Mindful Eating During the Holidays - Tips from Top Health and Wellness Experts

Mindful eating during the holidays. How to avoid the guilt that often comes with holiday eating and have a plan that leaves you feeling happy, guilt free, and able to enjoy the holidays. Tips for success from top health and wellness experts, and fellow moms! 

The holidays can be a tricky time when it comes to nutrition. It usually goes one of two ways. Either you feel in control and happy because you have a good plan in place for making it through, or you decide you’ll change on January 1st and give yourself permission for a holiday free-for-all.

 

A lot of times we struggle to feel in control over food during the holidays because it’s so available everywhere we go. We go to parties with food, we attend events with food, we have neighbors bringing us food as gifts, and the list goes on.

 

Because navigating nutrition during the holidays is something that many of us struggle with, I’ve reached out to some of my nearest and dearest friends in the health and fitness industry for help.

 

So, today’s post is for you to learn from other women and mothers about how they find balance during the holidays (and all year round!). In fact, if you’re reading this in February or August, these tips still apply. It’s all about finding a healthy balance with food that works for your lifestyle.

 

Also, don’t forget to grab your guilt free holiday workbook. It’s packed with all the tools you need and a step by step guide to helping you overcome some of the most difficult challenges we face with food such as emotional and stress eating, portion control and free for all eating, and feeling confident and in control at parties and events.

 

MINDFUL EATING DURING THE HOLIDAYS - TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS

 
Monica Pic.png
 
It’s just a normal day. Breathe. You can always have it later.

MONICA PACKER - aboutprogress.com  

 

Navigating holiday eating doesn’t have to be traumatizing. They used to cause me panic attacks, but now I view big meals and celebrations like any other Sunday dinner.  All it takes is some time and retraining your thoughts.

Here are three phrases and their related teachings that I like to keep in mind as I approach what could be a highly-charged meal:

 

“It’s just a normal day.” 

Instead of exercising for hours or starving myself on a particular holiday, I treat those big meal days as normally as I can.  I do a hard-but-normal workout—yes.  I eat a lighter breakfast/snack—sure.  I think ahead of time about what things I’d actually love to eat—most definitely.  But I don’t give the feast so much pressure that I’m doomed for failure.

 

“Breathe.”  

If my thoughts start racing, I’m overthinking everything, or I notice myself slipping into numbness, I remind myself to take a deep breath and recenter.  What do I want this meal to be about?  What do I really want to enjoy? Everyone is breathing around you, so you can do this as many times as you need!

 

“You can always have it later.”  

Perhaps I just had a piece of pie and my instinct is telling me to grab another as fast as I can, and then another.  I override those ways of thinking by remembering that I can in fact have another piece later—maybe when my tummy is less full and I enjoy it more, or even months down the road.  Who says you can’t make Grandma’s fudge in the middle of July?!  You most certainly can.  

If this is new for you, hold tight.  It gets easier and in time these ways of thinking will be like second-nature.  I have more tips/phases for you on my website too, if you’re needing just a little extra help.  www.aboutprogress.com  Enjoy your feasts!!

 

 
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For me, life and eating is all about balance, and that includes some chocolate every once in a while.

MEG MILES - momstrongutah.com

 

Here are my tips for staying in control during the holidays while still enjoying the fun.

 

The "one favorite dessert" rule

Here's how this works. We all love dessert, but sometimes we're faced with a table FULL of it, and we end up overeating and feeling sick. I like the "favorite dessert rule" because I allow myself to choose my very favorite thing from that dessert table, and enjoy every bite, guilt-free. When I am thinking about choosing ONE dessert I will love, rather than bites from a few that I may not enjoy, it helps me to stay in control. So choose that favorite dessert of yours, walk away from the dessert table, and savor every bite.

 

Have a control word

When faced with all of the holiday food, have a word you can say to yourself, either mentally or out loud that will remind you to think before you eat. Mine is simply "control." When I say this to myself, I remember I am in control, that I don't have to go overboard, and that I can eat intuitively while I make clear and conscious food choices.

 

Don't be afraid to throw things away

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I have no problem in throwing away sweets that start to collect on my countertop during the holidays. Even the ones that arrive on my doorstep wrapped in a bow. Sometimes I think we eat that whole plate of cookies, or jar of caramels just because it's sitting there, or just so we don't "waste it." Well, have you ever thought of just getting rid of it all together? Maybe enjoying just one thing and getting rid of the rest? It's something to consider!

