Returning to wholeness

Women Returning to Wholeness

Emotional Eating

Nip Holiday Stress in the bud with these 3 Mantras Ideally the Holiday Season is a time of fun, celebration and connection. Unfortunately for many of us it becomes also a time of increased stress.

Before you continue reading, I’d like you to mentally or, even better, physically write down the three top stressors for you when you think about the time between now and Christmas.

 

Okay, now read them and check off which category they fall into:

Feeling overwhelmed – for example

  • having too much to do (and not enough time)
  • by the crowds and the busyness everywhere
  • relapsing into an addictive behaviour

Worrying about expectations – for example

  • disappointing others and/ or being disappointed
  • not doing it right
  • not being good enough
  • lack of harmony with family members

Money – for example

  • overspending
  • going into debt

Weight gain

  • Worrying about how to navigate your relationship with food and your body with all the extra parties and tantalizing food

Here are three mantras / mind shifts to help you manage and significantly reduce  stress not only over the next few weeks but in general.

  1. I will not abandon myself when I most need my own supportHow to Manage anxiety and stress during the Holidays

It is so easy, and often an ingrained habit and what were taught as women, to put  our own needs at the bottom of the list. Every time you do something that you think you should, you’re most likely abandoning yourself. 

Every time you’re saying yes when you want to say no, you’re abandoning yourself. Especially during the holidays, if it’s not fun don’t do it. 

A good way to identify whether you’re caught up in a “should” is to stop and check in with your body. Typically when you’re honoring your own needs, when you’re trusting your inner voice, your body will feel more open and relaxed. When you’re doing something because you think you “should” your body will be contracted or tense in some way, you’re probably attached to the outcome, and you’re somehow trying to convince yourself that this is a good thing.  Whenever you’re caught up in a “should” there’s some sort of expectation attached to it. Which leads us to the second mantra or mind shift.

2) I am not responsible for nor do I have the power or control over other people’s thoughts and feelings

When you’re worrying about disappointing others, not meeting expectations and trying to avoid Let go of co-dependent behavior conflict, you’re typically caught up in the myth that somehow you can control the outcome.

But you have to remember that people are going to have their own thoughts and interpretations, independently of what you do. We all choose the thoughts we think and nobody can control that.

We’re all responding to a story we’re creating in our mind based on something that happened in the past or that we anticipate in the future.

If you can truly accept that you can only do your best, while coming from a place of love and you let go of the outcome, you will be able to shift  into a lot more spaciousness in your life.

3) This is not a crisis 

Most of the things that we get stressed out about are not a crisis.

If you stay in the present moment only moment, and take a deep breath and reframe, most likely Stress and anxiety management for womennothing terrible is happening right now.

All the things you’re getting stressed out about are happening in the future and in your mind.

If you are going to honor your budget and buy less expensive gifts for others and for some reason they interpret that as a lack of love on your behalf, that is a choice and a consequence you have no control over.

If you’re stuck in traffic or in a lineup and you’re freaking out about your to do list and the time schedule, most likely many of the things on your list are not essential to life and survival. Less is more 🙂 Take a breath and use the time creatively. Listen to an audiobook, call a friend…

If you do allow yourself to indulge in dessert and you gain 3 pounds, trust your body and trust that you will self regulate especially if you’re learning to listen to your body. (email info@goddessrevealed.ca me for a free set of eating guidelines that will help you thru the holidays)

When stress sets in we tend to do upper chest and shallow breathing. So instead of getting caught up in the stress and putting yourself last, increase your level of self-care. Take mindfulness breaks during the day that nurture you. Make a point of regularly taking five big breaths into your belly to get grounded and reconnect to yourself and the present moment.

Repeat the three mantras to yourself as often as needed and remember that you are not alone, we are all connected to Source energy and the Divine. Focus on having positive thoughts and trust that everything is always working out for you.

I wish you serene and stress-free Holidays.

When you’re stressed or anxious your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol makes you crave sugary and high calorie foods like chocolate, ice cream, donuts or pizza, just to name a few.

