Take Control - How to Stop Eating your Feelings!
March 9, 2021 - Episode #57 - Take Control - How to Stop Eating your Feelings!
Are you a stress eater? Do you find yourself turning to food when emotions are running high? I think a vast majority of us would answer "ummmm yes" to this question! Especially now when stress and emotions are at an all time high. 75% of overeating is due to emotions. We are eating our feelings and it’s affecting our health but what do we do about it? That's what we are talking about today on Healthy Harmony.
Hey girls, can we just get real with each other? So often we struggle but we think that we are alone in those struggles. That other women have it all figured out and we are the only one who struggles! This is FALSE. No one has it all together! And as we come together and are open and honest, we find that we can relate! We share the same struggles. Want to be in an amazing community of women who are open and honest and trying to improve their health just like you? Click here https://bit.ly/FMwomenswellness
Emotional eating is one of those struggles. Especially now, as stress, fear and anxiety overwhelm! Listen in as I unpack the relationship with food, look at the emotional response and empower you with specific coping strategies.
After listening, I want you to simply reflect. Are you at a point of desperation? Do you feel your health spiraling out of control? Do you find yourself responding to stress with emotional eating? I have a solution that you need to consider. As a Health Coach, I work with women who struggle just like you do and I help them identify their obstacles and create a simple, realistic, customized action plan so they can live in FREEDOM!!
If this sounds appealing to you, book a one-hour virtual session and let me empower you to take control of your health my friend! https://www.inspirehealthyharmony.com/coachinghtml#/
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March 9, 2021 - Episode #57 - Take Control - How to Stop Eating your Feelings!
Are you a stress eater? Emotional eating has really gotten a control over you? You find yourself eating your feelings?
I think a vast majority of us would answer yes to this question, especially now when stress and emotions are at an all time high. 75% of overeating is due to emotions. 75%. We're eating our feelings and it's affecting our health. But what do we do about it? That's what we're talking about today on Healthy Harmony. Hey there. Welcome to the Healthy Harmony podcast. I'm Jennifer Pickett, your host, your health coach, your friend. If you're ready to tap into the healthiest version of you. So you can live life with confidence and intentional harmony. Then my friend you're in the right place. As a Dietitian turned Functional Medicine Health Coach. I'm here to walk beside you and show you how to take control of your complete health…body, mind, and soul.
The feeling that many of you listening to this are just at a point of desperation. You feel your health spiraling out of control. You don't have enough energy to meet the demands of your day. All the diets you have failed in the past. They're haunting me and you know, deep down another diet is not getting to the root of the issue. You have a problem with stress and you respond by emotional eating. You know, you need to do something but what?
I have a solution that you need to consider. As a Health Coach, I work with women who struggle just like you do. And I help them identify their obstacles and create a simple, realistic, customized action plan. So they can live in freedom. If this sounds appealing to you, book a one hour virtual session, and let me empower you to take control of your health, my friend, go to inspirehealthyharmony.com and click on the coaching tab.
You know, so often we struggle and we just feel lost and alone in those struggles, we have ourselves convinced. I'm the only one who struggles with this. And as we come together and as we're open and real and honest and vulnerable, we start to discover that a vast majority of us struggle with the same things. So that's why today's topic is so important because it applies to so many of us emotional eating has control over us and we need to do something. I mean, you heard the stat, 75% of overeating is due to emotions. So yes, you're not alone today. We're going to explore our relationship with food. Look at the emotional response and wrap up by talking about some specific coping strategies. Are you ready? Let's do this.
So the question is, are you any emotional eater? Listen and consider. As I read off these questions to you, do you eat to feel better, to calm, to soothe yourself when you're angry, when you're depressed or sad? When you're bored, when you're anxious, do you eat more? When you're feeling stressed, do you eat when you're not hungry or even when you're full, do you reward yourself with food, does this food make you feel safe? Do you almost like feel, do you almost feel like food is a friend to you? It's always there. Do you regularly eat until you've stuffed yourself? And finally, do you feel powerless or absolutely out of control around food? You know, so often I get asked what's the best diet and you know, my answers. If you've listened to me at all, you know my answers. And let me tell you another diet is not going to get to the root of the issue. And that's what we have to do. If we want to make a difference, we got to do something differently. This is about addressing the root and disrupting the cycle, that emotional eating cycle. So I want you to consider this cycle. You feel powerless or out of control around food. Something happens that is very upsetting to you.