 

Leave the "all or nothing" approach at the door

It's easy to get caught up in the "all or nothing" approach. It's like once we have that cookie, we think to ourselves, 'Well I may as well have three or four now that I've blown it.' Well here's the truth. One cookie is NOT going to throw you off. Enjoy it, guilt-free, but know that it's totally possible to get right back on track again! Leave that "all or nothing" approach behind, and start to realize you're always in control. Life is about BALANCE, not perfection. For me, "balance" includes some chocolate every once in a while.


 

 
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This treat is always available to me.

RACHEL GAINER - rachelrebuilt.com

 

Hello, friends! I’m Rachel Gainer of @rachel_rebuilt. As we enter the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in feasting festivities or become overwhelmed by how to “stay on track.” I don’t believe it swearing off sweets or skipping social gatherings for the sake of healthy habits. Instead, I focus on nourishing my body, listening to my hunger, and enjoying guilt-free indulgences. Here are four tips to help you stay mindful and in tune with your body during holiday parties:

 

Indulge in what matters to you.

Resisting a food you REALLY want at the wrong time can lead to “avoidance overeating” (eating too many healthy calories to avoid the treat) or “delayed binging” (eating less-satisfying sugars to fill a lingering craving). Instead, choose foods that are physically and emotionally satisfying. Then eat slowly, savor the flavors, and stop when you feel gentle fullness.

 

Avoid FOMO feasting

One reason we overindulge during the holidays is that every gathering feels special. We don’t want to miss out on favorite foods, so we eat them even when we aren’t in the mood. To calm food FOMO, try thinking, “This treat is always available to me.” No today doesn’t mean no forever. You can always save a serving for tomorrow.

 

Practice self-trust

When we tell ourselves we can’t be trusted around food, we tend to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. But when we allow ourselves to eat a little and stop before our plate is empty, we nurture self-trust, eliminate food anxiety, and expend less willpower.

 

Own your decisions

When you own a decision, it empowers you. The choice to opt out doesn’t feel like a burden or a punishment. The choice to indulge doesn’t come with guilt or regret. Ownership increases mindfulness.


 

 
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Holidays are a time of celebration and togetherness, and food should be a fun part of that

ALISON BODEN - nourishingradiance.com

 

Don't think of "the holidays" as a season

Pick a few select days - maybe it's Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and a couple of holiday parties and enjoy whatever food you want on those days without guilt. And then as much as you can, try to eat normally and avoid splurge type foods on just regular days between events. This makes the indulgent foods at gatherings taste so much better because they'll come with less guilt and remorse. This way you also feel more in control of things when you have a plan in place.

 

Don't go to a party or other holiday gathering hungry

It's tempting to try to bank up a calorie deficit during the day so that you can feel more free to indulge later. But this almost always backfires and sets the stage for a pretty serious binge eating evening, especially if there's alcohol involved. Going to a party to see all of your favorite treats while your blood sugar is low and you haven't eaten as usual all day is a recipe for overeating. But if you have a nice balanced meal with a portion of protein, starch and fiber you are far less likely to leave overstuffed and full of guilt.


 

 
 
No matter how you’re doing on eating, never skip a workout!

CHEYENNE HAYES - @rise_above_distraction

 

During the holidays, so many events involve celebrating with food, and I don't want ever come across like "that girl" that is in the corner eating celery sticks.  

Be Intentional

Before I attend an event that will have food, I decide BEFORE I go whether I'm going to enjoy dessert or not (and that is often based on what the rest of my week has been like.  I don't have a problem eating a dessert here and there, but I've learned that for MYSELF, I can't ever eat sugary things back to back days.  If I do....that's when the cravings start).  

 

Use a dessert rating scale

Once I am AT a party or event, I have a rule that I always use.  I will look at the desserts being offered and decide if anything is rated a 9 or 10 for me (on a scale of 1-10).  There is nothing worse than eating when you said you wouldn't and realizing immediately afterwards that it wasn't even something you really like.  If there is a 9 or a 10 level dessert, I take a reasonable portion, ENJOY IT, and then drink some water and pop in a piece of gum afterwards, to just make sure I don't get carried away.  But if there is nothing that is a 9 or 10 for me, I just say NO, and hold out for another time where I can really enjoy something.  

