What is the single most common, biggest, most overwhelming and likely to occur challenge when it comes to weight loss?
It takes more than a good plan, good intentions, and basic nutritional information to override the emotional tsunamis that roll over and through us without turning to food.
Managing difficult situations and feelings effectively is a big part of what we are doing here. Emotional eating has all to do with the mind; little to do with the food.
There are many proactive measures that we can take to get a hold of our emotions and ground ourselves. These actions range from relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing to turning to our message board for support.
However, these actions take time. After all, you don't always have the time to take a hot bath or a long walk in the middle of emotional upheaval.
Here follows a 3-step CURE! Yes, follow these three easy steps and you can get past the emotional roller coaster, hold your ground and learn something about yourself in the process.
Step 1: Stay Grounded
Emotional eating happens when you lose your connection to your grounded self.
Nine times out of ten, emotional eating is triggered by a 'mind storm' of thoughts. Chances are that your mind is caught in a web of worst-case scenarios, projections into the future, and misinterpretations of a situation. In addition buttons have been pushed, and who knows what else. You are in overdrive.
This emotional tsunami turns what may have been a relatively simple challenge into something that feels overwhelming. Feelings of fear or shame can surface. All of which can send sending you running into the kitchen or the vending machine.
The objective is to stay grounded in the moment of stress, thus giving you space to get a grip and move away from food.
Here are a few simple things you can do at a moment's notice that can help to keep you grounded the next time your switches are flipped, your buttons are pushed and/or you are spiraling out of control.
BREATHE. Take in a few deep breaths. It is truly amazing how powerful breathing can be.
LOOK. Take a look around, noticing and naming the colors and shapes in the space around you. Thus, occupying your mind long enough for you to calm own.
NOTICE PHYSICAL SENSATION. You might note that your jaw is clenched, or that your stomach has that all too familiar sinking feeling.
It is a simple technique, and it works. If you stay in your body and in the moment, you are no longer inside your head and you can ground yourself.
Step 2: Reality Check
Now that you are calm enough to think clearly and productively you can make note of your thought patterns, and when necessary, turn them around.
Black and White Thinking
Example: You go over your calorie limit and/or eat something that you theoretically "should not," and then you decide to keep eating because you've already "blown it" for the day. You are on a downward spiral, feeling guilty, not liking yourself.
Reality: Weight loss is not a one-day event. If you stop overeating now, you'll gain less and have less to re-lose later. That's something to feel good about!
Your Interpretation: Reading your own thoughts into someone else's words.
Example: Someone made a remark that feels critical or unsupportive, and you begin to unravel and feel distressed, distraught and devastated.
Reality: Did the other person mean to be critical? Or was it your own feelings about yourself surfacing? Are you overreacting? When you are secure and happy with yourself, what others say won't matter nearly as much.
Feeling Badly for Others
Example: Something is going badly for someone you care about, and you feel responsible, or pressured to fix it.
Reality: It's not up to you to fix things. You are responsible for your own life.
Step 3: Putting Things Into Perspective
One of the most valuable tools you can learn in weight loss and life is to keep things in perspective. Most common problems that you face in everyday life are much easier to handle when you keep them in perspective. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you aren't in the mountain-making business:
1. Does this problem fall into the "this too shall pass" category? Or Not? If it does, GREAT! If not, you've got a real problem!
2. Do I need to make a decision about this right now? Or can I let it play out a bit, giving me enough time to get perspective?
3. Am I worrying about something that may not even happen?
4. Do I have all the information I need to decide how to respond to this?
5. Do I really know what's going on here, or am I making assumptions?
6. Am I worrying about things that might not even happen?
7. What do I need to check out before taking action?
8. Is there anything I can do right now that will change or help this situation?
9. Am I trying to control something I can't, like what other people think, say, or do?
10. Have I really thought through this problem, and broken it down into manageable pieces I can handle one-at-a-time?
Use this approach whenever your thoughts or situations begin to feel overwhelming, and you'll quickly find that the mountains that seem impossible at first can quickly morph into what they really are--manageable hills that you DO have the ability to climb. All it takes is three little minutes of your time.
Spread the word... NOT the icing!