You then turn to food for comfort, you overindulge. Then you feel guilty and ashamed and the cycle continues over and over and over again.
The emotions that what someone would call emotional hunger, that can't be filled with food. Eating can always feel good in that moment, but the feelings that kind of calls the emotional eating in the first place, they're still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of what you just consumed. You beat yourself up for messing up and not having more willpower. Well, friends, let me tell you it's time to break that cycle. So let's start by looking at our relationship with food.
I want to do a little exercise here. I want you to be mindful and I want you to think about that food, that food that you turn to for comfort. What is that food that suits you, that you crave when things are getting really stressful or when you're feeling very, very emotional.
I want you to close your eyes and think about that food. What is it? Is it something sweet? Is it something salty? Is it a meal? What is that food now? What memories does it bring up comforting memories and who is there in that memory? Is it maybe a loving grandmother who fixed chocolate chip cookies for you after you had fallen and skinned your knee? So for me, I think a fried chicken. In fact, Church's fried chicken, which is a Southern thing. If you could not tell I'm Southern, well, bless your heart. And so I think about this because it brings up wonderful memories for me. We would go see my grandmother and on our way to see my great grandmother, we would stop at Church's fried chicken. Even now just sitting here. I think I can think about how that chicken smelled as we were riding in the car and being there with both my grandmother and my great-grandmother like what wonderful memories. So it's so easy to see how we kind of set a pattern. Food is easy to turn to for comfort because it's easy. It's readily available, it's convenient. And you know what it is instantly gratifying when put like that. It's no wonder that we turn to food. And as we start to explore our relationship with food, you may realize that you have been controlled your entire life by food.
I say this often I have clients who have suffered through tremendous sexual abuse or physical abuse as a child. And it was food that brought them much needed comfort. Others grew up in a home where food was not even readily available. So it was just a natural survival type response to overeat. When food was available. These are survival responses as children, but as these clients, as these women became adults and were trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle, they realized that food completely controlled them. It dominated all of their thoughts and through very specific counseling that they went through with a licensed professional counselor and the personalized health coaching that I was able to provide. They recognize this and we were able to develop specific strategies to help them overcome and live in freedom. So as we really explore this, let's get to the heart of the matter.
We certainly see how easy it is to turn to food when we're feeling overwhelmed and very emotional. And we can't distance ourselves from our feelings and emotions. I mean, it's our feelings and emotions. It's part of who we are. It's important that we face those feelings, even name those feelings. And here's, what's important. Give ourselves permission to have those feelings. What we want to focus on though is not allowing the feelings to take control and dominate decisions in our life. I heard an expert speaking on emotional health and she stated that there are eight common feelings and reactions that we have to things not turning out like we want them to there's sadness and shame, helpless feeling embarrassed, anger, vulnerability, disappointment, frustration. Personally, I would add three to that list. I would add fear, anxiety, and most important stress. Especially as we look at what we've endured over the past year, I'm naming those and I'm calling those out because we're going to go over very specific strategies to help you overcome emotional eating. I want you to be an overcomer. I don't want anything to have control over your life and make you feel like you live in captivity. Like you're a prisoner in your own body.
So as we really impact this, as we talk about facing those feelings, I want you to recognize in that moment, what is that feeling? Identify it, Hey, I'm feeling very helpless right now because this happened to me. Give yourself permission to have that feeling. And here's where it's interesting because as women often, we feel ashamed for having certain feelings and then we go even further in our thinking. And we think, well, others have it so much worse. I should not feel this way. My goodness, that is such a spiral. And do you ever notice how that spirals? It happens when we start telling ourselves that we should feel a certain way and we have no right to feel that way, that never works does it. It's okay for you to have that feeling. We are emotional beings after all. It's how God designed us, but we don't want to remain stuck with that feeling.
