why you did it, is a subconscious way of avoiding the issue. You know why you’re doing this – keep asking questions and looking at your thoughts and interactions that led up to the event. Pretend you are a detective and leave no stone unturned!
  2. Recognize that it happened.
    Acknowledge to yourself -I ate that bag of chips. I ate that whole chocolate bar. Whatever it is. If you keep a food journal/diary, it’s important to log it down. We love to hide our binges from the people in our lives but also from ourselves and if we avoid it, it’s easy to let them happen again and again.
  3. Ask yourself: “How did eating this make me feel?”
    In my case, it made me feel really shitty. It made me feel like a bad person. It made me feel like all my hard work – emotional and physical (eating to satisfaction, stopping when I’ve had enough, exercising etc) was for nothing. I don’t like feeling that way.
  4. Next ask yourself: “How would I rather feel?
    I’d rather feel strong, capable and in control of my feelings and what I put in my mouth. I’d rather not feel ashamed of what I eat.  I’d rather have a relationship with food that is easy and not wrapped up in so much emotional garbage.
  5. Write all that shit down.
    Writing stuff down on paper preferably (typing is not the same but preferable to not writing at all!) helps us release feelings and cement the thoughts and feelings that we want to have in a way so that they stay in the front of our minds. Things become more real when we write them down! There’s no avoiding your feelings if you’re writing and acknowledging those facts down.I came here and wrote up this blog post after my binge and that helped immensely! Confronting this bad boy head on, meant I didn’t end up binging all night, it meant I didn’t skip my workouts for the next few days and it meant enjoying the weekend with my handsome husband without being moody and bloated (because that is the type of shit that happens when we let rotten feelings about a binge hang around and fester).
  6. Now that you know how you’d rather feel, know that you can choose to feel that way instead of the terrible way binging made you feel.
    What??? I know that’s a tough one to wrap our heads around but I’m serious. If I want to feel strong and in control of my food choices I can choose to feel that way from now on rather than choosing to feel like a bad person because of one single event. Eating the candy bar was an action I took and the only reason I felt bad about myself after was because I choose to make the act of eating it mean something about myself (I’m bad). But I can just as easily decide that I’m human and it was just one food choice and I can move on and make better choices going forward. You can CHOOSE to not feel like crap about it (and guess what?? That will affect your future food choices too!!) and that is really good news!
  7. Let it go & know that one binge does not mean all your progress is erased. I know it’s hard. I know there is a part of you that thinks if you don’t beat yourself up over it, then you’ll just do it again and never learn from your mistakes, right? It happened. Let it go. There’s no benefit to us to obsessing over what we did in the past – because we can’t go back and change it!Eating a whole chocolate bar in the car – (while a slightly lesser big deal than a whole box of cheez-its) felt so terrible, not because it was more calories than I want to eat in chocolate, but because it reminded me of how out of control, miserable and borderline apathetic I was a few years ago – and despite the healing I’ve done, there is a small part of me (and almost every one who is recovering from eating issues) who thinks that if an old behavior resurfaces at all, it means I’m back to square one. And that thought is terrifying.It’s also completely untrue. One binge does not undo all the hard work you’ve done – it’s how you move forward that counts. It’s your willingness to confront your actions (instead of tucking them away and ignoring them) and feel those feelings that made you want to binge in the first place that is the hallmark of your hard work!

Moving forward, the next time the potential for a binge appears and you start to fall into old habits that make you feel uncomfortable, you can come back here and revisit these steps. Just knowing that 1 binge doesn’t have to equal weeks or months of destructive behavior. With practice, new positive habits begin to replace old habits and we become less likely to resort to our old ways.

Notice I said “less likely”. Here’s the thing – I have a toolbox full of effective, tried and true tools to stop emotional eating and all are effective in different ways, but sometimes we resort to whatever our brains know best – and my brain still remembers bingeing as the most basic way for me to cope. I’ve retrained it pretty well the last few years – but it can sneak back up on us, especially under stress. I coach women on their own eating struggles and yes, mine sometimes creep up here and there (I’m human and imperfect) but they’re never as bad as they were in the past because I remember to do a mental and written “download” of the experience immediately afterwards.  It’s all about how you handle the “after”.