 

Leftover treats are trouble

I also am careful not to have "treat" type things laying around the house all month long.  We are deliberate in our times of making cookies or fudge, share a ton of it with the neighbors, and then be done with it.  

 

Never skip a workout

And no matter how I'm doing on my eating routines, I make sure not to waiver on my work outs. Even if we have family around and such, there is nothing wrong with me slipping out of the house for a 30 minute run.  I just don't ever want to send the message to my body that I'll start taking care of it again in "January".

How to Stop the "All You Can Eat" Mentality and Gain Control over Food

How to Stop the "All You Can Eat" Mentality and Gain Control over Food

Do you feel like once you've indulged, you're on a downward spiral of overeating, feeling guilty, and giving up on any plans you made to eat better? If so, you're not alone and this blog post will help you learn to overcome that all-you-can-eat mentality to help you portion size and make peace with food. 

What to do When you Feel Guilty After Overeating

What to do When you Feel Guilty After Overeating

If you find yourself struggling with emotional eating, overeating, guilt, mindless eating, or anything associated with having a difficult relationship with food, this post is for you. 

HOW TO STOP EMOTIONAL EATING (especially when you deserve it)

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You made it through a hard day.

 

Your kids whined and fought all day.

 

You gave a particularly difficult and stressful presentation at work.

 

Everyone made it through this day alive.

 

You accomplished something you feel good about.

 

Any of these scenarios resonate with you?

 

There are soooo many forms of feeling like you deserve a “treat” at the end of a particularly hard, or even a particularly successful day.

 

It’s a reward for getting through whatever you got through today.

 

For you, maybe getting through the day with young children is TOUGH. They take all your energy, your time, and by the end of the day, you’re completely drained.

 

So, you turn to food.

 

You look for the chips in the cupboard, you hit up the gas station for the largest soda they have, you end the night with ice cream, or you raid the cookies in the pantry.

 

Ah, it feels nice to sit, veg, and reward yourself for making it through the day.

eating your feelings

For me, accomplishing something big was ALWAYS cause for a reward. In college, if I passed a test or just simply made it through a tough presentation, or lived through finals week, I deserved a treat.

 

It was always a sweet treat.

 

Brownies or cookies were my staple. And bonus points if there was ice cream in the freezer. Sundae every night, anyone?!

 

Food was my reward. My reward for accomplishing something. And although sometimes it was accomplishing something great, it was mostly a reward for making it through the day.

 

And that became my habit.

 

Every time I made it through the day, I got a “reward” in the form of food.

 

Which pretty much meant every day.

 

I didn’t really realize it until I wanted to change my health. I was in college learning about health and nutrition, but I was struggling to follow the same principles at home.

 

I quickly discovered that giving up my reward system each night was going to be difficult. I had come to rely on that instant gratification.

 

What about you?

 

Are you frustrated feeling like you can’t give up the cycle of needing a food reward for making it through the day?

 

Do you use food to numb your feelings? And it doesn’t always mean sad feelings. It can be feelings of anger, frustration, excitement, or just a general feeling of not wanting to do one more thing this evening.

 

If you find yourself struggling with eating your feelings, today’s post is for you.

 

And if you already know you struggle with emotional eating, head on over and sign up for my free mini course “Make Peace with Food” which will walk you through all the steps of recognizing and dealing with emotional eating.

 

The definition of emotional eating is eating in response to feelings instead of hunger.

 

Other truths about emotional hunger (and discerning between emotional and physical hunger) come from this article, and include:

 

  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. Physical hunger typically comes on gradually, and you may have physical signs like your stomach growling.

  • Emotional hunger craves specific – and in most cases, unhealthful – foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything will do, including healthful foods.

  • Emotional hunger results in mindless eating. Did you just down a pint of ice cream before bed without realizing or enjoying it? Polished off a sleeve of cookies in front of the television after work? Inhaled a drive-thru burger while crawling home in rush-hour traffic? These are most likely examples of emotional eating.

  • Emotional hunger is never satiated. You want more and more until you’re stuffed – or find yourself in a “carb coma,” slumping after eating too much.

  • Emotional hunger has repercussions. These include guilt, shame and regret, to name a few. Physical hunger never leaves you feeling badly about yourself.