Let me give you an illustration that I heard recently, it's the illustration of waves coming into a shore. So I want you to imagine a beach, a beautiful beach, and you see the sea before you, you see the waves and you can hear the waves. You can even feel the waves as they come into shore and you're watching them. And you notice that some, some waves, they roll very gently into shore. And once they hit the shore, they linger for a little bit. And then they go back. And other waves, my goodness, they're so strong and powerful, and they come crashing into shore. They linger for a little bit, but they always go back out. You see, our feelings, just like those waves can be the same way. Sometimes those feelings come crashing into us and we feel so overwhelmed in the moment and it lingers for a bit.
But I'm here to tell you that it will subside. It will go back. It will go back to sea. So it's important for us to recognize it. That's how our feelings are to face those feelings. Hey, and realize my feelings aren't wrong. Recognize that the feelings will subside and finally, to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is just that self-awareness listening to your body, identifying those thought patterns, identifying that shame spiral. Mindfulness can go a really long way because mindfulness can lead to being intentional. And that's what we're about to get into. Now, I want to give a quick word here. We're talking about some intense stuff today, emotional eating and a lot of these these struggles that we have, if you are one of these people and you're listening to this. And when I describe the feelings crashing into shore lingering for just a bit, and then subsiding, if you notice that you are at a complete loss of control and those feelings are so overwhelming and they're not subsiding, or if you feel like you need help and support, I want to encourage you to get the professional help that you need from a licensed professional counselor.
That's what they're trained to do. I think so often counseling gets a bad rap. It has this stigma, and that's so dumb because we all need help and support. We all go through very, very trying times in our life. And we just need that extra added support so we know how to cope. So if you need help in coping with some of these overwhelming feelings, like, you know, you're not doing good, I want to encourage you to reach out for help. It is very, very brave and courageous to admit, Hey, I need some help. I can't do this on my own. It takes some courage to do that. But my friend, I believe in you so want to encourage you. If you're, if your feelings and emotions are truly out of control and you know, you need some help and support, please reach out for help to a licensed, professional counselor.
That leads us to some very specific strategies to cope with emotional eating things that you can do right now today to get control over emotional eating.
Number one, recognize your triggers and your tendencies. What do you have a tendency to do? When are you turning to food? Is it when you're stressed out? Do you have a tendency to stuff your face instead of facing your feelings? Do you eat out of boredom? Are you lonely? And then you turn to food. Is it just a habit? Like it's just always been a habit to have a really big snack before you get a bad, it's just kind of a mindless habit. Visit a social habit. You're with friends and you're, there's just a social thing and you're enjoying food, but recognize your triggers and your tendencies. That's number one.
Number two, be mindful. Okay, wait, how am I feeling in this moment? Be self aware that practice of mindfulness is so crucial for us as women, because I think we're so set on listening to others and we need to learn how to listen to ourselves. What's your body telling you? How are you feeling in that moment? So be mindful, be self aware.
Number three, take a pause. Pause. Let's say you just got a very stressful email. Let's say it's the end of a busy workday. The kids are hungry. You've got dinner to fix. You just got the worst email from your boss. You're stressed and you're angry. And you're about to sooth with food. You are walking into the kitchen with every intention of partaking in a little bit of emotional eating. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to pause briefly, pause, take a deep breath. A simple pause is so powerful. Now I found this recently. It was a busy day. I had a lot of stuff. I was working on that, but luckily at that moment, the house was empty. And so I had gotten a few things done and I thought I'm hungry. I need a snack. And it was in that moment that I realized Madeline made sugar cookies last night and they're in the kitchen. And I thought, you know what? I'm going to warm up some sugar cookies and I'm going to have a cup of tea. And it's okay because I don't believe in the diet. And, and it's okay to indulge sometimes. And that's what I'm going to do. But as I walked into the kitchen and started making my tea and looking at those sugar cookies, I decided to pause. And I started thinking, wait a minute, how am I going to feel after I eat the cookies? And it was in that moment, I was like, wait, it's not worth it. It's sugar cookies. It's not chocolate chip cookies. There's one thing I don't even like sugar cookies that much. But also I realized because I've been practicing mindfulness with myself. And I realized if I eat the sugar cookies on an empty stomach, I'm going to, first of all, I'm going to have a blood sugar crash. I'm going to feel really, really tired. And then I'm also going to feel guilty and ashamed. So all of that came out of mindfulness. So I made a decision. I just had the tea. I didn't have the sugar cookies. Now here's a little thing I've messed up many, many times before, but this was my success story. So I'm relaying that to you. But it happened that because I took a pause, but also because I practice mindfulness, how am I going to feel after I eat the cookie? Is it worth it? And my friends sometimes it's totally worth it. Other times it's just not worth it. So I want you to take a pause. And by the way, I think this can be applied to so many areas of life to simply pause. Maybe before speaking to somebody or for the love commenting on somebody's post. Everybody is so angry and stressed right now. If we would all learn how to pause before we speak, before we comment, we're going to see how very powerful that can be.
