How to Recover From a Binge

Let's forget about it. It doesn’t matter.

What we did. How much we ate. It’s not a big deal.

Can we pretend it never happened?

After a food binge, the aftermath of our struggle carries a heavy weight from shame and guilt. So heavy, that we just want to be free from it. Facing it is too much.

Flashes from last night’s extra Oreos, ice cream and chocolate are painful. We wonder why we can't have more self control. 

Why did we go back for more? We knew we weren’t hungry. Why couldn’t we stop ourselves? Did we think more food would take the discomfort away?

Now, our belly feels so bloated we are afraid to touch it. Feeling the roundness is confirmation that we did eat too much. Our body did absorb each bite. There’s evidence to prove it.

The hangover from a night of overeating can be absurdly difficult when we use guilt and shame to dictate how we feel and what we do next.  All we want to do is cover up our bloated belly in an oversized sweatshirt and try our best to have a “good” day. We try our best to pretend it never happened.

But it did.  Now we will pay for the mess we made. 

An extra long workout. More water. Smoothie for lunch. Salad for dinner.  We pray that a whole lot of sweat and a strict diet plan will be like magic and make everything okay. 

How we react to our binges keeps the binge cycle in place. 

Recovery is absolutely possible. But trying harder to doing more of the same isn't the path. You don't need to be stricter. You don't need more will power. You don't need more time at the gym. 

Stopping the binge cycle starts the moment the binge is over.  

Stop pretending. Pretending takes so much work and effort. Stop hiding and fighting with yourself. Instead of thrashing around your arms and legs, putting a ton of energy into fixing your “so called mistake”, let go of the shame you feel. There is no need to run or hide. 

To stop struggling, you need courage, compassion and curiosity.

  • Be willing to try a new approach.
  • Be willing to explore all parts of yourself with a loving heart.
  • Be willing to look at your actions, thoughts and beliefs with great interest. Be a dispassionate observer.

If you overate or binged last night, today is a brand new day. Allow yourself to be where you are. You're okay. Let your next choice be a new one, one that you haven't taken before. when you do, recovery is one step closer. 



 

Two Words to Say to Yourself to Put Yourself In Charge of Your Health and Stop Overeating

On the coffee table were dozens and dozens of empty candy wrappers. A shameful reminder of just how much she ate. Her belly felt so uncomfortable. She even tried eating more, to numb away how sick she felt. If only that worked. Instead, Mary felt worse. She curled up in bed, hating herself for how bad she felt and filled with worry about the consequences. Her mind was racing.

This is a catastrophe. What I did was wrong. I’m going to gain weight. I need to fix this.

Fueled with fear, Mary would respond to such a binge like a project. The very next day she promised herself, she would have a plan, goals, checklists and ways to hold herself accountable.

I’ll be better. I’ll be more in control. I won’t binge again. After all, I’m working on my new weight loss project.

This was serious work.  It needed a lot of her attention and energy. Because in her mind, Mary did something wrong and lost control, this was her way of getting it back.

Nothing else mattered.  

All because of 30 Hershey Kisses.

 

Those Kisses took on a story of their own. By eating them, she was going to gain weight, get really fat, look pathetic and feel disgusting. (Her sick, bloated belly confirmed this story.) Worse, the consumption of those 30 Kisses made her worthless and unlovable.

For Mary, a made up summation of many of my coaching clients,  binge eating and overeating become a call to action. Bugles sounding, war flags waving overhead, they ready themselves for a grisly battle. “It’s time to make a change,” they proclaim. “I can’t take this any longer.”

But instead of regaining a sense of control, instead of getting back on the wagon, they find themselves continually binging. Hopelessness and raw fatigue set in when they realize that they’ll never, ever, EVER win the war.  The rigid dieting and restrictions they worked so hard to enforce have only backfired.  

What if.

What if, after overeating or binging, you didn’t beat yourself up?

What if you didn’t believe the story that the sleeve of Oreos you ate made you pathetic and worthless?

What if you didn’t feel the need to jump on the next cleanse to punish yourself for your sins?

What if you said, instead, “So what?”

What if you welcomed in some lightness around the whole experience?

Oh, I know what you’re thinking.

If you’re not beating yourself up, then you must be giving yourself permission to overeat.

