Category Archives: Positive Thinking

An Emotional Pattern Leading to Overeating

For some reason, every day when I get home from work, I reach for sweets and carbs. It’s like my body is on autopilot.  Same with after I have dinner, I reach for sweets. Yes, there are times when this doesn’t occur, but it’s when I’m traveling, have an event or not in my normal routine.

After taking the time to dig into this pattern, I realized it started during childhood.  My mother did this exact behavior every night after getting home from work.  For her, it was Saltines and butter (not appealing to me at all).  She would come home, break out the Saltines and slap butter on them while at the counter and just eat and talk.  My father was busy working so it was me who got to hear about the trials and tribulations which occurred that day.   The transference of not only the emotions she experienced, but the behaviors of ‘letting go’ and eating stuck with me for years to come.

When I want to relax after being at work all day, I come home and mindlessly eat sweets or carbs to feel better immediately. The problem is this pattern has become so ingrained in my being that it’s now 30 years later and I’m still doing it. I’m aware of the pattern and have tried stopping it, but I know now that it goes deeper and is going to take practice replacing this pattern with something different, something healthy.  It’s not just the behavior, but the automatic thoughts that precede the behavior which I want to address.

In the past, I would impose discipline and willpower through a diet which would work for a short time, but it crept back into my habits.   Before kids, I would go to the gym and that helped but now, it’s not an option. I then tried to eliminate the behavior and that didn’t work because I was missing the ‘outlet’ of changing my state after coming home from work. All of these were tactics which didn’t last because I never addressed the underlying cause.  Why does this happen? What emotions am I feeling? Why am I not feeling the emotions and dealing with them?

Today, I have come to the conclusion the key here is feeling the emotions as they come up and when reaching for food, consciously think about what I’m craving, notice why I’m craving the food and if needed, to sit down and eat the food mindfully while asking questions like, “Is this what I really need right now? Am I satisfied? Am I still hungry?” which will change how the food is consumed.  Bringing light into the emotional pattern is the key here.  I know it will help to uncover why I’m doing it and when that happens, then it will be easier to replace this habit with a healthier one.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

How Life Can Interfere with Eating

One of the things I’ve been working on is mindful eating or intuitive eating.  When I make the food myself, sit down at the table, thank the food and eat it without distractions it’s a different experience. It also includes taking the time to actually taste the food and enjoy the food. When I do, the meal is much more pleasurable.

The key is having the time. While in the day to day bustle of a full time job, running around going to various activities, it’s an accomplishment when we can sit down as a family to enjoy a healthy meal.  What I am doing now to maximize my time is to plan menus ahead and cook or prep dinners ahead.  Sometimes it’s worked out very well and other times I’ve come home and the food I had planned to make went bad because I waited too many days to make it. But I’m learning new techniques as I go which helps.

Another focus is understanding where I am emotionally and psychologically from day to day. For the days I’m in a good mood and high energy, I’ll do well to take my time and it feels great. However, when I’m not feeling the best (like when BFF is visiting) or it was a stressful day at work, I’m less likely to take the time to do anything.  In fact, I find myself reaching for food to ‘relax’ which is not the best choice to change my emotional state.

It happened this past week. I had some incredible moments of remaining present, preparing meals ahead and taking the time to enjoy them.  It was awesome!  However, there were other moments where I rushed, didn’t really taste the food and went searching for more because I felt I ‘needed’ it.  The good news is I’m fully aware and can specifically point out the different times this happened.

One of the things I did not do this past week was exercise.  Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I started yoga again last week and because of BFF, I talked myself out of doing it this week.  It seems as though my ego does a great job ‘coddling’ me when BFF is here. Honestly, it’s not doing me any favors and I realize it.

But, i’m committed to this journey of becoming aware of these unhealthy patterns of behavior I learned over the years.  I know it takes time to change but it can be done and there’s no rush.  I feel so much better emotionally than I’ve ever felt in my life. I feel stronger, more peaceful and I experience joy all the time now.  It’s not situational or dependent on others.  It’s just an overall sense of peace and joy and that’s the best of all. I’m on my way and I feel it every day.

 

Let’s Listen to our Bodies!

