Avoiding Emotional Eating! Today’s experience!

I am an emotional eater.. I eat when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m stressed, when I’m upset – you get the idea. The only time I don’t eat is when I’m grieving and I would prefer that not to be a part of my life just so I get over my unhealthy habits!!

As I am trying really hard to eat better and lose weight. I need to learn how to avoid the emotional eating nightmare of eating to ease my emotions, but then feeling absolutely wracked with guilt, that I beat myself up for hours to then quell my guilt once more with food because really by then, it’s in for a penny – in for a pound.

I have done some research into emotional eating and as straight forward as it all seems I don’t feel that for me the common suggestions of going for a walk, writing in a journal or distracting myself will work. It seems to trivialise how deep rooted emotional eating is.

Food for me is soothing. It is a joy and as yet I haven’t found anything that matches it. You may find this something you can relate to or something quite ridiculous – if it’s the latter then be grateful you are not trapped like so many people are.

Today at work I had a few stressful moments which would usually send me straight to the canteen for comfort food like a chip butty or the shop to buy sweet treats to reward myself for dealing with my job!

I mean it’s even called comfort food – and boy does it do it’s job.

So to stop me running to the nearest shop, I did something I have never done at work before. Instead of ordering a chip butty with a chocolate bar….

I ate a salad!

I know crazy right!! The thing is I had taken a soup for lunch and although I really wanted something to make me feel warm and fuzzy I just couldn’t do it. I knew that the feeling of guilt, regret and sadness would be ten times more after eating crappy food than the feeling of stress I was currently feeling.

I was mindful and I honestly believe it’s linked with the meditation I have been doing. I recognised my feelings – I still wanted to eat them but I’m sure recognising them is the first step!!

I know there will be days when the emotional eating takes over. I actually think it’s quite normal – I’m only human after all. The key is to not let it be anything more than that once in a while .

The problem is – I then have to learn how to forgive myself when I do completely lose it! But that’s a whole new blog post!!!

Helen xx

5 Tips to Stay on Track!

Being on any diet is hard – no matter how simple the plan is. I hope that makes sense 🙂 Here are 5 tips I have found help me stick to it….

  • BUILD a support network NOW. Join a community or the social media group for your chosen plan.  Don’t wait until you are struggling to stick at things, build relationships now so that you have got support from those who know exactly what you are going through. Any kind of diet plan is hard, it may even be the toughest journey of your life but having people to call on when you need it is a must.
  • CREATE an inspiration page – either in a journal if you like something physical to stick pictures in (we crafters love a bit of gluing and sticking) or on the internet. Make it private so only you can see it and put photos on of you now. Then add quotes, pictures, ideas, rewards – whatever it takes to get you determined and your motivation pumped. This is a private thing – its personal to you. This allows you to really explore your reasons why – and to keep those in the front of your mind if you are having a bad day.
  • CHART IT – Get a weight loss chart and FILL IT IN!! You can make your own or use one from the internet. I have made one for myself that I fill in – here is a link to see what I mean. https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSEzq-VzHiCHNyVYbGb07nzj9ir50LWhnCZIkfdW2NCuNU4-S1YRtyuisS45Pcg4qwX-QJVRF2NyBqf/pub
  • ENJOY your diet – if it isn’t bringing you happiness. STOP. You absolutely do not have to do something that you are not enjoying and that doesn’t suit you. The great thing about Exante is that there are a variety of plans and ways to use the products. I can replace all of my meals so I don’t have to think about anything – its all done for me.  Or I can mix and match it with my life, using the plan to fit around me and not the other way around, Its a personal thing but believe me I have tried A LOT of diets. Choose the plan that is sustainable for you. I am currently using 3 packs and making a 200 cal meal. 
  • Understand this will be a life long Journey. I have been on some kind of diet for years and haven’t always been successful. I have lost weight, maintained, put weight on, lost weight, put it on and so the journey continues. For those of us who struggle with our weight we will probably always have to think about our diet and have it as a managed aspect of our lives. The goal for many of us is to be at our ideal weight. The thing is even when we get there we still have to keep an eye on things therefore the journey continues. Whether you are just starting out, are at a weight you don’t want to be at – and that can be both under weight or over weight, or you are happy with your weight its all a journey. Accept its a journey and a lifelong commitment. In my opinion only when we accept this can we forgive ourselves if we have a bad day. 1 bad day, 1 bad month, 1 bad year doesn’t make a lifetime, we can restart, retry and renew our commitment to ourselves and the journey.