If you want to recover from a binge – you have to face it, instead of running away. Try reframing it into a learning experience about yourself and it will help remove the shame that we put on it! What helps you recover after a binge? Share with me in the comments!

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How to Get Back on Track after a Weekend of Overeating

Overeating doesn't have to be a major disaster.

Overeating doesn’t have to be a major disaster.

I hope you had a nice Holiday!  I love the holidays – fun times with friends and family, lots of good food to eat!  But it can also be a highway to days of overindulgence! Even if I’ve done a great job of eating high quality meals, I find that just the sheer quantity of treats laying around can make it difficult for me to not go overboard while waiting for guests, cleaning up etc. Snack, snack, snack! What’s one more, right? But a day or two of overeating doesn’t need to turn into weeks of crappy eating.

One of the things I hear most often from my clients is that they struggle with stopping once they’ve started on a poor eating cycle (bingeing, emotional eating etc). If you’re eating sugar, you’ll crave more sugar and on and on it goes. Today I’m sharing with you some of the things I recommend to my clients when they are trying to get out of the cycle. Those who follow these recommendations closely, do very well!

Here’s how you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get back on track (or at least out of the dark holes of emotional eating, binge-eating, brain fog, self loathing and depression):

1. Get rid of the most troublesome foods. That’s right. If your Aunt Mary’s frosted sugar cookies are impossible for you to resist (and just one or two isn’t enough), freeze them, give them away or throw them out. Maybe do a combination of all three. This is especially important if you are the type who will keep going back for more until they are gone. I know you’re panicking a little at the idea of throwing them out – you’re thinking, but “Aunt Mary spent time and effort making these, it’s really crappy to throw them out!” or you’re thinking “It’s a waste of money to throw out food!”. Aunt Mary doesn’t need to know the remainder got thrown out.  And it doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate them. As far as it being a waste of money, I know that guilty feeling all too well. Food is crazy expensive today (I can’t even share how much I spend at the grocery store some weeks, it’s obscene) and yes there are people starving all over the world – we are fortunate to be able to afford a luxury like cookies. But the cost to your physical and emotional health if you finish a whole batch of cookies is greater than what is wasted by tossing them. Sugar and refined flour are virtually devoid of nutrients other than calories – so it’s highly unlikely that eating them will benefit you in any way. If it seems too much to throw them all out, wrap one or two individually and store them in the freezer for a special treat on another day.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sweets occasionally but plowing through a couple dozen over a few days gives us a major emotional hangover, spike blood sugar which will make us store fat and upset the balance of our gut flora (which can cause digestive and skin problems and increase the chance that we’ll get sick). Remember: You’re not a bad person for throwing out food that will harm your health.

2. Start the day with a big glass of warm water with lemon and apple cider vinegar. Mix 1 to 3 tsp of Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (I like Braggs Organic) and 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from a lemon, not from a bottle) into a 16 – 20 oz glass of warm water and drink it all before eating or drinking anything else. Go easy on the apple cider vinegar if you’re not used to drinking it – the taste can be pretty off putting at first! If you just can’t deal with the taste, add 1 tsp of pure maple syrup or raw honey and stir. Drink this every day if you can.  While we sleep, our digestive system slows down and drinking this tonic first thing helps to wake everything up.  The lemon juice is good for stimulating bile production in the liver, the apple cider vinegar supports healthy blood sugar and slows gastric emptying, water of course is hydrating and the warm temperature of the water can help stimulate peristalsis.  All of these things are good for preventing constipation which happens sometimes when we eat weird stuff or too much! Another thing that is great about this drink is that the sharp flavor, while a little jarring at first, is palate cleansing and can help kill your cravings for sweet or rich food.  A Tip:  If you decide to drink this daily, consider using a straw to protect the enamel on your teeth from the acid in the lemon.

