“Food Calms Me Down”

It’s a famfood calms me downiliar refrain that I have heard often from my clients.

I used to think the same thing. That is . . . if I took time to think about it at all.

If what you need is to be calm, then there may not be faster ways to do it, but there are far better ways to do it, with fewer negative consequences.

What it takes to calm down is to get better at managing your moods. It takes SKILL, (not willpower) to break habits and to separate food from feelings.

Yes, you may have to break the habit of reaching for food automatically (more on that later), but it’s not willpower that you lack.

Instead, work on developing emotional management skills using real tools, such as:

1. Emotional Freedom Techniques – (EFT) Tapping is the first line of defense. Why? It does 1 thing really well – neutralizes negative emotions.

2. Learn to identify and feel your feelings instead of stuffing them with food. Yes, food is a quick fix and a convenient “mute” button for emotions, but there’s always a price to pay.

3. Learn to “think” differently about how you feel. You can’t necessarily “think” your way out of a negative emotional situation in the moment, but there are strategies you can use to help yourself calm down.

4. Set boundaries and increase assertiveness skills. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control when there are fewer demands.

5. Hitting the “pause” button. When you find yourself reaching for food, hit the imaginary pause button, long enough to ask yourself a couple of questions. Am I hungry? Will this help? If you are intent on eating, then it may not stop you, but at least you start to face the truth.

Your turn – What helps you to manage your moods?

Too Much Stress Eating? Libertyville Life Coach Says Try This…

Too much stress eating?

I was talking to a friend the other day, who had a really great idea. Inside her snack cabinet, she posted a note, with the simple question:

“Why are you here?”

Then she lists a few choices –

  1. You are hungry
  2. You got triggered by an emotion
  3. You want a reward
  4. You are procrastinating

If it’s not #1 (You are hungry), then it makes you stop and think about what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Of course, you can ignore the note, or simply declare “I don’t care!” if you want it badly enough. But at the very least, it should give you a chance to pause…at least some of the time.

Of course, if you want to be really clever, you can devise stress eating strategies for each response, so that you start to learn more about how you feel, and what you need. A little bit of planning goes a long way.

5 Steps To Managing Your Stress Eating Triggers

What’s a stress eating trigger? Anything that makes you want to eat. It could be something you see, hear, or smell. It could also be a thought or an emotion emanating from inside you. Yes, your own self talk could trigger the urge to eat!

The trigger is the WHY.

So it might go like this – “every time I feel tired, bored or frustrated, I have the urge for something sweet.” Continue reading

Women Food and God on Oprah

Women, Food and God” will be featured on the Oprah show this week, with Geneen Roth, author of 7 books on compulsive eating. Geneen has always been masterful at describing her compulsive eating and compulsive dieting in artful detail. This book discusses the process of her retreat students, as well as the connection of spirituality and compulsive eating. Continue reading

Stress Eating Is NOT The Problem

I can’t tell you how many posts I have read with statements like “I am gaining weight because I am stress eating!”

Many people seem to have an awareness that something is driving them to eat, and it’s easy to focus on that as the problem.

Stress eating itself is NOT the problem. It is whatever is driving you to turn to a drug, like food in the first place. When you are done eating the cookies, what drove you to the cookies in the first place is still there. Continue reading

Stress Eating Warning!

Whenever I walk into the lab to have blood work done, there is a sign that reads

Unattended children will be given an expresso and a free puppy!

It makes me smile whenever I see it. Even though it’s only a small, handwritten sign, the message is loud and clear!

Your behavior has consequences!

So I wondered if we should have a warning for stress eating. After all, stress eating does cause bulges and makes people miserable.

And now, new research shows that as you gain weight, your brain shrinks! Yes, it’s true! Research at UCLA shows that brains of obese, elderly people looked 16 years older than their healthy counterparts. Brains of overweight people were the equivalent of 8 years older.

Most of the brain tissue is lost in the frontal and temporal lobes, the seat of memory and decision-making, which results in a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Here is yet another reason to stop stress eating, in addition to higher risks of cancer, diabetes and heart disease that go along with overweight conditions. Hang onto your brain cells – you may need them!