Diet Day 5 – 5lbs off!!

Breakfast!

I am super chuffed to bits!!! I have had a couple of Ropey days when things haven’t been great. I have felt really bloated so I was sure I hadn’t lost anything. I’m not supposed to be weighing until Thursday but I had a sneaky look and I have lost 5 lbs!!!!

I suffer with IBS and my stomach has been in knots for the last couple of days. Nothing too bad but not comfortable either. I have stuck to plan but couldn’t weigh my food yesterday as I ate out. I chose wisely and ordered a veg stir fry with chicken. It said it came with rice but I though I’d just leave that as extra carbs are a no go thing just yet.

Everything was fine and then my meal came. It literally had everything mixed together on the plate, more like a risotto!!! I was gutted!! Now bearing in mind this is still better than the usual hot beef and onion sandwich and chips that I have – I was disappointed with myself.

I picked out the chicken and veggies as best I could and then left about half. I was actually really full so leaving some was easy. I drank peppermint tea and a glass of tap water.

By the evening I couldn’t stomach anymore water….and I hadn’t actually had enough that day. I drank diluted no sugar added squash instead and although not ideal I’m looking at the positive that it was fluids and anything is better than being dehydrated!!!!

Today is a better day. Maple and pecan bar for brekkie. Butternut squash soup for lunch. Chicken and salad for tea with a 3rd pack later on. So far so good!!

Grey day happiness – how to be cheerful when the weather sucks!!

I live in the UK where our weather is often variable. We don’t really have cold snowy winters and hot sun filled summers. We tend to have weather that is changeable. It is often grey, cloudy and wet. The only thing that changes is the temperature. It’s either cold or a bit warmer lol – we have maybe 3 weeks hot weather a year but even that is split into odd days!

Dull days can make you feel dull 😦

It’s sometimes hard to be positive and feel excited about life when outside is dull and grey, especially if like me you are a sun worshipper who lives outside in the summer.

Dull days especially in the winter time can be difficult. It’s harder to be positive and proactive when all you want to do is curl up by a fire and sleep. I actually admire bears to be honest. Hibernating in winter is an awesome idea!!!

So how do we find joy in days like these? How can we be cheerful when even the weather is sad.

Did you ever have wet playtimes at school? These were days where the weather was so bad outside that we couldn’t play out but had to stay in the classroom. Do you remember these? I do and I loved them. I never felt fed up or annoyed – the reason for this was because on days like this we had ‘special’ toys that we could only play with on wet playtimes. We could write on the blackboard and play board games.

This got me thinking what if we kept something special for dull days where we felt fed up. What if we reserved a hobby or an activity for days where the weather stopped us doing what we had planned? Or was just getting us down?

I have a dull day playlist on my phone. These are uplifting sing along pop songs that make me happy. If I’m feeling fed up I can put this on and by song 5 I’m singing at the top of my voice, feeling much better!

Getting outside even when the weather is bad can be good. I love gardening and if I waited for a sunny day I could be waiting awhile. Making myself wrap up and go out does help me feel like I’ve accomplished something. This does take a lot of discipline though and I have to be honest if it’s raining then I’m definitely staying in!

I suppose what I’m saying is have a plan. Don’t wait for dull, miserable days to decide what you are going to do.

Have something in reserve – something special that you either do or somewhere you go when the dull days have got to you.

Below is a few ideas you might want give a try:

Plan a holiday. It doesn’t have to be real. You don’t have to go. The idea is you decide where you want to go and everything that it entails. It could e all inclusive 5 star escape or a cruise – or a trekking trip in Nepal!! The escapism this brings is fabulous!!! This is one of my favourite things to do.

Start writing a book- it could be your autobiography, a book based on your career, a horror novel or even a murder mystery! Harness you inner Roald Dhal, J K Rowling or E L James – whatever takes your fancy!!

