Welcome to the ‘eating season!’  It is in full swing.  While I hear people sharing their plans for Thanksgiving, we are talking about the food we will all eat.  The talk and temptation of food coupled with cold temperatures that encourage us all to stay indoors, make food and eating all the more alluring to snuggle up to.  It’s everywhere, it’s legal, it’s socially encouraged!  

But for a lot of us, food has become a foe dressed up like a friend.  A good looking, always available, never-says-no friend.  But then after we have spent time with this friend, often in front of the TV, we don’t always feel better.  In fact, we often feel worse.  

In her book, “The Hunger Fix,” Peeke talks about food addiction and recovery.  She talks about how what we are seeking is not in the refrigerator and what happens in our brains when we eat certain foods.  It’ just like getting high!  You get a bunch of dopamine initially but then all the guilt and shame come rushing in. 

My favorite litmus test from Peeke is: “If I eat this, will I feel guilt or shame later?”  (I love this because you can apply to just about any behavior and it can be really eye opening but we will stick with food for now.)  I love carbs and sugar, I might even say I am addicted – most Americans are.  So, I’m certainly not throwing stones from my glass house.  

Don't keep in the house.

The best way to keep yourself from mindlessly eating garbage in front of the TV is to just not allow it in your home. Easier said than done! Just this week I went to a networking event and was sent home with a bag of candy. Earlier this month, I participated in a wellness fair and I had candy at my table. It. Is. Everywhere. Donate it somewhere if you need to but work to keep it out of your home.

Forgive yourself.

It happens to everyone, we have eaten too much and over indulged and we feel badly about it. But giving yourself a hard time about it, only compounds the problem. Give yourself permission to not be perfect all the time!! It isn't possible.

Do something else.

This one is easier said than done. At the end of the work day, I'm often tired but not ready for bed. This is when I am most vulnerable to junk food and mindless eating. I have found that if I have something easy and nearby, it can take the place of whatever carb I likely would have enjoyed. Something to keep my hands busy like coloring or some crafting, even cleaning sometimes is a good alternative to just keep my hands doing something else.

Be patient with yourself this time of year. In addition to being the eating season, for most of us it is a stressful time of year with travel and family. While you may love your family and time with them, it can also come with uncomfortable situations like aging family members, talk of politics and old family roles we would rather not slip into.

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!

To me, the holidays are the eating season.  It starts with Halloween (the best holiday of the year) and all the leftover candy that you tell everyone you bought for treat-or-treaters but you know you actually bought for yourself.  Then it’s Thanksgiving, which brings us to the kick off to holiday party season that builds to New Years.  And since it is dark and cold all the time it is easy to curl up at home with whatever indulgent thing that is lying around.  Then just as you vow to get your s*^t together for the new year, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season.  (I don’t miss Girl Scout Cookie season.)
Since I just finished a package of Haribo gummie bears, I’m confident that eating season is in full swing for me and this seems like a great time to talk about some mindful eating techniques.

STOP everything else!

Have you ever noticed that Japanese women are usually pretty healthy and youthful looking?  Part of that is hereditary but also part of it is that they don’t mindlessly eat.  They keep to their designated eating times and locations for meals.  They don’t multitask while they eat.  The first mindful eating task is to sit down, turn the TV off, put your phone and computer away and just eat.  Nothing else, just eat.  Eliminating other distractions will allow you to notice feeling full.

Pay attention

Notice how much and what kinds of food you are reaching for.  For a lot of people, food is the drug they allow themselves.  Especially this time of year.  Are you reaching for things to comfort yourself or avoid dealing with an emotion?  A few years ago, I went to a training and one of the researchers presenting on food addiction offered the following litmus test: Will I feel guilt or shame after I eat this? If the answer is NO, go right on ahead.  If the answer is YES or MAYBE, eat something else.  
Meal plan and prep
It is pretty predictable that you will want to eat daily.  Not everyone eats three full meals each day (I’m not a big breakfast eater) but if you sit down and think about it, you know how much food you will likely consume each week.  If you sit down and look at your schedule before the start of the week, you can make a plan based how many nights you plan to eat out, what you may want/need to take with you to work.  Only buy what you need which will reduce waste and cost.  Having healthier food options already at your fingertips, will make it a little easier to avoid unhealthy choices like stopping at a drive through on the way home because there was no food at home.  

Clean it up

Especially this time of year, keeping the junk food in the house is dangerous.  It is cold and dark so much earlier than the rest of the year and most of us find ourselves at home more.  If it is just an arm reach away, it’s so much easier to mindlessly eat particularly in front of the TV.  Don’t bring home the cake/cookies/chips or whatever your personal criptonite may be home.  You know there will likely be some in the office in the next day or two and there will definitely be some at the next party you go to so just don’t bring it home. 

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!

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