I am going through a serious crack-down phase on my habits. I read two books in the last few weeks that have both changed my life, “The Overweight Mind” and “The Power of Habit.” They were so eye-opening and I realized that if I want this healthy lifestyle that I’ve begun to live last the rest of my life, I need to change some deeply ingrained habits. Mostly, I need to change my habit of eating to soothe my emotions. Not when I’m hungry and my body needs fuel… nope, just to make me “feel” better.
My brain has learned that when I’m stressed, sad, angry, mad, fearful, or anywhere in between… that when I eat something delicious in a large quantity, I am temporarily calmed.
Temporarily being the key word here. Because NO food can address and deal with my emotions.
So I need a change. And the good news is that when a pathway is created in your brain it can not be erased, BUT it can be slightly tweaked! So, when I am triggered by an emotion, and am looking for the reward of calming or comforting that emotion… all I need to do is replace the action (or routine) that I’m used to doing.
Is it hard? Yes. Does it take a lot of effort? Yes. Do I sometimes slip up? Obviously. I’m human.
But it’s also WORKING!! I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve discovered a few things that are really effective for me right now. Everyone knows the regular, take a walk, or a bath, read a book…etc. list of things to do for self-care, but these are a few different ones that are helping me kick my binge-eating habit!
Essential oils — Find your favorite first of all. For me, it is DoTerra’s Deep Blue and I have it as a lotion that I carry around with me. Oh my goodness, it is heavenly. I get the physical sensation of it on my skin, it’s minty and tingly. And I get the wonderful smell which calms me and is so refreshing. This works because I am rewarded and comforted and it’s easy and quick!
Drink herbal tea — I have many, many boxes of tea. This has become a go-to to comfort myself especially in these colder months (who am I kidding, I’m cold any time of year). The hot liquid filling up your stomach is just lovely, and the wide array of flavors means you’ll never get bored. I carry tea bags in my purse all the time so yes I have become my mother. I’m cool with it.
Text people — How often when I want to emotionally eat, is it because I am longing for connection and community and love and acceptance? It’s not chocolate I want; it’s a friend. A listening ear. I don’t even have to tell them what’s going on or that I’m emotional and struggling in that moment… just a “hey, tell me how your day was” is enough to get me feeling like my heart is getting filled up. This can also help me take my mind off of myself and focus on loving others — which is always ultimately where joy and fullness of life come from.
Look at pinterest — Okay, I know this may sound silly but I love that pinterest is photos (which makes your brain happy to scroll through), and it’s not people I know (which helps me to not compare), and your feed can be whatever you want it to be, and there’s so much inspiring stuff on there! I browse good bible verses and quotes… I look at motivating fitness quotes (but I avoid fitness inspiration photos, which can be unrealistic and your body should not be compared to other people’s bodies… so watch out for that)… I search new recipes to try… I look at art…. It’s so fun and again, quick and easy!! I’ve found this is key. Let’s be real we can’t all drop everything to run home and jump into a hot bath when a big emotion hits. We need simple.
Squeeze a stress ball — This is a brand new one for me and wow — I didn’t know what I was missing. It’s like the easiest way to release anger and tension and stress. The key here is finding one you really will enjoy using… and I think there’s some trial and error here because I’ve used some that were not helpful at all, they just hurt my hand. So find a good one, I bought these and am obsessed.
The thing is… life is always and forever going to be full of big emotions. And if you usually deal with those emotions by going to the fridge or hiding in your pantry, don’t beat yourself up! Just figure out what those triggers are, and what you can do to replace the action but still get a good reward.
These are what’s working for me but your things may be totally different!! Allow yourself to experiment. Stay strong, and don’t give up! I’m praying for you.
You Are Enough
Don’t ever forget that okay? You are beautiful and precious and deserve good things — and I can’t tell you that enough! Look I even dedicated a side-bar-box-thing to it. God has a plan and a purpose for your life and He died and rose again because He wants to spend forever with you! Okay, read on. Important reminder over.
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“The glory of God is man fully alive.” St. Irenaeus
These are the 4 basic principles I’ve found myself eating by during this pregnancy. I’m so glad that in the year and half prior to this, I’ve solidified the desire and love of healthy habits – which made these things come naturally to me.
Sometimes I still get nervous to share my before/after photos. I have this idea in my head that people will look at it and only see how overweight I had become. I fear they will judge me. I think of all things they “probably” think about me…
What if you decided to finally lose the weight you’ve been trying to lose because you’re tired of not showing up in your world as your best, most energetic, vibrant self?