If you aren’t punishing yourself, then you must be okay with treating yourself this way.

If you aren’t more disciplined, then you will never lose the weight you want to lose and worse, you will even gain weight.

This is a big leap. Beating the crap out of yourself is all you may know.  But beating yourself up never creates positive action or results. Deep down, you know this to be true.

“So what” is a step toward forgiveness. “So what” is also a powerful step toward taking responsibility.

When you say, “So what,” you aren’t saying, “I don’t care.” In fact, when you say, “So what,” you care more than ever. Because you know that to move yourself forward, you need to let go of the meaning you have been making from your binge. “So what” is part of your recipe for positive momentum, and a way to pivot into something new.

Trust in love and compassion. Try it on and see if it fits. The only thing you have to lose is what is holding you back from loving yourself and your life.

Are Your Attempts to Lose Weight Failing? 5 Things You Can Do to Stop Sabotaging Your Efforts

Jen had a big meeting that afternoon with her largest client. She’d been prepping for days and wanted it to go well. For the past three weeks, Jen had also worked really hard on her diet. She’d avoided sugar, eaten more salads and finally got her ass to the gym after months of avoiding it. She secretly hoped that she could now squeeze into her favorite power skirt.

Standing in her closet, she held her breath as she slipped on the skirt. She pulled it up and wrestled with the zipper, knowing immediately that it was too tight. As she let out her breath, she also let out the hope that she’d held.  Not only did Jen feel frustrated, she felt defeated.

Why am I even bothering? All those workouts. All the sacrifice. For what? I’m the same exact weight. I’ll never lose weight.

Jen hung her favorite skirt back in her closet and put on her “go to” safety dress. As she made her way to the office, she tried to push all of these defeatist thoughts of her mind. But underneath the surface, Jen was taking this battle to heart.  Not only was she second guessing her ability to lose weight, her confidence was crushed. A familiar train of thought  passed through her mind.

I can’t lose weight and keep it off. I don’t deserve to have a skinny body.

Jen, a composite blend of my own and my coaching clients’ experience, is in a negative thought cycle. Most of us experience these without even realizing it, and they can do incalculable damage.

Let me spell out the cycle:

  • Jen was looking for evidence to support her beliefs that she would never be free of the weight, or keep it off.
  • When she tried on her favorite skirt and it didn’t fit the way she wanted it to, she got the confirmation she’d been looking for.
  • Even though her client meeting went well, the days and weeks that followed looked nothing like the weeks before. She stopped going to the salad bar and skipped the gym more often than she went.

Jen’s thoughts and beliefs created her actions, right from the get go.

What if Jen believed that she could lose weight? Or at least, didn’t believe that she couldn’t lose weight?

When she tried on her favorite skirt that morning, the conversation with herself would have been entirely different. She might have thought, Well, it fits better than it did a month ago. I just need to be patient. Or, My body feels better and lighter. Eventually, my body will catch up.

As human beings, we have a hard-wired psychological need to be right. When we’re right, well, we’re justified and validated,  which is the ultimate goal. Sadly, our wiring doesn’t distinguish how we are right, it just needs to be. We look for situations, words, actions, and circumstances that we can interpret in a way that will support our belief system. When we find this evidence, our beliefs are affirmed and we are right. Our beliefs and the evidence we gather can serve us well. Or, our beliefs may tear down our confidence and our self esteem. We will interpret conversations and situations all around us to make us right about that too.   

When her skirt didn’t fit the way she wanted it to, Jen interpreted that as confirmation of her belief that she can’t really lose weight. That little voice said, “I told you so. You’ll never have the body you dreamed of.” And with that, she made herself right.

This is why what happens on the inside is so incredibly important. Because we react and make choices based on that I-must-prove-myself-right mechanism.

Having an acute awareness of your thoughts and beliefs is critical to breaking out of those past unproductive patterns and cycles. The one’s that are keeping you hating your body, exhausted and feeling hopeless.

Let me warn you: Becoming aware of negative beliefs isn’t a pretty process. It’s not fun to look at beliefs like:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m unlovable
  • I’ll always be alone

But when we shine that light on this dark side of us, we can see that our actions and reactions have been reinforcing these beliefs.