If you don’t feel like writing a book then read one or listen to one on audio books – try something different to your normal reads. Try something new.

Watch funny you tube videos – I love watching carpool karaoke or ladbaby if I’m feeling fed up. There’s always funny pet videos too!!

People watch in a cafe – go to your nearest cafe, grab a drink and a piece of cake and watch the world go by.

I hope this gives you a little inspiration… let me know what works for you!!

Good luck!

Helen xx

On it!!! Diet day 3 – it’s all about mindset!

Believe me when I say I haven’t got to day 3 on any diet or eating plan for a loooong time!

It’s definitely all about mindset. I am determined and feel positive that I can do this.

There have been tons of time when I have said right I’m starting today and by lunch have thought, oh sod it! And then eaten something really unhealthy.

Or I have managed a day and when I haven’t woken up at my target weight the next day have given up and gone back to over eating!

When I write it down it sounds ridiculous. I suppose it is but having a weight problem is hard. It’s hard mentally and physically.

For me – food is my comfort, my pleasure, it is what I have always done to praise myself or when I have felt really sad – which struggling with depression has been quite a lot!!

I know I need to start dealing with my emotional eating so will be looking into that more but for now I’m riding the determination train!!

My breakfast today!!! Not attractive! Lol it’s supposed to be lemon pancake but it stuck a bit 😂 – it tasted really nice so that’s the main thing! Will definitely buy them again!!

Check out http://www.exantediet.com to see what it’s all about.

I haven’t killed anyone -yet!

I have started to diet. Today is day 1 and despite a few close calls I haven’t physically harmed anyone…..the day is not quite over though so there’s still time!

I have decided to kick start my weight loss with Exante – a meal replacement type diet.

So the idea is you have shakes, soups, bars for 3 meals with a 200 cal meal from a set foods list – mainly protein and veg. You also have to drink tons of water.

http://www.exantediet.com – here’s the website.

Today I had a toffee shake for brekkie, cherries and berries shake for lunch.

I have been at work today (my proper job) and it’s been tough. I resisted my usual chip butty for lunch, the delicious cake brought in by a colleague and all of the biscuits that seem to appear!!

Tea was chicken and broccoli with a chocolate coconut bar. I am now ready for bed!

I mean – what else am I going to do!

I know a lot of you will frown at a meal replacement type diet and yep I get it… it’s not really solving the habits that got me here. The thing is I’ve done this type of diet before and for me removing food from the equation and being so super strict works. Granted it makes me grumpier than hell but it works!!

My plan is to do this meal replacement thing for a while and then to re-introduce food. I am not sure how long for. I think it depends on a few things – money being one of them as although not mega expensive it’s still an outlay I haven’t really planned for.

I have enough for about a week before I will need to order more so we will see how I am doing. I will definitely keep you updated and will link my blog posts together so you can keep track of my progress!

Please pray for my family – I can sense they are in for a rough time 😂😂 Only joking.

Self Care should be prescribed!

I have had a mental illness – I know the stigma, the funny looks, the discrimination that comes from having an illness no one can see.

I was poorly – really poorly and although I tried to sort myself out I continued to decline. I broke – I couldn’t get out of bed. My body hurt and I felt – well nothing – empty and hollow. I could only put it into words and describe it after watching Harry Potter believe it or not, until then the feeling was too hard to explain. My depression felt like the demeantors had sucked every piece of happiness out of me and I was just a shell. It was a physical pain as well as a mental emptiness.

I was taken to the doctors by my husband who was amazingly understanding – I am very lucky. I know a lot of people who have been through something similar and weren’t fortunate to have partners who could appreciate how debilitating it can be.

I was prescribed anti depressants as well as CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

I don’t really talk about this time in my life but I’m sharing it because it’s important that you know that I get it. I am not embarrassed about it but its hard to think about, as the thoughts were, at times so dark they were scary. I knew I wanted to live – I love my family too much to leave them without a mum and a wife but I also knew I didn’t want to feel the way I did anymore.