 

So, if you find yourself leaning more toward the emotional hunger at the end of the day, here’s what you can do about it:

 

4 THINGS YOU CAN DO INSTEAD OF EAT YOUR FEELINGS

 

ONE: ESCAPE

Get away from the temptation. Leave the room. Leave the house. Do whatever you need to do to get away from the current scenario.

 

The physical act of leaving with also help you mind “leave” the room and leave the emotional situation behind.

 

But, what do you do? That’s up to you! Do you have a favorite place to go? Maybe it’s a walk around the block (I know it can be hard to start, but you always feel better after getting some fresh air, right?!).

 

Maybe you have another room with books, crafts, or hobbies to pursue. Go there.

 

Go to the store. Obviously don’t replace your emotional therapy with retail therapy, but go enjoy a free walk around the store. Try on some new clothes. Go to a bookstore and read a short book.

 

The key is to get out. Getting away from the situation physically will help you get away from it mentally too. And chances are, you won’t be as likely to eat when you get back.


 

TWO: DEAL WITH THEM

If you have recurring feelings that drive you to eat emotionally, it might be time to confront them, to deal with them. To take a look at why they happen, what causes them, and what you can do about it each time you experience the emotion.

 

The first step is to stop. Stop eating. Stop and notice what you are feeling.

 

Are you eating because you’re angry, stressed, tired, lonely, sad, happy, etc? Recognize the emotion happening in your body right now.

 

Then, write 1-2 solutions for dealing with that emotion. For example, if you’re stressed, what do you do to relieve stress? Do you exercise? Do you read a book? Do you take a hot shower? Write a couple ideas down, and it’s ok if they are new ideas! If you want to try meditating, go for it right now!

 

Then, spend the next 10-20 minutes working on your emotion. When you are finished, check in again. Is the drive to eat still there? If it is, maybe you are physically hungry and you can grab yourself a snack that will satisfy instead of a “reward” snack.

 

Each time you feel the drive to emotionally eat, try first stopping what you are doing and then figure out the emotion you are experiencing. Find a method for dealing with that emotion that isn’t food. You’ll quickly have a good list of things you can do instead of eating food when you’re experiencing some uncomfortable emotions.


 

THREE: MAKE A LIST OF SELF CARE ACTIVITIES

As moms, sometimes we forget that we have things we like to do. Maybe we’ve forgotten how to take care of ourselves. Maybe we don’t know what we’re into anymore.

 

If you feel like you’ve lost your identity a little lately, try finding some things you either used to enjoy or new activities you want to try.

 

ideas for self care activities

Try a new exercise class (maybe even sign up for one in the evening when you know it’s your hardest time with eating).

Try a new reading genre.

Start a hobby, whether is be crafting, or something else

Have a game night with your spouse or significant other

Clean out a section of your closet or a junk drawer

Try meditation or yoga (this is my favorite free yoga station!)

Start a book club

Plan your next vacation

Start a vision board. Dream


 

FOUR: HAVE SOME FUN

Want to know the best way to feel better instantly? Have fun. Do something that makes you smile, laugh, or takes your mind off of life.

 

Remember Mario Kart? Challenge your spouse to a duel. Pull out some old game boards, watch You Tube videos that make you laugh. Follow a dancing game such as Dance Revolution (that brings some serious laughs to this non-dancer). Build a fort and watch a movie.

 

Did you know kids are some of the best examples of intuitive eaters? Learn from them. Learn that sometimes all it takes is a little distraction and a lot of fun to get your mind off of food and the emotions you’re experiencing.


 

As you start to pay attention to your emotional eating behavior and cycles, you can then start changing them. Soon enough you will have a lot of great tools to use instead of turning to food after a long, hard day.

 

Instead of feeling like you deserve a treat, your mind will shift to deserving more self love, self care, and fun in your life. You’ll find ways to deal with your emotions that actually work, that don’t leave you feeling guilty or depressed.

 

And remember, if you still struggle with emotional eating, sign up for my free course “Make Peace with Food” to help you identify and deal with those emotions in the non-food way.

HOW TO STOP BINGING BEFORE YOUR NEXT DIET

Your guide to quit binging and overeating before your next diet or meal plan. Overcome emotional eating, stress eating, and create a better relationship with food.

It’s Sunday night.

 

Tomorrow’s Monday, the start of your new diet, meal plan, or some sort of strict nutrition plan that’s going to make you cut out all your favorite foods in the name of losing that extra weight.