When you eat these foods your body responds by producing a hormone called serotonin.

Serotonin can be considered a “happy” hormone, as it greatly influences an overall sense of well-being.

Essentially wanting to eat certain foods is your body’s way to stop producing stress hormones and start producing pleasure hormones.

Here are 3 stress management and wellness tips to stop stress eating

1)  Take a deep breath

and another one and another one. Often when you’re stressed your breathing is very shallow and your body contracts. Neither one of these things feel good. By focusing on taking deep breaths right into your belly, you bring oxygen into your system and your body automatically relaxes. You can increase the calming effect by soothing yourself with a reassuring phrase like “It’s going to be ok.”, “I can do this.”, “I am safe.”.

2) Laugh

Laughing is often the best anxiety and stress help. Being able to laugh at yourself can heal you of any emotions that you are going through.

And remember the stress hormone cortisol? Well, laughter releases certain cells that suppress cortisol…. so no wonder it feels good and is good for you. Start an emergency laughter kit. Watch funny movies. Read funny stories.

3) Get your body moving

Take a brisk walk, do some stretching, play some music and do a jig. Exercise helps lower cortisol and other stress hormones in your body. The key is to do something you enjoy. So tune into your body and let it tell you how it would like to move.

Learning how to cope with stress differently and tapping into other resources will help you stop emotional eating. If you have come to a place in your life where you need to lose weight because you have diabetes or other health concerns and you need anxiety and stress help, or if you’re simply tired of yo-yo dieting this Coaching Program can help you.

 

Do you make negative associations with Anger? You’re not alone. Few of us had “healthy anger” role models. For many, expressing anger or being at the receiving end of anger brings up a whole range of uncomfortable emotions.

If you’re a woman, you might struggle even more, because you may have been taught to internalize your anger.

When anger has you heading to the cupboards, you can easily end up overeating while trying to express or rather repress what you’re feeling.

Did you know that suppressed negative emotions have been linked to causing serious illness like cancer?

Scientific research shows that negative emotions can affect the pH level of your body. Feelings like anger, revenge or hate create metabolic acids. When you suppress these emotions, over time, you increase your potential of high acid levels that can impact the potential for cancerous growth in your body.

So let’s step away from hurting yourself and look at some ideas for expressing your anger rather than stuffing it down.

  •   Vent on paper – do “the angry opera”

Use your journal or perhaps you have a file on your computer… and tell it like it is. Don’t  hold back. You don’t have to worry about anybody hurting you back, or about stepping on someone’s toes.

Express how you feel and how angry you are and get it out of your system. You could even write a letter (that you may choose to send or not) to the person who hurt you or who you are angry with.

Often getting it all out without holding back can give way to calmer feelings.

Because in my counselling practice, I  use an integrated mind – body approach I always encourage you to also release that pent up energy in some physical way.

Writing gives shape to your thoughts of hurt and anger.

But what about your clenched jaw, your tight throat, the knot in your stomach and the tension in your body?

Ideally you would have a safe space where you could shout or holler, make faces to stretch your jaw. Jump up and down, stomp your feet, do an “anger dance” or pound a pillow. Your car (not moving in traffic or with passengers) can be a great place to give vocal expression to your anger.

And always… don’t forget to breathe. Belly breaths activate the para-sympathetic nervous system and will calm you down.

  • The Serenity Prayer

Do you know the serenity prayer? It starts like this

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

When you’re angry or frustrated about something, it helps to have some sense of control. Take a look at what’s going on for you and decide if there’s anything you can do to improve the situation.

Sometimes there is and sometimes all you can do is learn from what happened so it doesn’t happen again.Consider that by eating you are stepping into the passive role of the victim. By taking assessment of what you can do, you also take some of your power back.

  •  Be assertive

Do you eat when others talk down to you, criticize you or take advantage of your good nature?

Don’t forget that you have a right to your own views, emotions, values and opinions. You have the right to say NO. And you have a right to feel good about yourself.

