I can’t tell you how many women express a desire to change and to take charge of their health but are too tired and stressed to make the changes. She’s on blood pressure medication, her hormones are wreaking havoc, she cannot lose weight, and her coping mechanism is to eat a bag of chips for dinner.
When I dig deeper it’s clear her work place is a crucial piece of her problem. Long hours, lunch at the desk, no breaks are the norm. She shows up in my office knowing her body is changing yet unsure how or what to do about it. Symptoms like weight gain, PMS, insomnia, hot flashes, and fatigue are the dilemma of the stressed-out corporate woman. To make matters worse she often comes to see me determined to make extensive changes to her diet. This approach is punishing and unnecessary.
If the statement ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ is true then the opposite is also true: if ONE THING changes then something changes. So, to my dear stressed out ladies struggling with compulsive eating here are three suggestions for changing ONE THING to make a big changes in your life.
- Eat when you’re hungry – crazy simple but challenging for a women who is frightened she’ll be hungry all the time. As difficult as it is, eating when you’re hungry is much easier than counting calories, points, or serving sizes. Rules make us feel like ‘good girls’ when we follow them and dismal failures when we cannot. When my Nutrigal Pals focus on this ONE THING, eat when you’re hungry, they learn to listen to their bodies, pause and ask themselves, am I hungry for food or am I hungry for something else? When we ask these questions we’ve begun the process of self-inquiry.
- Take time to dialogue with yourself prior to eating when you’re not hungry – the other night I was in emotional pain. I was what my Nutrigal Pals fondly call ‘frantic’. I knew I felt pain and emptiness but I did not want to address it, I just wanted to eat a bag of chips. I sat down and had a dialogue with myself, finding out what I wanted and why. I uncovered fear beneath my desire for chips and also feelings of helplessness and victimization. I was able to be kind to myself and take steps to reassure myself and ended up choosing not to eat the bag of chips.
- Don’t judge yourself for your food choices – this ONE THING change creates space for love in your life. It takes the sting out of those times when the compulsion to eat when you’re not hungry takes over. If you have an episode of compulsive eating remind yourself, change takes time, you are lovable, you are now looking at this situation with mindful curiosity rather than judgement.
Believe me these three changes will change your life. Today I invite you to love yourself. Take time out to discover your passion, hang out with a friend who mirrors your greatness, and if you are hungry be sure to enjoy your food mindfully.