So, what do you do?

Make Sunday the day to eat everything you can’t have on Monday. To have your one last hurrah. To binge eat all your favorite comfort foods, chocolate, soda, bread and carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Because tomorrow, you’ll have to stop eating carbs for the foreseeable future.

Regardless of what diet or plan you go on, does this scenario sound familiar?

As soon as you have to give up something that you love, you suddenly fear you won’t be able to have it ever again, so you might as well “stock up” on it now.

This is a phenomenon called Last Supper Syndrome or also referred to as Last Supper Eating.

Stop emotional eating with these tips on overeating and stress eating. 

You’ve been there before in one way or another. The binge before the “perfect eating” cycle. You spend the whole day binging on those foods you’ll soon say goodbye to. It’s almost like a grieving process. You’re saying goodbye to food you love, food that comforts you, food that helps you through a difficult day.

You’re kind of dreading tomorrow. And, now you feel gross because you’ve binged on comfort food all day.

But, tomorrow’s the day. You put all the junk food away, throw it out, or give it to someone else so you don’t have the temptation. You replace chips with rice cakes, bread with fruits and vegetables, and soda for water, water, and more water.

Your fridge is stocked with healthy food, your meals are planned and ready, and you’re going to crush this perfect diet plan tomorrow.

Monday comes and things seem to be going pretty well! You’ve been busy and occupied most of the day and really haven’t noticed that much of a change. You’ve followed your new diet plan to a T.

And then things take a turn for the worse. It’s the afternoon slump. Whatever it is for you, work or your kids, have take everything you have. You’re exhausted, feel like you haven’t eaten anything of substance (because vegetables aren’t all that satisfying, right?), and wishing you could just consume one treat, comfort food, soda, or anything that would numb the stress of the day.

You’re so used to eating your emotions, that you’re all of the sudden left without any tools to deal with the stresses of life that will inevitably come up. The only way you know how to deal with stress is to emotionally eat. It’s how you’ve always done it. You’ve always “deserved” a treat when things were hard, when you made it through the day with everyone still alive, or when you’ve accomplished something big.

You’re standing in your messy house with no energy to do anything and no desire to eat that “bird food” you have prepared in your fridge.

But, you have a plan. You’re certain it’s going to work for you, so you push through it. You watch your family eat mac and cheese… oh, all that cheesy, carb goodness, while you choke down another chicken and vegetables meal.

You wish you could just have a little ice cream tonight, to take the edge off. But, you’re sticking to your plan! You go to bed feeling hungry and unsatisfied, but that’s how you’re supposed to feel on a diet, right?

 

WRONG.

 

This cycle could last days, weeks, and even months, but eventually you finish the diet plan and go right back to your prior eating habits… or you stop long before the diet plan is even completed.

You go right back to binging on your favorite comfort foods, because gosh dang it, you deserve it. You’ve worked hard! But, you don’t stop at one. You binge again. And since you’ve already blown your diet, you binge some more and tell yourself you’ll start again…

On Monday.

The weight never really comes off, or stays off, and in you’re in a vicious cycle of feeling completely out of control with food. You want to improve your relationship with food, but you don’t know how to do it. You don’t know how to find the balance of healthy eating for weight loss and feeling satisfied eating the foods you enjoy.

And if that’s you, you’re in the right place. Because today is all about working through the barriers you have with food. Overcoming emotional eating. Overcoming the “Last Supper Syndrome”. Today is about learning to make peace with food by understanding food better.

And if you know this is an area you want to work on, head on over and check out my free mini course “Make Peace with Food”. It’s a short course designed to help you identify and overcome emotional eating and feel safe and comfortable around food. It’s a reader favorite, so head here or click on the image below to sign up for free!

3 TRUTHS ABOUT FOOD THAT WILL HELP YOU OVERCOME THE DIET MENTALITY/BINGE EATING CYCLES

 

TRUTH #1: DIETS ARE BLACK AND WHITE

What do I mean when I say diets are black and white? It means that diets set you up for one of two things, either success or failure. If you follow a diet perfectly, you’re successful on the diet. If you mess up (even once!), you might automatically assume you’re a failure.

Think about it, if you eat a cookie on a diet plan that doesn’t allow for cookies, what happens? You decide you’ve already blown it so you might as well eat the whole batch of cookies too. Then you feel all the feelings of guilt and failure. You’ve failed your diet plan.