The good news is that you don’t have to excavate all of your beliefs to change your life. You don’t need to buy into the belief that you will have a life you love when you finally really love yourself. So, while you are practicing loving yourself and your life:

  1. Make your commitment to your highest self bigger than your commitment to lose weight. Losing weight for you isn’t just about dropping the weight. Deep down it's about how we feel about ourselves and our self worth. Commit to nourishing yourself in a kind way. Instead of focusing on losing weight, how about focusing on feeling great, light and energetic in your body?
  2. Practice identifying those moments you’re looking for evidence. We’re interpreting situations all of the time. Some big, some small. Looking in a full length mirror at the Mall? Just finishing  bowl of ice cream? Notice how these situations support the beliefs you want to hold for yourself.
  3. Focus on the long term. You want the changes in your life to stick. To do this, there is no quick fix. No short cuts. Habits take a while to reinforce and permeate through our lives. Give them the benefit of time and notice all of the successes along the way.
  4. Don’t argue with your thoughts and beliefs. When that little voice says. “You’ll never lose weight,” you don’t have to turn around and say, “No! I will lose weight.” When you argue and debate, you’re just giving the negative thought more time and energy. Instead, simply acknowledge the thought and move on. You can even say, “Thanks for sharing.”
  5. Acknowledge the power of choice. Yes, you have your beliefs and you have your thoughts. But you don’t have to believe everything you hear and everything you think. You get to choose your actions.

As you change what’s happening on the inside, what’s happening on the outside will change too.


 

Stressed Out About Stress Eating? Don't Do These Three Things

Do you have your stash of snacks hidden in the top left-hand drawer of your desk? Do you know that the code in the vending machine for pretzels and Peanut M&M’s are B6 and A4? Or, if you are lucky enough to have a home office, do you find yourself in front of the food pantry every day at 3pm?

Why you are stress eating at work.

More and more Americans are experiencing significant stress in the workplace. The Huffington Post published “Work Stress On The Rise: 8 In 10 Americans Are Stressed About Their Jobs, Survey Finds” in April 2013.  According to the Harvard Health Publication “Why Stress Causes People to Overeat”, when someone is under high levels of stress for long periods of time, their body produces a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is known to increase your appetite and your motivation to eat.

One way to look at stress in the body is to consider what happens when a seltzer bottle is shaken. Fizz and bubbles build and the cap is difficult to twist off without seltzer spraying out. Similarly, stress often feels like that same tension and pressure. In the human body, this is very uncomfortable. The natural response to relieve discomfort is to want to let out that tension. Depending on the food chosen, eating can relieve this tension by creating a distraction, a relaxation response and/or a short term increase of energy.

But eating when stressed never resolves the actual causes of the stress or it’s symptoms; it just hides them.

Ready to make a change?

Stress eating not only has an impact on your waist line, it can also erode your confidence and limit your ability to build the momentum you need for optimal health. Lori, a coaching client of mine, hated herself when she kept reaching for the bowl filled with miniature chocolates in the kitchenette in her office. Sure, her boss was driving her crazy and had incredibly high and unrealistic expectations. But more importantly, Lori was distracting herself from what the real issues were. Eating chocolate allowed her to avoid them. Her self esteem also plummeted when her belly felt so stuffed. On days like those, Lori often chose to come home from work and sit in front of the TV. Her yoga mat and walking shoes stayed in her downstairs closet.

Think about it this way.

There are two components to stress eating. The stress you are feeling at work on a day to day basis and the choices you are making around food. In order to stop stress eating, it’s important to shift the way you think and your actions in both of these areas.

Don’t work harder and faster.

When the to-do list is a mile long and deadlines are coming fast and furious, you may automatically want to put your head down and plow through it. You may be thinking that you will feel less stressed when you’ve finally finished this one project. But you know how it goes. Once you complete one milestone, the next one is there waiting for you. To stop stress eating, you must manage your stress daily. You have to take yourself off the gerbil wheel that will have you running endlessly and perpetually stressed out. I encourage all of my coaching clients to make it a habit of doing 3 core daily practices. These practices reduce stress, improve how you feel and offer a clearer connection to yourself and your purpose. My core daily practices include meditating for at least 10 minutes, practicing yoga or running, and journal writing. The practices don’t need to take much time but the key is that they are done daily. Choose your core daily practices, practice them consistently and you will be on your way to reducing stress in all areas of your life.

