I spoke with a Peaceful Weight Loss client this week. She said (jokingly, but not) that she was looking for her “Aunt” in the fridge. She correlated the search for late night foods (you know, the bluurrr from 5pm-bedtime) to longing for someone or something. The food brings temporary comfort—something most of us can understand (especially if you’re part of the PWL community at large).
I can certainly relate this metaphor. When we’ve struggled with our weight, food is an issue. It manifests in different ways for each of us; we don’t eat enough much of the time, we eat too much; we starve then binge, we binge then starve, too much, too little….on and on. The key ingredient is the suffering.
We often think that it’s our feelings—missing our Aunt—that bring us to binge or eat in a way that isn’t working for us. But here’s the thing. It’s not just filling the space and soothing our emotions that we are doing and it’s not our feeling blue that is our eating problem. Often when we are “searching” for what to eat, the simplest thing is right in front of us: We haven’t fed ourselves enough nourishing, yummy food (you fill in the blank of what that is for you) and we land in a place of both blood sugar crashing and the need for satiation. The difficult feelings make it a perfect storm. But we are extremely resilient human beings that have been through lots of hard things. And if our blood sugars are stable and we consistently allowed (or not deprived) ourselves satisfying food/s, the feelings would just be there, by themselves, not causing an unbearable barrage, exacerbated by starvation, exhaustion, and fear (of when and what we’re going to eat again).
So I leave you with this. Your loss and struggles are real. You are also strong and capable. Enough sleep, water, practice(!), and regular eating throughout the day from the time you wake will set you up for less and less food behaviors that aren’t serving you anymore. But don’t take it from me. Do an experiment this week and find out for yourself.
- Eat 6 times/day. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack daily.
- Get 8 hours of sleep/night
- Drink 8ish cups of water/day
- Eat things you like, even if someone or something told you they’re “bad”.
See if by putting your effort towards these things brings you more comfort and ease. Maybe this will also allow you to miss your Aunt, rather than search for her in the fridge.
May we all be peaceful,
Here it is! New years again. A time for reckless abandon where we swear we will do things differently in the coming year so that we can eat whatever we want now.
What a perfect recipe for low self esteem. Waking up onJanuary 1st and saying to ourselves “I should not have done that”. “I really shouldn’t have eaten like that”. I’m going to humbly suggest that we look at this new year’s differently.
Let’s ask ourselves a question. What do we really want out of the new year’s holiday? Do we want to celebrate with friends? With family? Do we want to feel less alone in the world? Do we want to feel more alive? Do we want to skip it this year and go to bed early?
All of these are really legitimate ideas. There is probably a way for you to move towards any of these goals. Make dinner plans – go to a candlelight yoga class – go to church or temple – take a hot tub – invite someone over and watch a movie – go to the movies by ourselves – take a hike – you get the idea.
What we don’t need to do to move towards our goal is binge eat. It doesn’t take us anywhere. It doesn’t solve our problems, or connect us to the world around us. Wherever we are this new year’s eve, let us allow it to be pleasant. Whether that’s going out all night because it’s fun, curling up with a movie because it’s relaxing, or anything in between. We can eat what want but let’s not do that eating as celebration leading to despair thing this year.
That’s my plan—join me!
As always comments and intentions are welcomed. Share on our facebook page, or email me back!
May we all be held and happy this new year’s and in the coming year.
Getting to the Bottom of your emotions. Did the title get your attention? I thought it might. And the answer is: We can’t. Well, not when it comes to eating anyway
Sure, we all know that we tend to eat more poorly when we are experiencing strong emotional states. And it’s only logical to figure that if we can just understand these states then we will be able to do something about them. What follows is that we will be less volatile and voila!! No more binging or emotional eating.
The thing is – it doesn’t usually work that way. Food behaviors are deep. I mean really deeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Possibly starting in early childhood or even in utero. That’s why hundreds of clients have shared with me that they understand themselves but their behaviors aren’t changing.
Now I’m not saying that self awareness isn’t important as a piece of our healing puzzle. But it is only a piece. Usually we have to engage ourselves on many levels in order to change behaviors that are wired in this way. This is why yoga is so useful. There are different aspects of the mind and body that have to be engaged to rewire ourselves. When we simply try to use psychology to solve our problem(s) we are only working with a piece of the puzzle.
Most importantly – there is no “bottom” of our emotional states like there is a bottom of a pint of ice cream or popcorn bucket. We can generate endless amounts of emotional content. Once we realize this, we can be free to look at our total experience to balance ourselves.
So let go of the self loathing thoughts around why you can’t stop eating when you’re stressed. Instead, become aware at what is going on and use your energy to balance your entire system. This will always lead you to a better place. Peace is our birthright.
As always, please find me if you need any help starting or continuing this process.
May we all find peace today.
With great love and respect,
One of the most common questions I get asked at my seminars is how to stop binging behavior. Often we binge eat to repress unwanted emotions. I commonly hear fear and loneliness being cited as reasons for binging. I also see that it is comforting for many people. I would like to offer my perspective on this complex problem with which many of us are dealing.
Binge eating to supress emotion is habit-forming. So you may be suppressing emotions which are currently being generated. You may also be in the habit of suppressing these emotions with food, even though the emotions themselves have resolved. It is important to stay open to this possibility. We must always be ready to be done with our problems, or we will always be living with them. Either way, we are addicted to the state of deadened feeling. Our practice is to open ourselves up and enhance our awareness. We then get addicted to this open, aware state and it gradually overtakes our need for deadened states.
‘Gradually’ is a key concept here. If we force ourselves to stop binging right away, it is possible those emotions will come up and release before we are ready. The uncomfortable feeling this produces can send us right back into binging behavior—possible more intense than before. We must first establish our practice of enhancing awareness in a safe way so that we can get used to idea and feeling of being aware. As we realize that it is actually liberating to live in fuller awareness, the need to suppress emotion diminishes naturally.
So we practice yoga asana with awareness on the breath first. We sync breath and movement to allow ourselves to feel prana (energy) move in our body. As we get used to this feeling, it becomes uncomfortable to block this feeling with food.
We also spend time doing deep relaxation to keep our nervous system in check. This helps us stay in a state of receptivity and awareness, and away from fear-based responses.
Finally we practice meditation. This allows us to separate from reacting so much to thoughts and emotions.
Once these practices are firmly established, then we may work on curbing our binges. When these practices are in place, we are able to see clearly if we are ready to stop. Often we are. But, as always, we take a slow, compassionate path with ourselves. We allow our natural awareness to shine first and help us wash away the behaviors that are not serving us.
As always please email me with any thoughts or questions
Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu
May all beings be free and happy