I waited 2 months for CBT and had a weekly session with a lovely lady who helped me think about my life and how I could think and do things differently in the future so I never felt that poorly again. She also introduced me to self care which changed my life.

Self care is exactly what it says it is – caring for yourself. We are all busy, we all have other priorities in life and sometimes we forget ourselves. I have heard so many times ‘I just carry on’ or ‘I don’t have time for me’ or ‘I have too much to do to think about myself.’

Why do we feel we have to carry on until breaking point until we administer care to ourselves? We either get ill physically or mentally because our bodies and minds simply say ‘enough.’

How often you self care is personal and individual- no one can tell you how often you pencil in time for yourself – it’s all about how you feel. All I know for sure is you shouldn’t wait until you are broken to do it!!

When I was at my lowest I needed daily self care for hours on end – I needed to be treated gently by my family, I needed support for everyday tasks that I just couldn’t manage, I needed my friends to just come and watch tv with me as I couldn’t chat, I needed to sit in the sun, feeling the warmth on my face, I needed to say no to meeting up with people or going into public places. And it went on. This was more important than anything and I wish my doctor would have prescribed all these things as well as the tablets. If he had prescribed self care I wouldn’t have felt guilty.

Guilt is one of the main reasons I think we don’t practise self care enough and why it should be prescribed.

We often see taking time out for ourselves as indulgent – something that we should ‘treat’ ourselves to. No..simply no.

Self care should be practised all of the time – if you are well then maybe you just need to take time out once a month. You may need it once a week – you may need it every day. Whatever you need – do it – don’t make excuses don’t say ‘well it’s not that easy.’ It is easy you just have to know how important it is.

I am not a doctor but if I were I would prescribe it to you. A prescription to care for you, however that looks – to take time out to do what you need to do to be whole, to feel amazing.

I self care regularly. I fit it in around working and looking after 4 kids and a house full of pets. I take time for me because I NEVER EVER want to feel like the demeantors have sucked my happiness away again.

Look after yourself – Care for yourself – Love yourself

Helen xx

Monday Mindfulness

Today I have decided to look into mindfulness.

It’s very much a buzz word nowadays and there are literally hundreds of courses and pieces of info on how to be mindful and how mindfulness can help change peoples lives.

I have meditated in the past – well I think I have.

I have an app on my phone that has a feature on it that sounds like rainfall. Whenever I feel wound up or like I can’t clear my head I put my ‘rain music’ on. It definitely relaxes me as I’m usually asleep within minutes!!

Mindfulness is basically taking time out of your day to concentrate on the here and now. Being present without judgement. So for example if you go for a mindful walk you concentrate on the walk with every sense. You see the sights, hear every sound and pay attention to every detail without distraction.

Mindfulness has been proven to relieve stress, help our mental health and even improve our physical health. There are 100s of research papers that have shown mindfulness can help anxiety, depression, stress relief, trauma, chronic pain, addiction and even psoriasis.

Mindfulness sounds like a powerful thing!!! I’m in!!!

So my first step was to find someone who knows what they are doing. I downloaded ‘ The little book of mindfulness’ by Dr Patrizia Collard.

Dr Collard invites us to join her to connect with life – to really feel it. Just 10 minutes every day will help us enrich our experience of life and help our bodies and minds stay healthy and well.

I tried the first step… following her tips on posture and preparing for mindfulness I sat on my bed with a blanket on me…

The exercise is called – Look around you and live longer….

The idea is to pick a focus on a new aspect of life. Pick something new to focus on that you hadn’t deeply considered before. To consider how it came into life, how many people brought it into being, what it needs to continue.

I had to do this for 5 minutes. I better set a timer. I’ve also found some relaxing music to help keep me focused… here goes.

I managed! I did a whole 5 minutes. It was tougher than I had imagined to be honest. I decided to focus on a swan as we saw some on our walk yesterday. My mind did wander but I kept bringing it back to the swan – thinking about what it looked like, how it swam, how graceful they are.

Brrrrrr – his legs must be cold??

I don’t really know if I feel any better or any different. I know this is something to do consistently over time so I will carry on and keep you updated. Have a go yourself and let me know how you get on….

Love Helen xx