3. Have a plan of attack when it comes to food.  So we all know how it goes, when we’re super hungry we’ll eat just about anything, even if we resolved at breakfast was to eat nothing but plants for the rest of the day! Walk into the kitchen starving after a long day and if there’s any Easter /Halloween candy, Pumpkin Pie etc left you know you’ll be eating that first (and probably also second and third). Instead, plan out specifically what you’ll eat ahead of time and make it as easily accessible as possible. Pick up some frozen vegetables or pre-washed salad greens or diced vegetables. Grab a can of tuna or beans or even a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (fast protein during high temptation, I wouldn’t recommend those chickens for your regular meal rotation). Grab an avocado, microwave a sweet potato or cook some quinoa (takes 12-15 minutes tops!) and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and a vinegar of your choice. If you know what you’re going to eat and you have to do minimal work to prepare it, you will be less tempted by the junk when meal time rolls around. Same goes for avoiding temptation at work, social events etc. It’s all about preparation and planning! There’s nothing wrong with deciding to indulge sometimes and not follow a plan but when you’re trying to get off the smack that holidays are fraught with having a firm idea of what you want to eat is the difference between getting back on track or gaining 15 pounds and wondering how it happened. Remember:  Have a plan to keep temptation in check.

4. Get some movement. I know you don’t feel like it but I urge you to get some form of movement, exercise or activity as soon as possible after overindulgence. It is well documented that exercise releases endorphins that result in a mood boost (so important for our morale after eating poorly) and getting blood circulating will give you more energy and move things along in your digestive tract. I don’t even care about the fact that it burns calories – that’s not nearly as important as getting ourselves feeling better after we over do it (so that we don’t do it again out of feeling like crap).

In addition to chocolate and potato chips, I also ate cake and rolls on Sunday both made with wheat flour, something that I very rarely do because it is both a food I’m physically and emotionally sensitive to. Because of that, on Monday I felt puffy, achy, foggy brained and irritable. The last thing I wanted to do was exercise, but I knew if I didn’t, it would mean I was less likely to get back on track quickly.  2 days of overeating would surely turn into a week of it. I’ve worked too hard on my emotional eating to let old habits sneak back in.  So, despite majorly not feeling like it, I rolled out my yoga mat and did some exercises. I started slow and probably didn’t go as hard as I normally would but that’s not the point – the point is I did something good for my body when I really didn’t want to and that will pay off in a multitude of ways. Remember:  You don’t have to go hard or long, it’s not about the calorie burn today – it’s about being gentle, supportive and nourishing yourself. Roll on your foam roller, do a few yoga asanas, go for a short walk. Just do something!

5. Avoid extreme measures. I understand the feeling of wanting to fix something right away but doing extreme stuff (like drinking only juice for 12 days, eating only 500 calories a day and taking hormone drops for 3 weeks out of every month etc)  isn’t the healthiest thing you can do for yourself, both emotionally and physically. Extremes usually bring on more extremes and if you ever want to be able to just relax around food, it’s really important to learn to practice responding in moderation.

Think about the body like a balance scale. One one side we have over indulgence or bingeing, on the other we have dieting, restriction or extremes like over-exercising.  If you go to either extreme, the body is going to try to bring you into equilibrium (or balance) because the body works best when it’s getting a certain amount of nutrition. Too much and we’re putting a lot of stress on every system in the body to process the food properly, too little and the body may not have enough energy to do all the things that keep our body running properly. The more you fall onto one side of the scale, the harder the body will need to work to get back to balance. That’s why extreme diets almost always bring on a bout of overeating. That feeling of deprivation and urgency to have a “cheat meal” is ultimately the body saying “hey, I need more energy than this!” just for it to do its job.

When I was going through the worst of my eating issues – the ones full of binge-ing and dieting yo yos, every binge period would result in a point where I’d go “starting tomorrow, I’m only going to eat 800 calories a day until I’ve undone all the damage I did this time!” but my attempts to restrict so severely would be short lived and actually resulted in more binge-ing, weight gain and restriction cycles. It was exhausting and frustrating and far too much of my energy was spent thinking about what I could or couldn’t eat at the moment. If you respond to overindulgence (which is an extreme in itself) with another type of extreme you are setting up yourself for a continuous cycle of ups and downs.  This is stressful on the body and stressful to your emotional well being.  Remember: Responding in moderation to help keep your body and mind balanced.