Don’t avoid the candy bowl.

I’m suspecting that you have tried to avoid the candy bowl in the past and it hasn’t worked. You’ve tossed out or given away your snack stash, tried to avoid the vending machine and even did your best to decline the birthday cake and bagels sitting in the kitchen. Trying to avoid something doesn’t work permanently and easily because of a simple law of energy. Energy increases where you place your attention and focus. When you spend time thinking about the candy bowl (even trying to avoiding it), you are creating more energy around it.  To be successful avoiding the candy bowl, you need to put your energy onto what you do want. Pivot your attention from the candy bowl toward other habits that will help you feel better and less stressed. Focus on drinking more water, walking outside at lunch time or taking some deep breaths throughout the day.  Do that and you will forget all about the candy bowl.

Don’t eat on the fly.

In a former office of mine, Katie, our office manager, kept a full bowl of M&M’s on her desk. She was very sweet and I know she meant well. To get to the main conference room, we had to walk by her desk (and the M&M’s). Many of my coworkers (and I included) would scoop a handful and eat these M&M’s on our way to or from a meeting. Eating mindlessly can lead to overeating. Stress eating can be significantly reduced when you pay attention to what you are eating. When you are eating, do it with all of your attention. Don’t eat and walk, eat and text or eat and work. Just sit and eat.

Life can be hectic, fast paced and even stressful. And your health and vitality doesn’t have to be compromised. Stress eating isn’t the underlying cause, it’s the symptom. Stop stress eating by taking time for yourself daily, focusing on nurturing the right habits, and bringing more mindfulness in your life. When you do, your relationship with the vending machine will be a thing of the past.

Sound simple? It is, but there is so much more. If you want to know more for yourself and incorporate these guidelines in your life, contact me to set up a free exploratory conversation.

 

 

Why Stepping On The Scale Is Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts And 5 Things to Do Instead

Lauren had her morning ritual. Before she got out of bed, before her feet even touched the floor, Lauren would ask herself “How is this day going to go?”. She then walked into the bathroom to step on the scale and find out.

Lauren would have two numbers in her head. Her goal weight and what she weighed last. Depending on how she worked out and ate the day before, she may be mildly scared or a little hopeful.

When the scale offered good news, Lauren felt that little high and privately celebrated. She felt good about herself.  When the scale offered bad news, Lauren was in disbelief. “Maybe the scale is wrong”, she thought.  She would step off and on again, hoping for a lower number. When the number didn’t change, her stomach would drop and she felt defeated. “I can’t believe I let myself get here”, she would say to herself. She felt disgusting.

For Lauren, the scale isn’t just assessing how closely she had followed her diet plan. It’s personal. When Lauren sees that number on the scale, she also sees if her hard work has paid off, if it’s worth it to keep trying to eat so well, and ultimately, if she has been good or bad.

What comes next is critical. How Lauren felt about herself and her body in that given moment would set the tone for how she ate that day. If she felt good, she would likely eat well. If she felt bad, she would likely throw in the towel, and would inevitably overeat and binge.  

For Lauren, who is a made up aggregation of many of my coaching clients, stepping on the scale every morning put in motion food patterns that were destructive and disconnected from herself and her body.

The scale is a tool to measure body weight. However, for many dieters and those interested in weight loss, weighing themselves isn’t as simple as finding out how much they weigh at a given point in time. Ultimately, the number has meaning. The number becomes a personal story of individual self worth and value. The dieter will then choose how to eat based on how they see themselves in a positive or negative light.

Our self worth doesn’t come from something that makes its home on our bathroom floor. Nor do we need to let the number on the scale determine how we treat ourself and our body.  

It’s time to stop the madness that comes from stepping on the scale. This ritual is NOT the way to achieve long lasting health, vitality, and yes, even permanent weight loss.

At first, Lauren was afraid to not weigh herself. She was panicked because she believed the scale was her way of staying in control. Until she understood that stepping on the scale was ultimately creating chaos in her day to day life, was she able to consider something different.  Until she saw that the scale was disconnecting herself from her body, determining her mood, and dictating how and what she ate, did she find the courage to try something different.