Get into the habit of sticking up for yourself. Someone picks on you – tell them to stop it. Set boundaries. By being assertive, you may find that some people will back down. Nobody has the right to treat you badly.

If you’re not used to asserting yourself, you might consider taking an assertiveness training class.

If anger has caused trauma in your life and is impacting how you respond and deal with this emotion today, solution focused counselling can help you.

 

Emotional eating can have different triggers. During one of the last calls of the Stop Emotional Eating Coaching Program   one of the participants shared that she noticed a lot of her emotional eating happened when she felt bored.

Here are 3 tips to shift out of boredom and stay away from the cupboards:

Many years ago, when I was training in Dance Movement Therapy and Ritual Theater, at some point during the exercises I would find myself overwhelmed with feelings. At the time, that felt scary and “not good enough” and a typical reaction was to tell myself that I had to “get a grip.”

How often do you tell someone in your life…yourself perhaps… to get a grip?  To get it together?

Other versions of this are “What’s the matter with you?”

Because really and truly, what is the matter with you? Why are you unhappy or depressed or feeling anxious? Why are you unsatisfied with your life? You have no reason. You have a good life, a good partner, a job and a roof over your head. Think about all the people on this planet who are so much worse off than you are.

It doesn’t make sense!!

If this type of inner dialogue sounds familiar, then you also know that these kinds of thoughts and feelings are very unsettling. If like many, you manage uncomfortable or painful feelings thru emotional eating, you might find yourself standing in front of the fridge or cupboard looking for that special treat which will make you feel better.

But what if it did make sense? What if there was NO thing wrong with you?

What if you were able to stop, breathe and stop censuring yourself?

If you were to allow yourself to sit in authenticity, your feelings surfacing without judgment?

What would happen?

You could find a gateway to your true self. You would be able to still the longings that have somehow gotten on the “forbidden” list.

You would not have to go looking for food again and again until you decide to punish yourself with a diet.

Three things are needed for the process of “allowing it to make sense.”

You need to let go of shame and find your courage so you can cultivate self-compassion.

If you can embody who you already are rather than trying to be something you’re not, you’re on your way to uncovering compassion.

Be present with yourself and trust your knowing.
Accept the awareness of your feelings and allow them to be good enough, to be perfect just the way they are.

That is your first step towards letting go of shame and practicing self-compassion.

Initially, this place of authenticity can be scary and uncomfortable, because the old voices in your head telling you that your feelings don’t make sense and you should “get a grip” do not disappear quietly. However, a practice of mindfulness and loving kindness towards what defines you in this moment will allow you to linger more often and for longer periods of time in your place of truthfulness.

Remember, authenticity is not a quality, it is a collection of choices that you make every day and every moment. The more you can love yourself and who you are, the less you will need to turn to food to stuff down how you really feel.

 

This in turn will allow you to heal your relationship with food and your body and break free from the pursuit of weight loss thru yo-yo dieting.

I leave you with a quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

“What if the question is not why I am so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?”
Warmly,

Ina

Eating Disorders Therapist North Vancouver, Counselling Burnaby

You might be tempted to do so  if you happen to watch the latest Nabisco Cookie commercial for the “Chips Ahoy Chewy Gooey Cookies”  because… “they are crammed with joy.” In my counselling practice for women, I specialize helping clients overcome emotional eating and address the root causes of depression.

Burnaby counselling for women helps you stop emotional eatingIn these times of stress many individuals struggle with increased depression and anxiety. As you may know, when you’re depressed, your serotonin levels are low. Low serotonin levels in turn trigger cravings for refined carbohydrates like cookies or chocolate.

When advertising helps instill the belief that a cookie is “crammed with joy” is it any wonder that the rate of emotional eating related weight gain is also on the rise?

Let’s not forget that children watch TV as well.
(The cookie commercial is geared towards children)  Between the age of 4 to 10, children develop  their ability to think. How many of us think to point out to a 6 year old that a cookie is actually not crammed with joy? To the average adult it is just advertising that we tune out. But somewhere in our brain and somewhere in the developing brain of our children this message gets logged.