Image courtesy of Kittisak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Kittisak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. It’s not that big a deal. Look, right now your pants may feel tight and you might feel as though you’ve gone up a size overnight. Whether you took in 1000 too many calories this weekend or 10,000 too many calories, in the scheme of things, try to remember it really isn’t a huge deal.  So what! So your weight may temporarily go up for a few days or weeks – it does not make you less loveable or valuable.  Your weight/size does not equal your worth. And honestly, much of that weight gain is temporary – water retention from salty foods and the actual physical presence of food before you poop it out! Stay away from the scale for a bit and wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel cute while you recover.

Also, if you respond to the overindulgence with a “oh well” attitude, instead of “oh shit” you will be more likely to treat yourself well with proper nutrition and care. Beating yourself up or berating yourself is the surest way to make sure you continue doing the behaviour that made you feel so bad to begin with. Respond to overeating with kindness and caring for your body as you would for someone you love who wasn’t feeling well and you will mitigate your physical and emotional symptoms (bloat, sluggishness, depression) and reinforce better actions the next time you are confronted with a similar situation.  You’ll be able to remember that an extra cookie didn’t lead to a 3 week meltdown and be able to enjoy it for what it is (just a freaking cookie). There is no diet in the world that one cookie will derail all your goals. It is with this more relaxed attitude, kindness and desire to treat ourselves with love through good nutrition that we begin to heal some of the emotional wounds that can go along with overindulgence. Remember:  A 2 – 3 lb weight gain from overindulgence and often temporary. Reinforce that it’s not a big deal by taking care of yourself in a loving way and avoid the scale for good measure.

Have you ever tried any of these? What helps you stop a few days of overeating from continuing? Please share in the comments!

How to Put the Brakes on an Emotional Eating Spiral

Do social events that happen around food stress you out?

Do social events that happen around food stress you out?

Today I’d like to talk about something that I think doesn’t get talked about enough:  emotional eating.  I don’t know if it doesn’t get talked about much because people are unaware of how common it is or if it’s because there’s just so much shame around our eating habits on the whole. Maybe you are someone who has never turned to food for an emotional reason, if that’s the case, good for you! But there’s a whole lot of people who struggle with it regularly.

I think a huge part of the obesity epidemic our nation is facing is caused in part by how poorly we deal with our emotions. Instead of turning to a friend to talk to or going for a walk, we stuff those uncomfortable feelings down with food (ice cream? chips? what’s your poison?).  But like a suitcase that’s been overstuffed on each successive trip, eventually the seams are going to give and your dirty laundry is going to be all over the conveyor belt.  Good luck getting your belongings back in a suitcase that has fallen apart.  In other words, you can only ignore feelings for so long before they will demand that they be dealt with.  Shit doesn’t fix itself as much as we hope and pray it will.  It’s much wiser to deal with things before they get out of control.

If this is you, let me start off by telling you that you are not alone.  Look around at the women in your life – I guarantee you that at least one of the women you love also struggles with their relationship with food.  It might be someone who is overweight or it might be someone who is not. It might be someone you don’t even suspect. For years, I convinced myself (and others) that I was overweight because “of my stocky Irish genes” or because “I just eat too much healthy food”.  I don’t doubt that family history has something to do with my size but pretty early on I learned to reach for food when something didn’t feel right to the point where I remember laying in bed as a kid and saying my nightly prayers and praying to the virgin Mary (I figured as a woman she’d understand my plight more than God or Jesus) to help me lose weight. I specifically remember praying that for every calorie I ate, I would lose two.  So grateful she didn’t answer that prayer, I didn’t think that one through mathematically!  But how sad that a little kid, who, looking back wasn’t even that overweight (yet) already knew about calories and that being heavy was a bad thing.

Food was always the fastest way for me to feel joy.

Food was always the fastest way for me to feel joy. Strangely enough, I look back at these pictures of me as a kid and don’t even see myself as overweight or fat.

