Easter is right around the corner and for many women that equates to a big food weekend with chocolate bunnies and hot cross buns calling their name.
It’s a whole week end off where most of their time is spent with their families and eating.
You know how it goes — a few chocolate bunnies, multiple number of little chocolate eggs along and let’s not forget the Hot Cross Buns soaking in butter … and predictably a couple of extra kilos to go with it.
Easter weekend is a great time of year to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family.
And today I would like to share with you three simple tools to help you to glide through Easter and feel good about the choices you made.
Before we venture there let’s first explore some of the challenges and obstacles that contribute to comfort eating.
How aware are you of food-related decisions you make?
Research shows that there are 220 food related decisions that we make every single day of those we know that less than 20 are made quite consciously.
We make most of them out of habit and a lot of them are driven by our emotional state.
Many food-related decisions occur in distracting environments and may lead to relatively “mindless eating.”
This would explain why people often cannot really explain why they ate six chocolates from the office candy dish, ate two bites of chicken for every one bite of coleslaw at lunch, or why they consumed three helpings of potatoes.
Comfort Eating is Triggered by Emotions.
Firstly, let’s explore relationship between the brain, emotions and eating.
- You see most comfort eating problems aren’t actually about food. They are about self-soothing.
- Many women have been unwittingly taught to self-soothe using food from an early age.
- They are taught to find an escape from their emotions rather than to feel them, and to use food as a coping strategy.
This is because there’s a whole brain science behind what drives people to comfort eat and there’s a psychology to that relationship, both of which explain why it’s not that simple.
Basically, if you eliminate eating as your main source of comfort, you have to find some helpful ways to calm and soothe both your body and your mind.
And then there is Conditioning.
One of the challenges that a lot of comfort eaters face is that they have been conditioned to eat to soothe their emotions.
- As small children, well-meaning adults may give us ‘treats’ to soothe us when we fall over or quieten us down when we’re upset.
- From an early age, we are conditioned to turn to food for a quick-fix of emotional comfort and this pattern can continue into adulthood.
Here are your three simple tools to eat with FREEDOM this Easter.
Tool # 1- Mindful Eating.
Comfort eaters are unable to differentiate hunger from the physiological state accompanying negative emotions.
Mindful (intuitive) eating is giving 100% focus and attention to what you are eating, and how your body responds.
As well as tuning in to your hunger signals.
Here are the five main principles of mindful eating:
- Bring sole attention to the act of eating
- Use all your senses to experience the food
- Use body awareness to notice how food makes you feel
- Understand your hunger, and (is it physical or emotional ?)
- Cultivate self-compassion
Here is your Mindful eating action plan:
- Serve a portion that matches your physical hunger
- Decide to enjoy the meal without guilt
- Use all senses to experience eating – sight, smell, sound, texture, taste
- Now it’s time to experiment
Remember – When you are being mindful about your food choices, you have the opportunity to say no to undesired food.
Tool # 2 – Grounding Technique.
When you feel a craving or feel like indulging in extra treats that you would rather not eat , try this fabulous grounding technique.
1- 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique
Using your 5 senses is a fast way to bring you out of your thoughts or intense emotions into the present moment. This is a simple grounding technique you can do in the moment.
Try the following steps:
- Name 5 things you can see.
- Name 4 things you can hear.
- Name 3 things you can touch within your immediate reach.
- Name 2 things you can smell.
- Name 1 thing you can feel.
Tool # 3- Move to Lift Your Mood
The holiday season can often present unwelcome guests — stress and overwhelm. There is an array of demands — like cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.
Moving to lift your mood or present state is great tool to use if you are feeling anxious or stressed.
Here’s an exercise to help with that.
If you can get outside, especially into nature and walk or hike or run safely, it should help with the negative feelings that just about everyone has been experiencing recently.
Moving your body has significant mental-health benefits to help you feel happier and better adjusted. And these perks can linger for weeks.
So, grab your runners and head out.
Have your Easter lunch in the park or take a walk with the family after Easter lunch, the possibilities are endless.
Take a “FOOD FREEDOM” approach because a deprivation approach (focusing on what you won’t eat or what you’ll do without) also sets you up with all-or-nothing expectations.
Instead focus on creating beautiful memories over Easter with family and friends, building a fulfilling life that revolves around something other than food.
Remember when you learn to manage your emotions– you don’t need to feed them!
Now I would love to hear from you…
- How does comfort eating help you cope, make life easier, or keep things moving in your life?
Please comment below, I would love to hear your story.
???? If you want to make 2021 the year that your relationship with food and yourself changes forever click here!