If you have found the same courage, here are 5 things you can do to stop letting the scale rule your life:

  1. Create a new morning routine that doesn’t include weighing yourself. A large glass of warm water with lemon is a beautiful way to start the day.

  2. Move your scale to a part of your home where you won’t see it regularly.  If it’s in your bathroom, take it out.

  3. Find 3 other ways to measure your health and vitality. Consider being aware of your energy levels, how well you sleep, how clear your skin is, and your patience.

  4. Ask yourself, “how do I want to feel today?”. Keep that intention in the front of your mind for the whole day.

  5. Connect with yourself by asking “what do I need?” throughout the day. More often than not, drinking more water, rest, movement, and getting outside are all things that will make you feel better.  

Permanent weight loss, health and vitality comes from creating daily habits and rituals that are rooted in love and connection. Start your morning with the question “How is this day going to go?”. Instead of letting the scale answer for you, choose for yourself.   You have the answers you need.  

 

One Simple Step to Take to Stop Overeating

I sat in the sunshine on the front steps of my house. It’s finally warm enough here in New Hampshire to be outside.  It’s lunch time and I’ve left my laptop, phone, iPad and any other reading material at my desk. It’s just me and my big-ass salad. No work. No distractions.

For years, I would work through lunch. I would eat quickly at my desk, prioritizing a project deadline or catching up on emails ahead of anything else. I firmly believed that I didn’t have the time, not 5 minutes or  20 minutes, to take the time to just eat. Work was too busy and I had to keep checking things off my “to do” list.  Taking the time to eat was simply a  waste of time. I could be more efficient and effective by multi-tasking.

During that same time, my relationship with food was all about:

·       limits and restriction,

·       numbing and overeating,

·       shame and defeat, and

·       disconnection and discomfort.

I was desperate to lose that last 5,10, or 15 pounds and I was trying every diet I could to do it. What I didn't realize at the time was that my painful relationship with food was in large part due to not listening to my body. 

How can anyone tune in to hunger cues, fullness signals or how certain foods made their body feel if they don't listen?

When you don’t eat with your full attention, you are missing an opportunity to notice feedback that your body desperately wants you to have.   

Now that I eat my meals with all of my attention, I leave food on my plate. After decades of overeating and binge eating, this simple habit is a small miracle. I notice when I’m no longer hungry. I no longer rush through my meals. I enjoy the taste of what I’m eating and feel much more satisfied. Eating has become a nurturing act of connection.

If you are reading this while eating your breakfast, lunch or dinner, put your fork down and push your meal away, even for a few moments.  

Practice eating at least one meal a day without any distraction.  Start with the meal that’s the easiest to focus completely on.

When I first started not working through lunch, it only it took me 12 minutes to eat. I quickly realized that taking this small amount of time allowed me to return to work with fresh eyes and renewed energy. I increased my productivity by giving myself this break.

Whether or not you struggle with overeating and binge eating,  doing one thing at a time and being mindful is the key to fully experiencing life. Consider that taking time to simply eat a meal is a way for you to slow yourself down and enjoy a few moments in the day. Practice eating with all of your attention. It will become practice for how you want to live: fully awake, connected, and present to the warm sunshine on your face.

 

You Have Finally Made Peace With Food... Now What?

When I was struggling with food, I would binge most Sunday afternoons. Maybe it was on a couple of extra bowls of ice cream, some chocolates from a past holiday, or leftover brownies I made for the kids. This binge pattern took away my loneliness or my anxiety about the upcoming week, or sometimes it was my last chance to indulge before I had to be “really good” and go back to my diet. I would wake up Monday morning, quietly despising myself and determined to stay on track with my eating.  This pattern, even though deeply painful, was also oddly comfortable and well-known. It felt safe emotionally and mentally when, at a subconscious level, I knew the outcomes of my battles.

I’ve since transformed my relationship with food. Without my destructive patterns, I’ve created a clearing and an opening. I have time and energy to create something new. In the past few months, I’ve done a major clean out of my closet and have taken some pretty significant steps to expand my businesses. I keep asking myself and the Universe “How do I serve my communities with my highest and best self?”.  My food struggle wasn’t just keeping me safe, it was also keeping me from living a bigger life. Now that my struggle is behind me, there is nothing in my way.

