Have you tried every diet? Have you ditched sugar? Carbs? Tried cleanses? Gone Ketogenic? Whole 30? Chained yourself to a treadmill? Wired your jaw shut?
Ok, full disclosure, so have I. Then I read an amazing book that has nothing to do with food, but has everything to do with how we think, how aware we are and what’s really going on when we eat.
You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Stay with me, before I tell you about this concept, let me fill you in on a little secret about hunger. The truth is, most of us, myself included eat when… wait for it…..we eat when we’re NOT hungry.
Most of us eat when we’re:
- Trying to numb our feelings
- Watching TV
- Needing food to fill up some unmet needs
- Feeling that we need a little nurturing
Does this sound familiar?
One thing I hear from a lot of women is that after a long day at work or after finally getting the kids to bed or after care-giving, we drag ourselves to a comfy chair, grab the remote and our favorite treat because we have given absolutely everything we have to everyone else in our lives.
“I just need 10 minutes for myself.”
The truth is, we’re empty and haven’t had any of our needs met because we’re last on the list. So, of course we need to find a little happiness and comfort. That happiness and comfort often comes in a bowl, a large snack bag or on a plate. And, this is perfectly understandable, after-all no one is taking care of you.
Cravings aren’t always related to Hunger
A few years back, I realized that I was ending each day with a bowl of chocolate ice cream in front of the TV. It was one of the only things in the day that was just for me. The trouble was that the pounds that accumulated were also all just for me. That’s when I started reading Laurel Mellin’s book: The Diet-Free Solution
What I learned was to start pausing before eating or drinking and tap into what was really going on. Was I hungry for food, or was it my routine. Was I bored or tired, what was I really hungry for.
What I did and what I now recommend with my patients is this keep a Food Diary. You can find complete instructions here: link to the post on How to Keep a Food Diary)
Shame Free Zone
As you go through the process of becoming more aware of your patterns with food, how and what you eat, please, please don’t layer shame, judgment and guilt on top. Be kind to yourself and just notice what’s happening. You’re on a voyage of self-discovery here, gathering information. This is not an exercise in beating yourself up or making you feel worse.
If you are straying toward the dark side and negative self-talk, take a page out of Jen Sincero’s book, You are a Badass and forgive yourself already. You’re learning, just like all the rest of us. As she says, “You too are just a little bunny trying to work it all out.”
This article on mindful eating is also very helpful.