Praying for weight loss was just the start of it. Bad day at school? Hand in the cookie jar, repeatedly. Lonely night at home? Let’s eat a whole sleeve of crackers and a block of cheddar cheese. I developed a self-deprecating sense of humor where I knocked myself for my size before anyone else could.  I had to make sure everyone around me knew that I knew I was fat, lest they think I was in the dark about it. It hurt less to make fun of myself than it would for others to make fun of me. My issues with food and uncomfortableness with my size got so bad at times that I remember joking about how I wished I was bulimic when I was in college.  Sure, I had the bingeing thing down pat, I just didn’t purge, at least not successfully.  I know there were a few occasions when I tried. Thankfully I failed and it didn’t continue.  No matter what phase my eating issues were in (and there have been many many over the years), two things were consistent: I loved to give the idea that I didn’t eat that much, by ordering a salad when going out to eat with other people or claiming that I ate already so that other people didn’t see how much I really ate.  And the other thing was that I constantly was distraught about my size and my confidence was shot. I may have acted confident on the outside (I was often the life of the party!) but inside I was screaming.  I hated myself for being fat.  I felt like that was all I was and that was all anyone could see of me and so to deal with the shame I felt around it, for many years I just ate more.  At the time, that seemed the only option.

I got tired of falling back into the same self-destructive patterns every time life wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to so I’ve worked really hard at incorporating the strategies below into my life. I’m in a much better place these days (the stories above are decades old) and I’ve tried every possible route for having a healthy relationship with food.  I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can enjoy food without it taking over my life. Sure, occasionally I still struggle with periods of using food to deal with an emotion (because I’m human and have faults) but it’s infrequent and when it does happen, it’s on a minor scale.  I’ll take a minor trip up over what I was doing before, any day!

Below are some seriously powerful tips for halting an emotional eating spiral.  Many of these won’t be a surprise – I’m sure you’ve heard some of them before but these are the things that have helped me break my decades old habits that were impacting my health, my mood and my life and they’ve become invaluable to me. I hope a few of them can help you do the same.

How to Put the Brakes on Emotional Eating:

1. Figure out what your trigger foods are and stop eating them (at least for a little while).  Don’t buy them for yourself and don’t buy them for someone else in your household.

This is not a popular thing to suggest. One one hand, emotional eaters and chronic dieters need less rules about eating – not more – but if you really lose all control when you eat certain foods . . .and can’t enjoy the food without feeling both physically and emotionally awful, why do we want to tell people they can keep it in their lives? I recommend at least taking trigger foods out of your diet for a little while (you may be able to return to them in some form down the road!). Sometimes we are surprised by how much we enjoy not eating these foods once we’re not clouded by them anymore.

I know this is probably the hardest thing to do (and that is why I’m starting with it). If you are willing to walk away from your triggers, you will be well supported by the other tips below. If you’re not, well, you might not be ready to change your ways.  If you have fears around not eating your trigger foods, how do you think they are serving you?  What are you getting from that particular food that you can’t get elsewhere?

We think that we can keep the food in the house but just not eat it.  It doesn’t work that way for most of us.  If it’s truly a trigger food for you, you will eventually eat it and start the cycle over again.  If your trigger is soda or ice cream and you feel like you can’t not have it in the house because it’s not fair to your kids – that’s total BS.  Your kids don’t need ice cream and they don’t need soda. There are plenty of other foods to enjoy that don’t need to set you up for self-sabotage.  I don’t care what the food is – there is another option.  If it’s milk and you’re worried about calcium? Load up on beans and greens.  You’ll be fine.  They’ll be fine.

My triggers are primarily cheese and wheat! Whenever I binged in the past, it was usually on something like cheese and crackers, doritos, or white cheddar cheez-its.  But over time, I also realized that anytime I had a lot of bread, cheese or pasta, I usually found myself over eating the next day (or sometimes for several days) so now I’m about 90% dairy free and completely wheat free except for the odd occasion.  The times I give in and have a piece of bread or some cheese? I notice it in my mood and my cravings the next few days and have to work really hard to keep myself from sabotaging all the hard work I’ve done.  It’s a lot less work for me to just not eat them in the first place and I know it’s hard to believe but I sincerely don’t miss them and I don’t feel deprived.  At all! I’ll tell you how and why in another post but it has a lot to do with #4 on this list. (I should also mention that I’ve since noticed certain health issues have been reduced since removing these foods from my life – my asthma, rosacea and constipation have been lessened!)

