Welcome to Food Changes Everything. In this series, I've asked my health coach friend, Lacy Young, to share some of her wisdom with you - everything from delicious green smoothie recipes to how to make those hard, but life-affirming small step changes around food. Lacy didn't always take care of herself. And neither have I. Luckily, she changed her food habits which changed her life. And now I am learning, through her, how, in fact, food changes everything.
See all posts in this series here.
You can find out more about Lacy on her website.
Staying mindful and acting in alignment with your desires is a practice. Often that means overriding old ways of being. When stress + anxiety well up inside it can be so easy to self-soothe with food. For me it used to be sugar. Anything cake, cookies and ice cream. Looking back usually only the first bite made it better (if that). After that I was negotiating a killer headache or belly ache with a side of guilt for having done that to myself yet again.
The truth is that there's always an option that will support + nurture you and it usually doesn't have anything to do with food. Inspired by a client going through a tough time I've compiled a list of motivational tips + tools to help.
1. Pause + breathe before you act on the emotion or feeling you're experiencing by eating. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Take three deep breaths. Sometimes it's all you'll need to bring you back into presence to gain some control + perspective.
2. Say to yourself, "I love you. I see you. I feel you." You're feeling rotten and taking a moment to affirm that you're here with yourself, on the same team, being seen can work wonders. Consider a practice of saying it in the mirror daily.
3. Look at what you'd like to do and then decide differently. Ok-- the shit has hit the proverbial fan. You're ready to cart yourself down the street to the local coffee house for a baked good and cup of whipped cream with a little coffee in it. What could you do instead? What could you do that would take you out of the moment you're in, still feel satisfying but NOT filled with sugar + regret? Have a glass of water and write in your journal. If you're in a really tender state consider writing all you're feeling and then burning the pages to help release any trapped energy! (please burn the pages in a safe place like a fireplace)
4. Is this an opportunity to set a healthy boundary? Sometimes the thing that pushed you over the edge was a result of not standing up for yourself in a loving way. Could you say 'NO' sooner next time or change some routine, behavior or practice that would honor your boundaries?
5. Naps are a wonderful reset button. Maybe you need a nap to bring you back. Sleep is basic, necessary and a total life saver. Maybe it's time to look at your sleep schedule and commit to getting into bed earlier each night.
6. Be oh so gentle with yourself + respect your feelings. Chances are something has been building up over time to lead to this moment. Could you practice more kindness with yourself this week? Maybe that means letting go of those old rules about how things need to be done in a certain order before you take care of you. Leave the dishes in the sink + light a candle to soften the mood. It's ok, advisable even to take care of you first.
7. Ask yourself what you're really craving and then create space to invite it in. It could be you're really craving... more peace, physical touch, quality time alone, intimacy, a little hope, some more energy etc...
If you're struggling, you're not alone. We all face challenges in feeding + taking care of ourselves. There is a way to fill the well without overdosing on food + booze. There is a way to move through life without the guilt + shame hangover. I totally understand what it feels like to want to change but not know how. I have been in those moments when I knew it was going to be more painful to stay the same than it would be to do the work to change. I baked a whole sheet of cookies once only to take them out of the oven and put them down the disposal in tears. Been there. Done that.
Love yourself enough to do the work to change. You've totally got this!