Lately, I’ve been listening and reading a lot about health, psychology and wellness.  This is what I do in my free time because I love the subject so much and I’m one to look at all angles and ask, “What makes the most sense?”

There is so much information out there, most of it garbage.  It’s no wonder our society has no idea what to believe about food, health and wellness. One day you’ll hear, ‘Eggs are bad for you, too much cholesterol’.  The other day, I just saw in a magazine an article about how eggs are good for you and the old premise was debunked.  Go figure!

All these years I’ve been following diets and dieting advice. Eat dairy, don’t eat dairy. Eat meat, don’t eat meat.  Eat grains, don’t eat grains.  The list goes on and on.  Then people get into the minutia to say, well you can eat this fruit but not that fruit because its high on the glycemic index.  Whew, to keep up with all this is a full time job and honestly, I’ve turned in my resignation.

We have, as a society, become so obsessed with this stuff that the average person doesn’t know what to believe.  And this is where I had to say, enough is enough. It’s time to get back to basics. What is our body telling us? Have we ever stopped to think about that? When was the last time, you actually sat down without distractions to eat and felt your body signals? Did you feel when it was telling you it was full? How about when it was telling you the food you ate didn’t agree with you?  I can honestly say because I believed and followed these ‘programs’ for so many years, it brought me SO far away from trusting my own instincts that I don’t even know what my body is telling me.  I have relied on diet programs to tell me. That’s honestly quite pathetic.

It’s time we take our power back. It’s time we start to really learn to listen to ourselves, trust ourselves and our bodies. These bodies are amazing, they heal themselves if you remove all the resistance and negative thinking.  If a body can heal itself from cancer, can’t we trust it to tell us how to eat?

Focus on Happiness To Feel Happy NOW

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  I really good friend passed away and it was difficult. She was just 44 years old.  I didn’t blog because I took the time to remember the good times with my friend and how much I’ll miss her. I also took time to reflect on my life and how important it is to keep myself happy and healthy.  That includes how we think, how we view ourselves and what we say to ourselves on a daily basis.  That is the true predictor of good health. Depending on how you think, determines how you feel and how your body reacts.  I’ve known this all along but I’ve always been focused on dieting, eating, and exercise.  Of course, those elements are all important, BUT if my thought life is not loving and positive, none of those things will ever come together.

I already started focusing in this area, but now, I’ve decided, that’s going to be where my energy is going to flow full time.  My goal is to create a reality for myself that keeps me happy. This means letting go of all those things that do not make me happy.  It also means shifting my thinking towards thoughts of happiness.  What good is it to tell myself I’m unhappy with my body? Is that going to change my body? No, it’s going to keep me where I am or worse.  How do I know this?? Ah, because it’s been over 40 years of this thinking that hasn’t change anything. What I have been doing has not worked.  This is why diets don’t work either. Why not instead, declare how I want to see myself now? This will immediately make me feel better about myself and it will also move my body to align with my thinking.

You hear many teachers say, thoughts become things.  Well if I want to create a positive life, then I have to start thinking about this positive life now.  In the past, my psychology was, “When I have an amazing body, then I’ll live my life.”  Pathetic, but true. I would ‘punish’ myself by not buying clothes until I lost weight or not going on trips because I was embarrassed with my body.  This is all nonsense and kept me in this circle of unhappiness.

If I want to feel happy now, then I have to start doing those things which make me happy. For me, it’s being outside in nature, biking, walking, hiking, reading etc.  I love being outside.  Given this, I’ve done everything I can to start planning more and more activities to be outside and I have to say, I am happier for it.  Last week was tough emotionally, but to counter those thoughts of sadness, I kept telling myself, it was okay to feel sad and I’m going to be okay.  I then planned an outdoor biking trip with my family for the holiday weekend and it was amazing.  I was extremely happy.  Talk about a turnaround. In the past, I would wallow in my sadness for weeks. This would lead to overeating, negative self talk and I would miserable for a while.  Who does that serve? No one. Would that bring my friend back? No. Would it make me feel better? No.

This is the life I used to live. Instead, I am purposely choosing to change because I know, I can live a happy life now regardless of my current circumstances and that’s what I’m going to do. Do you want to join me?