When in reality, all you need to do is accept that you ate the cookie, and move on (more about this in step 3).

Although I do not condone diets or strict meal plans, I also recognize trying to eat healthy can be hard and sometimes we need something to follow or help us feel like we’re on the right track.

So, when you are looking at meal plans or specific “diets”, ask yourself the following 3 questions to make sure they are healthy and sustainable (because we’re here to create healthy habits for life, not just for 12 weeks).

  1. Does this plan include a good balance of all kinds of food? (Including healthy carbs, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and even small amounts of satisfying or “treat” foods)

  2. Does this plan allow for or support following an exercise program alongside it?

  3. Is this plan sustainable over the long term? (Meaning you could eat it as part of a healthy lifestyle)

 

No matter what kind of healthy eating journey you seek, or what kind of goal you want to accomplish, remember that any diet or plan that makes you feel like you are either “on” or “off” is not going to serve you in the long run.

Also, speak kindly to yourself. It’s normal to have good times and rough times. Instead of living in the black or white, can you live in the gray? The gray is a place of self love, learning, and progress. It’s about making mistakes, learning from them, and ultimately feeling more peace with all kinds of foods.


 

TRUTH #2: FOOD IS NEUTRAL

Food is inherently neutral. This means it doesn’t have any value or meaning outside of nourishment for our bodies.

We often label certain foods as “bad” and other foods as “good”. You know, the chocolate, chips, soda, and breads are all “BAD”. But, vegetables, fruits, and water all are “GOOD”.

But, if we look at food this way, we lose sight of what food can be for us. If you eat a “bad” food, then you’re a “bad” person or a “bad” eater. If you eat a “good” food, you’re “good”.

There’s no reason for food to be labeled as good or bad because the perfect nutritional balance is a mixture of all kinds of foods.

When my clients tell me they’re going off soda for good, I ask them if they plan to never drink soda again the rest of their life. That’s a powerful question.

Instead of labeling foods and then trying to eliminate them, can we find a way to enjoy them in moderation? To feel in control when we are around them and not feel guilty or “bad” for enjoying them once in awhile.

Instead of listening to what society says about certain foods, ask yourself what that food does for you. How does a particular food affect you? This can be a great guide for knowing how and what. If a food makes you feel crummy or tired, it might be best used in moderation. If a food gives you energy or makes you feel better, add more of it into your diet!


 

TRUTH #3: SELF TALK IS POWERFUL

Lastly, self talk.

The words we say to ourselves are powerful. Powerful for good and powerful for bad.

It’s all about separating the rational from the irrational.

Take this scenario from the book “Intuitive Eating” to illustrate this point.

 

“I’ve been so good on my diet the last few weeks”

“I haven’t had any ice cream or candy or cookies”

“I’d sure love to have one of those brownies, but I can’t - I shouldn’t - I won’t”

“If I have a brownie, I’ll blow my diet”

“I won’t be able to stop eating the brownies”

“Oh, maybe just one will be ok”

 

 

“Oh, no - I shouldn’t have done that”

“That was really stupid”

“I have no willpower”

“I’m going to be out of control”

“It’s all my fault that I’m fat”

“Will I ever be able to lose weight”

 

 

Now you’re feeling:

Disappointment

Fear of future deprivation

Sadness

Fear of being out of control

Despair

 

 

You slowly take a second brownie

And a third brownie

Before you know it, you’ve gobbled up the whole plateful.

You’re stuffed and completely miserable.

 

Have you been there before? Your self talk brings you low. You tell yourself you’re not in control, you’re never going to be good enough, and ultimately that you’re not worth trying.

I know this may seem like an extreme example, but it’s very common! The worst about it - most times we don’t even recognize that we do this to ourselves!

We don’t often pay attention to our own self talk. It’s inherent. It’s automatic. But, it wears on us over time. So, instead of always spiraling down into depressed thoughts about our lack of control with food, here is a guide for changing your negative self talk into positive, uplifting, and useful self talk that will actually help you change your behavior.

 

Use the “glass half full” approach

When the negative self talk creeps in, notice it is a “glass half empty” approach. Then, change the negative self talk into a “glass half full” approach.

