A wise person once told me that unless I sat in the driver's seat of my vehicle there would always be someone else ready to jump in and drive my car for me - in the direction they wanted to go in, not where I wanted to go.
As a smart, capable, professional woman, I believe I've managed my life fairly well to this point. I’ve pursued an education, married a wonderful man, raised a family, am so proud of my children, and weathered some pretty serious storms along the way.
Why then couldn't I stop emotional eating?
Why did I allow the Hungry Monster to sit in the front seat of my car and shove me into the passenger seat?
My previous blog defines Emotional Eating as when our feelings, and not our bodies, dictate how much and when we eat. Food helps us feel better in the moment and is perhaps one of the easiest and tastiest ways to ignore our painful or challenging feelings simmering just below the surface.
"We have conditioned ourselves to connect emotions to food." (Cookie Rosenblum)
Emotional eating is driven by stress and anxiety, powerful signals that prompt our Hungry Monster to boot us out of the driver’s seat and take control of our vehicle entirely.
Are you ready to kick the Hungry Monster to the Curb?
Here’s the pearl of wisdom to help you win your battle with Hungry. This piece of advice is two-fold, but it’s so simple that it’s infinitely powerful.
1. Create Healthy Habits
2. Eliminate the habits that don’t support your health.
While it's an important step to begin to change our thinking and manage our stress more effectively, creating healthy habits and then practicing them consistently and persistently on a daily basis is the most important strategy to move you steadily toward success with your health.
Here’s an important Healthy Habit to add to your strategy: Keep a Health Journal.
Why should you journal? Well, keeping track of what you’re eating throughout the day and recognizing the feelings that go along with your food choices will keep you on track to achieve your health goals and allow you to become conscious of the choices you’re making.
Tracking what we eat, when we eat, and how we feel when we eat, informs us about stress and lifestyle.
Are you eating on the run? Distracted by the TV? Do you quickly stuff your feelings down after a challenging conversation? Are you trapped in the cookie jar after a difficult day at work? Do you even taste your food after the first bite? Are you paying attention to how your body feels after eating?
Keeping my own Health Journal helped me gather information about the patterns and habits I had created and here’s the empowering point…it gave me the chance to evaluate and correct my behaviour and shift my thinking along the way. This one habit can lead you to the creation of healthy new routines – listening to your body, hydrating more, and moving more, are just the beginning of creating healthy habits.
That one little act of keeping track every day helped me recognize my past dieting failures and overcome my rebellious acts of defiance. I grabbed that wheel from my Hungry Monster and moved back into the drivers’ seat of my own health vehicle.
The Hunger Scale Your Hungry Monster Will Hate
A health journal is not complete without a Hunger Scale. This tool is worth its weight in gold because it connects you with your body! You can clear the space and noise away to listen to the natural signals your body is sending to you.
It's truly freeing when you can be still long enough to feel and hear what your body is telling you. It requires patience, self-compassion and a deep commitment to your success on this journey. It means putting your needs first and believing that you are worth it; worth the time, energy, and work that it takes to push through and tame your Hungry Monster.
Your body is your best friend – from the cradle to the grave. It is worth it. Listen to her, honour her. Giver her what she needs and not necessarily what your Hungry Monster craves.
The hunger scale looks like this:
#1 is so hungry you could eat a horse and #10 leaves you feeling stuffed to the brim and uncomfortable - and guilty.
Your mission is to begin eating when you reach #3 on the scale and to stop eating at #7. The idea is to "stay in the light" - start and stop eating within the white or lightly shaded areas along the continuum.
Your WISER Health tip: Avoid the extremes of starving and stuffed. When we’re starving, we overeat. When we’re stuffed…well, there’s nothing healthy about being stuffed. Always listen to your body - if you are full at #5 it's Ok to stop. You get the idea...
How do you know when you've reached #3?
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Practice recognizing your body’s actual feelings of hunger versus a passing desire for ice cream or potato chips. If you haven't paid attention to your hunger signals until now, be patient. It all becomes easier with practice.
Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It:
1. Connect with me - I'll send you my Join the Journey Health Journal and Hunger Scale.
2. Print out a copy of the Health Journal and Hunger Scale.
3. Complete the Journal for one week.
4. Book a Free Join the Journey Strategy Call with me so we can evaluate what you’ve learned and create a plan for your healthy lifestyle success.
Wouldn’t you just love to kick that Hungry Monster to the curb and be in the driver's seat once and for all?!!!
I'd love to partner with you on this journey to Loving Your Body~Loving Yourself. I invite you to enjoy a complimentary strategy call where we’ll identify your next steps to taking back the wheel.