Even though that sounds incredibly exciting, it’s actually pretty freakin’ scary. I’ve known myself for so long as someone who struggles with food. Now I have gotten to know myself as someone who thrives, is mindful and compassionate around food and my body, and has created habits that serve me best. This new “me” doesn’t know what the future looks like because I’m finally not recreating my past, over and over again. I’ve been scared that this new “me” will disappear, that she is too good to be true, and that I don’t deserve to be her.

As I’ve navigated these new waters over the past year, I’ve come up with a few strategies that have helped me deal with my fears and embrace the newly created “me”. It’s our divine right to live a life full of passion, inspiration and love. If you too have cleared some space and are ready to start living a bigger life right now, try this:

  1. Name your fear. You may need to do some soul searching and deep inquiry here. What is it that you are truly afraid of? Write it down. Get it on paper.  
  2. See that named fear as false. I love the acronym for FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. Your fear isn’t real; it’s just something you created.
  3. Stay present. Our fear is a projection of the future. When we are truly in the moment, fear, anxiety and worry cannot exist. Keep yourself present by asking yourself, “What is actually happening right now?”.
  4. Commit to not letting your fear stop you. You are meant to live a life you love. Commit to forward momentum every day.
  5. Say a daily mantra to yourself. Make up your own or try one of these: "I breathe in love. I breathe out fear." "I am safe. I am supported. I am enough." "I am present and grounded in this moment." "I release my fears and stay open to the love and support all around me."
  6. Don’t wait. Even if you are still struggling with your relationship with food or some habitual pattern that is wearing you down, move forward toward the things you want in your life. The momentum may be small, but the impact of moving past your fear is significant.
  7. Practice living with fear. It’s not about removing our fears, it’s about living fully despite them. When we try to remove our fears, we are giving them more energy. Living with them means quietly acknowledging them as artificial and then moving forward.

If you are considering some big and exciting things in your life, that’s an awesome thing. You are ready. Leave the safety of the unknown and embrace what is possible. Simply take a big breath and SHINE bright.

With Love and Inspiration~

Tara

 

Why We Let Diets Distract Us From Living

**This is the second post of a multi part series on why diets and the diet mentality simply cannot work, the distraction and impact diets can have on living the life we are meant to live, and how to shift our view of food to eat in a way that supports our health and vitality, and ultimately brings our bodies back into balance.  **

Do you remember your very first diet? If it was anything like mine, I felt so motivated and inspired to take on this brand new undertaking. I poured through the pamphlets, note cards of recipes and calendars of eating plans.  After all, I wanted to lose weight, and this was a way for me to get there.

I treated this diet like a part time job and was willing to go to great lengths to follow it to a T. I chose to forego wedding cake at my cousin’s wedding, bring my own meals out to a restaurant, and stay up late logging my food intake and counting calories.

If you can relate, you also believed this effort was an investment into a skinnier version of yourself. But what I was really doing was sacrificing my precious time, energy, and attention in the moment for some future hope. Instead of enjoying my life with family and friends at a wedding, I found myself fretting over cake. Instead of enjoying a great conversation and connecting with friends at a restaurant, I worried about what I was eating. Instead of getting a good night’s sleep or reading a great book, I assessed my performance on my diet plan.  

For many, the diet mentality locks us into a belief that we must sacrifice today to have the body and the life we desire tomorrow. We take that thinking one step further and actually put our life on hold for some fantasy in the future. In the backs of our mind, we believe:

“My life will be ________ when I weigh ________” . Fill in the blanks.

My life will be complete when I can fit into my skinny jeans. Or, when I wear a size 6, I’ll be finally the young professional woman I think I should be, and I’ll have it all. Or, when I lose 15 pounds, more men will be attracted to me, and I’ll be in an amazing relationship.

But we can’t blame diets and a diet mentality for this. They are not the problem. They are just covering up something much more painful that we don’t want to confront: We believe we are not good enough.

This mentality started before we went on our first diet. The diet was there to distract us from looking at this painful belief. If we run from it and hide from it by dieting, maybe we can convince ourselves that we are good enough and prove this little voice inside of us wrong.