Some people can take a break from their triggering foods and return to them at a later date -these foods will have less of a hold on them over time. Others can’t and will need to not eat them going forward. Only you know if that is right for you!

2. Take a few deep breaths before eating to center yourself.  Take a minute to relax and slow down your mind and body before eating.

Be present when you eat. I know we’re all so busy and life is rushed today but if we eat at the same pace that we live our lives, we don’t get to “enjoy” our food and food is meant to be enjoyed! If you take a moment to check in with your body and your mind before you eat, you are more likely to enjoy the meal. And when you truly enjoy your food, you won’t feel deprived and that makes a massive difference in whether or not you’ll find yourself going overboard later.

3. Make eating the sole activity you do whenever you do it.  Do not read while eating.  Don’t watch TV.  Don’t go on your phone or laptop.  Don’t write your to do list. Don’t talk on the phone or drive. Focus on the meal in front of you.

Take it in with all of your senses. Does it look appetizing? How does it smell? Notice the textures in your mouth. Is the food crunchy or soft? Pretend you are studying it for an exam you will have later.  Notice the details.

Eating this way helps your brain receive signals that let it know when you’ve had enough to eat.  It also helps you produce adequate saliva which is an important part of digestion. If you are consumed by other activities while eating your body and brain don’t communicate as well leading your body to forget that it’s eaten and it will be begging for food all day (like my cat). I’m not kidding!

Have you ever been driving only to reach your destination and have no recollection of part of your drive because you were thinking deeply about something?  It’s very similar.  Your brain won’t have a memory of the meal if you distract it with other tasks.

This is also a tough rule to implement and follow.  You will have a lot of urges to just give in and go back to whatever old habits you had while eating.  I realize that sometimes we can’t help but eat on the go, but those times should be a last resort. You can make an effort the rest of the time.  You may find you have a lot of resistance towards changing these habits.  I totally get it! I used to zone out on my laptop while plowing my way through a box of white cheddar cheez-its.  Why?  Because I didn’t want to feel whatever I was feeling and being on the computer distracted me.  It also distracted me from tasting or noticing the food I was eating, which meant that despite feeling incredibly full and gross, my urges to eat would continue.  I never got full enjoyment of the food I was eating.  If you feel a lot of resistance to making meal time only about eating, then ask yourself why?  Why do you feel you need to do something else while eating?  Why is eating not enough?

4. Eat. Stop starving yourself.  Stop restricting.  Stop “dieting”.

I know it sounds counterintuitive if you are struggling with a bingeing or emotional eating issue to just allow yourself to eat but many people who find themselves bingeing out of control are restricting calories or strictly controlling how much they eat each day.  Our bodies like balance and they’re keeping track.  Geneen Roth has said “For every diet there is an equal or greater binge” and I’ve found that she’s completely right.  If you’re terrified of eating too much fat and spend your days eating fat free or low fat foods, when you do go over the rails, you can bet it will be on a substance that contains fat.  If you restrict the amount of calories you eat for a long time, the urge to eat everything in sight will eventually take over you and willpower will only take you so far.  You’ll end up eating far more than you would have if you just allowed yourself to eat food to begin with.

People who are naturally slender eat when they are hungry and they stop when they’ve had enough.  Some days they may eat a lot and other days not so much.  It all balances out. The fear of losing control and gaining weight goes away as you realize that your body is not out to betray you.  It’s on your side.  If you feed it appropriately and without judgement, it will reward you with energy, a stable mood and a waistband that doesn’t fluctuate massively.

All this being said, I think it’s important to focus on whole foods when trying to stop destructive eating patterns like this.  It would be irresponsible to just suggest that bingers eat more to reduce binges – there’s more to that. What you eat matters.  If you’re eating a lot of processed food, it’s time to try to reduce your dependence on them. Support your body by giving it high quality sources of fat, protein and carbohydrates so that you will feel satisfied, energized and sated.  Avoid foods that spike blood sugar (sugar, refined flour, most baked goods etc) and if you do eat them, pair with protein to reduce the effect.  I love pairing nourishing whole foods together, like sweet potatoes with coconut oil and hemp seeds, homemade chicken salad lettuce wraps or an avocado stuffed with black japonica rice, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds etc.

