A few blog posts ago I wrote about The Food Mood Journal, which is all about noticing what sets off your naughty food behavior. In this video I talk about what to do with that information.
A common example is overwhelm. This could be from a stressful day at work, coming home to a totally disorganized home environment, or going on too strict of a diet or an exercise regime leading to feeling deprived or punished.
Another common example is not feeling very beautiful in your body. We’ll stick to these two examples (overwhelm and feeling unattractive) but there are plenty more that could have come up in your Food Mood Journal!
In general these lead to the sense that life is not that much fun, and you are going to want some feel-good feelings. The problem is that food is a quick and easy way we know to get that, but it only works in the short term and in the long run leaves us feeling worse than before.
So now that we know what sets off our binges, how do we prevent the next one?
Recognize when those feelings start coming up again, and have a list of actions you can take to help replace those emotions with feel-good feelings.
In the example of feeling overwhelmed, make a list of fun things to do that would give you that feel-good feeling that are not food related. For example:
- get a pedicure
- get a massage
- dance in the living room
- watch a funny movie
- read a funny book
- call a good friend
- listen to uplifting music
Personally, I have a playlist on my phone just for this! The next time you feel that sense of overwhelm coming up it is time to take a step back and do one of these activities, even for just a few moments.
In the other example of not feeling very beautiful in your body, make a list of actions you can take that make you feel beautiful. For example:
- re-doing the nail polish on your toes or hands
- take a shower and re-do your hair
- re-do your makeup as you would if you were a makeup artist
- take off those yoga pants and baggy t-shirt and instead put on some clothes that are flattering to you and bring out the color of your eyes
- give somebody else a compliment
- keep a list of compliments you get
- make a list of things you love about your body
These last two are so important! Usually when we are unhappy about ourselves there is a specific piece that we keep starting at every time we look in a mirror. But maybe you have beautiful skin. Maybe you have beautiful eyes, or hair, or perfect teeth, or beautiful hands or feet. Keeping a list of compliments (even if they are not about your physical looks) and things that you love about yourself is going to help you start to recognize and appreciate your own unique beauty and gifts.
I started my list when I was struggling with binge eating in graduate school, and I have kept it up ever since. Seriously, if you write me and say, “Rachel, you look so pretty in that video!” I’m going to add it to my list 😉
Hopefully now you are ready to recognize when those not-so-good pre-binge feelings start coming up, and you will now be ready to choose a more constructive action to get you back on track.
These are all short term actions to get you feeling better fast, but don’t forget to take any long-term actions as well, like simplifying your life to help with stress, re-negotiating your workload, or signing up for a Mind Body Joy program to learn how to eat well for your body and live a life you love!