While we are dieting our life away and putting our hopes and dream on hold until we finally believe we have become good enough, life is happening around us. Our bodies may not be perfect. Our life may not be ideal. But they are the only ones we have, and we don’t get another one or another chance. We can live our life trying desperately to change our bodies and our lives, or we can live today like we want to live and feel at peace with our bodies and our lives. Stop struggling with the thought, “I’m not enough.” It’s simply not true. You are enough. Your body is enough. Your life is enough. Put down the fight and the distractions that come from dieting and pick up the truth. Your life is waiting for you, and it’s time to live it! 

With Love and Inspiration~

Tara

How to Stop Your Overeating Habit

How to Stop-1
How to Stop-1

Are you one of those people that eats everything on your plate no matter what? I’m a former member of the Clean Plate Club myself. Actually, I often had second helpings at meal time. You can say I was a member of the Two Clean Plates Club ;). It didn’t matter if I was hungry or full. I just ate what was in front of me, and then some. I started my journey to transform my relationship with food and my body because I knew I was overeating and overstuffing. Sometimes when I was hungry, I felt empty. Not just physically, but emotionally. When I was full or even very full, I felt calm and a little sedated. These emotional causes and side effects of my overeating created a very well-ingrained habit that was in place for many years. It took me a while to break this habit, but after trying and failing a few times, I found a practice that made a big difference. Try this exercise to eat just enough and leave every meal satisfied:

  • Sit down to eat your meal when you are hungry. Please notice the two important things: Sit down to eat. Eat when you are hungry.
  • Create the intention that you are going to eat mindfully. Eat your meal slowly.
  • Put your fork down occasionally to check in with your body. Drop your awareness to your belly and notice.
  • When you have come to that point when you have moved past no longer feeling hungry and begin to feel satisfied, PAUSE.  Promise yourself that you are going to temporarily set your food aside for 15 minutes. After that time, you can freely and without guilt, eat what’s left on your plate.  Wrap up any remaining food, whether it’s one bite or 10 bites, and put it away.
  • After 15 minutes, check in with your belly. Are you hungry? Does the idea of finishing or eating more of your meal appeal to you? If so, sit down and eat. If not, save your remaining food for another time.

People overeat for a lot of different reasons. You may find that overeating has become a habit you would like to break. Stopping overeating takes awareness, patience, and practice. Try this exercise when you eat your next meal, and you will be well on your way to honoring your body and yourself in a very powerful and loving way.

How to Recover From A Food Binge

If I were the superstitious type, I would have thought I jinxed myself. I had recently told a few people: my husband, my Naturopath, my coaching group. I said out loud, “I don’t binge eat anymore.” And then Saturday afternoon after a big shopping trip, I came home, made a plate of crackers and cheese, and pretty much ate everything on the plate. As expected, I immediately felt disgusted. And because I am now coaching women on how to listen to their bodies and change their relationships with food, I also felt like a complete fraud. If I can’t stop binging myself, how do I expect to guide others? My mind raced:

I shouldn’t be coaching women in this work. I’ll just go back to what I know.

I can’t believe I ate that whole plate of cheese and crackers. I even had gluten. Why do I make choices that will make me sick?

I have tools, I should be using them! What is wrong with me?

My belly feels so bloated. I’ll need to hide that so no one suspects.

From the outside that evening, I appeared quiet, reserved, and disconnected from my family. I probably seemed a little melancholy. I went to bed early and wrote in my journal.

This is what binges do. They absorb us into a shame cycle. They have us questioning and doubting everything about ourselves. Our body feels sick; therefore, we assume everything about us is sick too. Binges make us withdraw from the world. We don’t want to show our disgusting selves to the people we love around us. After all, they must be judging us the same way we are judging ourselves, right? This episode refreshed my memory of how destructive binges are because the binge eater withdraws, hides, and feels terrible and full of shame.

We are disconnected from our bodies when we binge and overeat. I clearly felt disconnected on Saturday afternoon and resorted to an old habitual pattern. When I woke up Sunday morning, I reminded myself that I have a choice where I focus my energy. I can beat myself up about the afternoon before, like I have in the past, or I can see my experience as an opportunity to go deeper in my own healing. I’m choosing to go deeper.