 

For example:

 

Half empty approach:

“I had a terrible week”

“I overate so many times”

“All I ate was sweets”

“I feel so fat”

“I’m such a failure”

 

Half full approach:

“I has some successes this week (name them)”

“I had many times when I honored my hunger”

“I had more sweets than I wished, but also had some other foods too”

“I’m feeling better about myself”

“I’m doing better little by little, I’m learning”

 

PHEW! That was a beast of a blog post! But, I truly hope you have received some actionable steps toward helping you avoid the cycle of diet perfection.

For more resources on making peace with food, read “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole. The book takes you through every step toward making ultimate peace with food.

If you’re looking specifically for relief with emotional eating, sign up for my free mini course “Make Peace with Food” where we dive deep into how to recognize and deal with your emotions without using food.

I’m here to help you in your journey toward feeling more safe around food, more confident in your ability to reach your goals, and love the body you’re in. You’re already doing great things!

Make Peace With Food - 5 Steps To Healing Your Relationship With Food And Overcome Emotional Eating

We eat.

 

All the time.

 

We eat when we’re hungry of course, but we also eat when we’re not. We eat when we’re bored, stressed, sad, excited, anxious. We eat at celebrations. We eat at events. We eat alone and we eat in crowds.

 

Food is often the center of everything we do.

 

It’s good though, because we have to eat to live. We have to eat to thrive, and we have to eat to fuel our bodies so we can do what we love.

 

But sometimes we don’t eat when we’re hungry and don’t stop when we’re full . In fact, did you know the actual definition of emotional eating is any type of eating that is not driven by biological hunger?

 

You mean to say emotional eating is not sitting on the couch with a pint of ice cream and a good chick flick? Precisely.

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Emotional eating comes in all forms. It affects all people in some way or another. And, it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes going out for drinks or dessert with friends is healthy for your mental and emotional health, even if you’re not hungry. Sometimes a bowl of ice cream for dessert is just fine.

 

The key is balance.

 

Where can you find a balance between living a full, rich life in control of your food choices, and living a life of fear around food, your relationship to it, and an overwhelming lack of control when surrounded by it?

 

Today is all about taking the simple steps to healing your relationship with food. To feeling comfortable around it, to feeling in control over it, and to feeling like you can enjoy any event or experience where food is present.

 

5 STEPS TO HEALING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD

 

STEP 1: STOP

Before putting anything in your mouth no matter what the situation, just stop. Stop for a moment. Stop to get in tune with your body and stop to get in tune with your mind.

 

What is your body telling you in this precise moment? In fact, ask yourself the simple question, “where am I at right now?” That’s all you need to do. Take a minute, stop, and evaluate where you are.


 

STEP 2: RECOGNIZE

Next, it’s time to recognize what’s going on in that moment. Once you’ve stopped, you’re now evaluating where you are. Are you truly hungry? Are you stressed? Bored? Frustrated?

 

Take a minute to recognize what your body is telling you. If you are biologically hungry, then eat. Otherwise, recognize the emotions happening inside of you. Can you pinpoint one particular emotion that’s strongest?

 

The key is to recognize what your body is telling you. That’s all you need to do. Listen to your body for a moment. Figure out the message it’s trying to send.

 

STEP 3: DISTRACT OR DEAL

Once you’ve figured out the message, you have one of two options. You can distract from the emotion by getting away and doing something that takes your mind off it for a while, or you can deal with the emotion.

 

Take a minute to decide what distraction might be healthy for you. Are you stressed or burned out from the day? Try a simple walk around the block to see if it clears your mind or gives you a little burst of energy. Are you eating because you’re bored? Try grabbing the nearest book to read, clean something, or pick up a hobby.

 

Distraction can help get your mind off the food and onto something that will help the emotion.

 

If you choose to deal with the emotion, find a way to eliminate it as much as possible. Are you angry at someone? Give them a call and work things out? Are you overly stressed about a project at work? Spend 30 minutes on it and then be willing to walk away after that knowing you did your best.

 

Either way you choose to deal with your emotions can be beneficial. Sometimes it’s a lot to deal with them, so we just need a distraction for a bit. That’s ok.

 

Just remember to stay away from the food during this time so as not to create more temptation.


 

STEP 4: LEARN

Now that you’ve stopped, recognized, and dealt or distracted, what can you learn from this experience? Was there a particular method that worked well for you? Did you still crave the food? Did the emotions disappear? Did you ignore the emotions and eat anyway?

