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

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