As I look back to my earlier declarations of binge eating being something of my past, I realized there was a part of me that felt being binge-free was too good to be true. I secretly worried that all of this healing and new learning would disappear. I know now this process is not a delicate one. Our practice of connecting to our body grows stronger the more we listen to it. I don’t need good luck to be aware of my body. My journey to freedom around food and body struggles may have it’s share of up and down and side trips. I’m okay with that. I’m also really okay with not being perfect. I’ll take confidence and connection over luck and crossed fingers any day of the week.

What Happens When You Stop Following Food Rules

This just seems like another day. A day with plans to spend time with family, squeeze in a bit of work and play outside in the newly fallen snow. I couldn’t help but to notice that it wasn’t just any other day, although it felt that way. It was the day after Thanksgiving. And this year, I’m so grateful for the freedom I was able to experience preparing our feast, enjoying it and more importantly the time spent after it was all finished. Before this year, freedom was the last way I would describe my experience of Thanksgiving. It was more about struggle, worry, guilt and shame. Thankfully this year, I gave up a few old patterns and embraced new ones. This year, I didn’t break any rules. Not because I followed all of them, but because I did not have any to break. In the past and as recent as last year, I’ve made my family dizzy with which diet I was following. They had a hard time keeping track of whether I was following a vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, dairy free, sugar free, low carb, or gluten free diet. For me, I would plan well in advance and prepare special food that I would allow myself to eat. All the while, I would be noticing not what I could eat but what I couldn’t. Or, there were years that I would be following a particular diet up until Thanksgiving, and then allow myself one day to go off it. No matter what I did, I felt guilty and my mind was preoccupied with the should and shouldn’t. This year our dinner table was filled with an abundance of beautifully prepared foods that our whole family took the time to make. I didn’t see the food as either good or bad. I simply enjoyed it.

This year, I ate and lived moment to moment. I made from scratch chocolate chip scones and spinach, feta and red pepper quiche Thanksgiving morning. It felt so indulgent to have chocolate for breakfast. The kids and Mark loved them and so did I. There were many Thanksgiving mornings that I would only allow myself fruit or maybe a green juice or smoothie with the idea that I had to eat as light as possible to prepare for the huge amount of eating that would come next. For some meals, eating only fruit or green juices could be perfect, but I would make that choice based on what would serve me best in the moment. I ate the perfect amount that morning and trusted that in my next meal I would do the same.

This year, working out was something I simply made time for. But it wasn’t my main focus. In years past, I would plan for an extra long run or an extra challenging workout Thanksgiving morning. I knew I was going to be eating a lot of calories and I needed to pay my dues so I could deserve to eat the extra serving of mash potatoes and pumpkin pie. This year, I just knew I would feel better if I moved. I went down to the basement; I got some good sweat on and finished with a headstand. It took less than 30 minutes. I was completely unconcerned with how many calories I burned or how many calories I was planning on eating.

This year, I went to bed feeling great. My belly wasn’t stuffed with food. We ate a later dinner and funny enough, decided to wait until the next day to dive into the special chocolate cheesecake that Anna made. I remember past Thanksgivings where we would finish our dinner and immediately break out the pies. I did this without any regard to whether I was hungry for them or not. As our family was preparing our meal earlier in the day, we sat down for some cauliflower soup and a few fun appetizers. Afterward, we shared a slice of pumpkin pie. It was perfect to have a small dessert before our main meal.

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to share and acknowledge all of the things we are grateful for. This year, I’ve let myself out of prison. A prison that I designed myself around an obsession with food and body weight. My prison robbed me of enjoying my life fully. How could I really enjoy and be thankful for my family, friends, our health, our homes and all of the wonderful things I truly have in my life when I’m mentally and emotionally consumed with what, when and how much I’m going to eat and how long I’m going to work out? It was exhausting and I did it for a long time. This year, I let go of diets, food rules and the idea that I have to struggle with my weight. This year, I’ve deepened my practice of connecting to the wisdom of my body. I’ve held the key to letting myself out of this prison the whole time. Starting this year, Thanksgiving for me is now about freedom, gratitude, connection and celebration. I am so grateful.