Moving on to number four, be intentional. My clients have heard me say this over and over and over and over again. Mindfulness leads to be intentional. So number four is be intentional. Ask yourself, am I hungry? Am I thirsty? What feelings am I having right now because you're pausing, right? And then you're intentional what the feelings are having right now and realize those feelings will go and ask yourself, is there a better substitute, can I maybe switch snacks here to something that will make me feel better and not so guilty? Ask yourself, how am I going to feel after this food? Is it worth it? And finally ask yourself, what does my body mind and soul need the most in this moment? How can I support my body and my health in this moment?
Number five, slow down. If after you've worked through all of that, you still say, you know what? It's worth it. I'm going to enjoy that favorite food, that comfort food. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to slow down, savor it and enjoy it. Enjoy each and every bite chew slowly, enjoy the taste and the flavor. Savor that moment. Maybe savor the conversation. If you're having conversation with somebody, but slow down and enjoy, and then recognize when you're satisfied, because you've slowed down. So you're listening to your body and you're going to recognize, you know what? I'm satisfied. I'm full. I don't need any more. I enjoy that. And honestly, it didn't take as much as it has before. So recognize that, but it all gets back to slowing down and enjoying it instead of just shoving it in.
Now, what if you're saying too late, Jennifer, I have those five steps as five coping strategies, you just went over, forget it. Like I've blown it. I wasn't mindful or intentional. Now I feel so guilty and so ashamed. And I feel like I can not get out of this trap. How do I move forward? Well, remember, I've given you this analogy before, when we have a flat tire on our car, we don't slash the other three tires to match the flat tire. We fixed the flat. So what I'm encouraging you to do, if you've messed up, if you've absolutely blown it, move on sister. We all have! You can't hit rewind. You can't go back. All you can do is move forward. Don't that emotional eating moment turned into an emotional eating day, emotional eating week, emotional eating month. You get the picture.
So fix the flat, forgive yourself, show yourself some grace and move forward. My friend, as we wrap up, I want to encourage you to get out of that emotional eating and shame spiral. It feels like it's never ending. So practice mindfulness first continue to be mindful of your relationship with food, and then allow that mindfulness to help you be intentional. You know, I just wrapped up an amazing small group of a women that I led through a course on finding freedom from diets and emotional eating and agist. I loved working with these women and we just saw some big breakthroughs and I love how they are just moving forward. The group is called finding resilience, the food freedom framework. It was such a success that I will definitely be doing another small group very soon. So stay tuned for that. Okay. In the main time if this podcast has made you realize that you need help, you need support, that's available to you.
I think one of the things that my clients love the most is that there's no guilt or shame. When we meet, you know, women feel guilty and ashamed enough, they don't need me making them feel more guilty or ashamed. They need someone to come alongside them, empower them and encourage them, right where they are. They need to feel like someone is in their corner. Then we can really see progress because when you're feeling guilty and the shame you can't move forward like that. So my clients just love the fact that everything is customized exactly to their specific needs, their health and their life. Now, my coaching sessions for March are filling up quickly so time is of the essence, but if you want to grab one, go right now to inspirehealthyharmony.com and grab a one hour virtual session.
Well, y'all, that is it for today. I want you to join me next week for another hot topic for us girls… hormone balance. Oh yes. Ever felt like your hormones were way out of whack. Okay. Let's get to the root of the issue with our guest, Dr. Carol Villanueva. She is an Internal Medicine doctor and a Functional Medicine doctor. And one of her areas of expertise is hormone balance. This is one you do not want to miss. So until then, I hope you have a healthy and happy day.
Remember we're in this together.