When you feed yourself fully, you feed your body and soul and you will feel and see the difference.

5. Figure out what you are feeling. What don’t you want to feel? What is too uncomfortable to acknowledge? What do you believe to be true about yourself?

Most emotional eating episodes are tied to the avoidance or suppression of a feeling or a form of punishment (due to a feeling). When you get the urge to go crazy on whatever food has your attention right now, ask yourself:  What am I feeling in this moment?  Are you sad, angry, frustrated, bored, lonely, ashamed?  Just ask, label it (I’m not a fan of labels generally but here it’s helpful) and sit with the feeling for 10 minutes, taking deep breaths. You don’t need to do anything with the feeling yet but just let it be.  After 10 minutes, is the urge to eat still there? It might be, but it also may be reduced.

This takes practice.  Often bingers say they don’t feel anything when they want to eat or are eating but that is usually because they’ve used the activity to teach themselves to feel numb. You can’t push feelings away for months or years and then expect they’ll make themselves known to you the first time you try to pay attention to them. Keep asking questions of yourself. It will take work, many conversations with yourself, maybe some journaling and talking with others. The more you acknowledge and encourage those feelings to be felt, the more you will be able to feel them and ultimately the less you’ll need to eat what you don’t want to feel.  Those feelings are coming from somewhere and they deserve to be felt, to be acknowledged.

Once you know what you are feeling and can let it join you for a bit, you take some of its power away because now you have an opportunity to deal with it. Is what you are feeling that is the issue? Or is it that you don’t know how to fix something, want to avoid something etc? Is there something you are avoiding (unhappiness in a job, a large project, a difficult conversation?) that is causing you stress? Is there a story you’ve been telling yourself about who you are that is holding you down? What can you do about it?  Can you call a friend who will listen to you? Put it all down on paper in a journal?  Go for a walk and think it over? Create a strategy to change the things that are stifling you from living the life you deserve? You know the answers already, you just need to ask the questions.

6. Forgive your slip ups, love yourself & let go of the need to be perfect. No one is perfect and you shouldn’t feel like you need to be either! 

Many women I talk to who have an issue with emotional eating, talk about how much worse they feel after a binge or emotional eating episode.  They beat themselves up.  They do and say hurtful things about themselves.  They believe they are bad people for not being able to control their eating. They feel disgusted with themselves.  They feel like everyone else around them must have it easier because they aren’t consumed with thinking about food.  They also talk about how feeling so badly about themselves makes it easier for a bad eating episode to happen.  If you are disgusted with yourself, eating a bunch of stuff that makes you feel even worse doesn’t seem like that big of a deal because the feelings (disgust, shame, anger) that come with it are familiar.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve convinced ourselves that eating and loving ourselves & our bodies is hard and has to be a constant struggle.  We think we need to be perfect or we’re a failure. It doesn’t have to be like that.  When you eat to nourish yourself instead of punish, reward or control, you will eat enough but not too much and feel satisfied.  When we set up these parameters for ourselves – only this many calories, only low-fat, eat less than those around us etc, we’re planning out a trip that takes us straight to emotional eating.

When these negative thoughts pop up, think “cancel that”.  Practice saying and thinking good things about yourself.  What did you do well today? What are you grateful for? Acknowledging the good things about yourself and about your day/life are far more important to your overall well-being than knocking yourself down.  No one ever got where they wanted to be by being brutal to themselves and even people who have succeeded at the greatest things in life had setbacks along the way.  We’re no different!

There’s a huge amount of growth in just letting yourself be human, accepting occasional overindulgence as just that and still feeling love for yourself despite choices you don’t feel great about.  You have to believe that you deserve to feel satisfied when you eat, you deserve to not feel hunger constantly and you deserve to enjoy food.

I have so much more to say on this issue (it’s one of my favorite to work with clients on) but I feel like there’s a lot of info here and I don’t want to overwhelm anyone dealing with this issue.  If you struggle with emotional eating I hope you find some of the tips here helpful!  Ultimately, know that you are not alone. What you are going through is not uncommon and it is possible to have a more relaxed relationship with food with a little work (and in some cases, professional counseling).  The first step in having a healthier relationship with food is by working on the relationship you have with yourself.