So let me repeat my earlier question. Is it any wonder that emotional eating, Food Addiction and obesity are on the rise?

If we take another look at the connection between serotonin levels and cravings we also need to remember that low serotonin levels affect how you feel about yourself. Anyone who has ever felt depressed will recall that they weren’t exactly bursting with self-esteem at the time.

One of the most common grievances accompanying low self-esteem that clients share with me is their fear of weight gain and feeling too fat.

It is a dilemma. Sugar does raise serotonin levels momentarily, so it would appear that the Chips Ahoy Chewy Gooey cookies are indeed “crammed with joy”.

Personally I think I would like the ad better if it ended with one of those rapid monotonous voices we recognize from drug commercials which could say “Some side effects may apply. Eat with caution when depressed. The intense flavor may trigger binge eating, overeating or continuous grazing until the box is empty. After effects may include and are not restricted to weight gain, self-loathing, feelings of powerlessness”.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with Chewy Gooey cookies. As I always say to my clients:
There are no forbidden foods as long as you eat mindfully. So the next time you have a cookie, do enjoy and savor the smooth creamy fudge in the middle.

Then consciously take a breath, connect with your body and check in to see if you really want another cookie. Perhaps you do. If you find yourself eating  more than a whole handful, ask yourself what you are really hungry for in this moment.

Get help for depression and anxiety with Burnaby counsellingIt may well be that you are looking for a little bit of joy. And that is ok. But remember that you can make a choice. You can eat more cookies, or take another breath, put down the cookies and take a moment to remember what else gives you joy. Maybe you like to hug your pet, kiss your child, play a game, do some gardening…

Now check in again with your body. What is truly going to meet your need for joy in this moment?

No matter what choice you end up making, be present with yourself and give yourself permission to truly savor the moment and your chosen activity.

Does the way you eat reflect how your family ate when you were growing up?
Naturally thin individuals are more in tune with their bodies when it comes to food consumption than others who struggle with weight issues and dieting.

When you are in tune with your body, you can interpret the message from your brain “I’ve eaten enough” in a timely fashion. Research shows that, it takes longer for food signals from the stomach to reach the brain as a person becomes heavier.

If you are a “fast” eater, you most likely consume more food than your body actually needs to satisfy hunger.
Now there is a new gadget on the market to help people lose weight by getting them to eat more slowly.

Maclean’s published an article called “Eat Like a Snail” in their April 12th 2010 issue, which discusses the merits of “SMARTBITE”, an oral device which forces the wearer to only eat small bites and chew the food thoroughly before being able to swallow.

In my work with clients who struggle with Emotional Eating and bingeing, bringing awareness to the process of eating is the first step towards change.
Changing Emotional Eating does not mean to never have a piece of chocolate when your sad or stressed again….it does not mean continuous deprivation of all your favourite foods because you are on “a diet”.
It does mean savouring your choice of food. Involving all your senses.

As a child you most likely heard “don’t play with your food”. Perhaps you’re also familiar with phrases like “Finish what’s on your plate”. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you can’t have any desert”.
Naturally thin people are able to tune into their bodies because they most likely never had to learn to ignore their body’s messages.
Recapturing the signal our body sends us takes practice and mindfulness.

The next time you eat… engage all your senses. Pay attention to your environment. You cannot tune into your body if your mind is absorbed by the TV, the newspaper, unpleasant discussions, or when you are eating on the run.

Bring your awareness to the texture of what you’re eating, the aroma, the temperature. Enjoy the colors, the presentation. Take small bites. Chew thoroughly. You may find out that some foods (primarily fast food) does not taste that great when you chew it more than 4 or 5 times… all of a sudden it’s greasy, too sweet, etc. You may discover that less is more.

When less is more, you might be able to afford higher quality of food. As you rediscover the dialogue between your brain and your body, you might make different food choices… based on the nutritional desires of your body.

As you tune in, you might also ask yourself…what do I really need or want right now? Food? Or do you need a hug, a time out, a walk in the park, some reassurance from a friend?