 

Ask yourself questions surrounding the event. What did you need at that precise moment and how did you handle it?

 

If you want, use a food journal or an emotions journal to help you document the scenario and subsequent scenarios surrounding your relationship with food.

 

Learn from the process. Sometimes failures are our best learning experiences. Learn from what went wrong, and keep doing the things that were a success.

 

STEP 5: REPEAT

Lastly, repeat. Repeat these 5 steps every time you are driven to emotional eating. Or every time you are driven to eat when you’re not biologically hungry.

 

Repetition and practice are the keys that will help you overcome any issues you have with food, the availability of food, forbidden foods you’re nervous to be around for fear of overeating, or wanting to enjoy the party without obsessing over the food.

 

Anytime you struggle with your relationship with food, follow these 5 steps to help you work through any emotion or situation you are experiencing.

 

A life of finding peace with food is possible. Try these 5 steps today. And, if you need more help gaining control over emotional eating, take my free mini Make Peace with Food training. This training is a series of 3 videos to help you recognize and understand your eating patterns and use the right keys to start improving your relationship with food. 

 

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5 Ways to Involve the Family in Fitness

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As a mother, you juggle many different things.

 

You are constantly trying to do your best at home, at work, keep up with friends, family, and everything else that comes under your umbrella of responsibility.

 

If you get any time alone to yourself, you might find it a great time to sneak in some quick exercise. In fact, if you can, get up earlier than the rest of the family and take a little time to get moving. You’ll feel more energized and ready for the day. Plus, you won’t have the weight of exercise later in the day when things get more chaotic with dinner, homework, bedtime and everything else. Need a quick workout for yourself? Click the button below to download the 6 week exercise plan and tracker you can do at home!

 

 

But, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of being able to exercise by yourself, or you’re looking for ways to get your family more active together. Involving your family in fitness can bring you closer together in so many ways.

 

Today’s post is a simple guide to involving the family in fitness. It’s all about making movement and exercise fun for everyone no matter if they’re a younger kid or a teenager.

 

The key is to get them moving, exercising, and finding joy in fitness. So, start off easy by trying one or two nights per week. Then, as you feel comfortable, add a weekend, or even let the kids come up with a routine for themselves. They might really enjoy it!

 

5 UNIQUE WAYS TO INVOLVE THE FAMILY IN FITNESS

 

MAKE IT A GAME

Grab a deck of Uno cards and get sweating! Assign an exercise to each different color, then have everyone draw a card. You do your exercises together for 30 seconds and then draw another one! Check out this website for exercise ideas and rules of the game.

 

For younger kids, this is a fun game that involves exercises based on the letters in their name.

 

Or, grab yourself a beach ball and some markers for a fun workout that can be done inside or out!


 

INVITE FRIENDS

Teenagers can be a tough crowd to get interested in playing games or spending time exercising with family. They usually just want to hang out with their friends.

 

So, as a trick for getting teenagers to enjoy exercise and fitness, allow them to invite their friends over for games that require more people. This is a win-win for both of you. Try playing some frisbee, tennis, dodgeball, or anything that requires a group of people. Even the little kids in the group will enjoy playing with the big kids.


 

GO TO THE LOCAL GYM OR REC CENTER

Does your local gym or rec center have a basketball court, swimming pool, or track? Head over after dinner for a quick round of “horse”, or do some drills on the track. This is typically an outing enjoyed by all ages.

 

If your teenager is interested, have one parent accompany them in the weight room to teach them about lifting weights. This is also a great way to deal with the stress of life faced by teenagers. Once they have a general idea of what to do, let them have some time alone to navigate the weights and find what they enjoy.


 

CRANK UP THE MUSIC

No plans to go out for the night? Throw on some pumping music to get energized. This might help motivate everyone to move quickly through cleaning chores, dance together, or keep little ones occupied while you get things picked up.

 

Some families love dance parties. If this fits your family, then go for it. If you’re not dancers, the loud music can still motivate everyone to get moving. In fact, make a game out of how quickly chores can be finished and the house can get cleaned up. Once the chores are done, they get the night off! This is especially appealing to teenagers.


 

What do you do to involve the family in fitness? Remember, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Just start with one or two activities and build from there. Bonus points for lessons taught during this time about why it’s important to take care of our bodies and be active every day.

 

Now, get out and play!