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Do you stress eat??

It’s not the most fun topic to talk about — stress-eating. We’ve all been there. It’s been a long day, we’re exhausted, and the Oreos that don’t usually tempt us just look so good. Or maybe you’ve even been caught in a cycle that looks like this:

  • You feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.

  • You overeat.

  • You feel guilty and ashamed for overeating (and even more stressed, anxious, upset, etc.).

  • You commit to “doing better” next time. You may even sign up for a new diet or come up with some rigid “rules”.

  • Once again, you feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.

  • You overeat.

And the cycle continues. What if we could break that cycle? I have some tips to help you do it! It all starts with self-observation. Those feelings and behaviors didn’t come out of nowhere. Something led to them.

1. Remember the most recent food/eating episode that you felt didn’t go well (maybe you ate more than you wanted, reached for foods you don’t actually love, etc.).

2. What was happening right beforehand? Make sure to include these details:

  • Where were you?

  • What were you doing?

  • What were you thinking?

  • What were you feeling?

  • Who was with you?

3. Keep going back in time a bit further (as in, 3-5 hours earlier).

  1. Where were you?

  2. What were you doing?

  3. What were you thinking?

  4. What were you feeling?

  5. Who was with you?

4. Now read back through what you’ve written. What do you notice? Does anything jump out to you? It’s okay if you don’t have any huge “a-ha!” moments the first time you complete this exercise. Try it a few times and begin seeking patterns and trends. Chances are high you’ll start noticing connections between certain situations, people or feelings that led to overeating or other challenging food situations. For example, you might notice:

  • Every time you have a stressful day at work, you crave wine and chocolate in the evening.

  • During the 3-4 days leading up to your period starting, your hunger levels skyrocket.

  • When you have an argument with your partner, you find yourself not eating all day and then overeating at night.

Once you’ve gathered some information and noticed patterns, it’s time to take action and come up with creative solutions.

In addition to these self-observation techniques, I want to encourage you to do something that might feel a little counterintuitive: Rather than beating yourself up about stress-eating, take a self-compassionate approach. This might be the first time in your life you do this, and that’s okay. It can feel a bit strange at first! When we feel bad about ourselves or our actions, it can make stress eating worse. That means now is actually the perfect time to start practicing self-compassion. I’m not talking about ignoring your problems or giving yourself permission to eat whatever you want. True self-compassion is an attitude of generosity, honesty, and kindness towards yourself. Self-compassion can prevent you from sinking into that “screw it” mindset that often leads to stress-eating or even bingeing. Here’s how to do it effectively: when you mess up, give yourself a break. Step back and look at the big picture. Notice what you’re doing, thinking and feeling without judging it. Remind yourself that everybody goes through this sometimes. And that’s okay. If this feels kind of wierd at first, I get it. Just keep practicing. Like any skill, self-compassion takes practice and repetition. I promise it’s effective and powerful. Let’s be honest — breaking the cycle of stress-eating can be challenging on your own. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle it alone. If you looking for a support group of coaches and other clients to help guide you through your nutritional journey then the next 6 week program starts Sept 28th. This program is designed work with your lifestyle, not create more stress in it. If you need more information on this program then message me back and I will get you all the details.

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