All the eating!
Humans have to eat food. That is just a fact.
Humans also have human brains that have a capacity for feelings. This is where things get interesting.
If we were only eating for physical hunger and for physical nourishment, then we would probably be at our ideal, natural weight.
What is fun and interesting is having a human brain that has feelings. This isn’t about getting rid of feelings and thinking happy thoughts, although that doesn’t hurt. This is going to be about acknowledging some of these feelings and getting tools to create new habits.
We’re all emotional eaters. Even if we’re looking at some of the ways that we are eating during the day and noticing that we have particular habits. Habit eating is simply emotional eating that has become habituated.
Somewhere along the line, our clever little brains figured out how to either avoid a feeling or create a different feeling using food. Then because our brains are like supercomputers, we’ve just kind of incorporating this into our lives. A great example of this is when you might say, “I always need something sweet after a meal.” That is a habit that started somewhere with an emotion. I have 10 points for you.
1) Kindness and compassion for ourselves.
If we’re looking at creating a habit, or unpacking a habit that we no longer find useful for our goals, we really have to start with kindness and compassion for ourselves.
As women, we have compassion and kindness for other people, but rarely for ourselves. It comes from years of expectations and shoulds. The idea that I should do this or I shouldn’t do that.
The process of creating habits or unpacking habits that don’t serve us could actually be fun if we speak kindly to ourselves.
When you find yourself beating yourself up, you’re going to have to step in and say, “That’s enough of that.” How do we do this in a way that is more productive? Like anything else, it does get easier..
2) Be curious.
- Why am I eating at three o’clock every day?
- Why am I eating every night after dinner?
- Why am I overeating on the weekends and undereating all week?
- What is wrong with me?
- What is going well?
- What is my body trying to tell me?
- What is my brain trying to tell me?
You could actually have physical hunger, but you’re trying to override it because you’re trying to lose weight. Somewhere along the way weight loss means restriction. Weight loss means deprivation. So you’re supposed to be hungry. Maybe that’s not true. Be curious about how you actually feel in your body or about how certain foods make you feel.
Imagine taking a giant flashlight, and shining it on yourself. Imagine a crawl space under a house, the exterminator goes in with the flashlight, and boom…all the bugs go running. We don’t want to be found. There will be some awareness that your brain doesn’t really want to confront. The process of awareness might bring up some fear or mixed emotions.
We do want to be aware and have mindfulness with eating, That could look like:
- Keeping a food journal
- Slowing down
- Not eating in the car
- Not eating in front of your computer/TV/phone
It’s being aware and slowing things down so that you can take notes, be more curious, and get more answers about how you’re eating.
4) Understanding the brain.
The brain is governed by a primitive brain which is here to keep us alive. It is all about survival. Survival means that we can’t say no to food, because what if we don’t get it again? That means our brain tells us that we are going to miss out because we’ll never have chocolate cake again when that’s really not true.
The brain is also very motivated to avoid pain. Pain like fear of missing out, or just the pain of creating a new habit. Brains don’t like change, because change means extra work.
Our primitive brain also needs to be very efficient. If I have to learn how to put down my fork, my brain makes it into a really big deal.
Now, good news! Our brain also has another part called the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the better you, your future self, you 2.0. The person who has goals and wants, right? That’s the person who knows that chocolate cake anywhere, anytime. We don’t have to eat it!
Our prefrontal cortex is on our side. Sometimes we just have to pause in order to let it take control.
5) Compelling reasons to take action.
If you want to create a new habit or change a habit, you’re going to have to create a super compelling reason to take action. We get really caught up in thinking about how we’re not motivated or inspired. We’re just waiting for that magical motivation. We, with our human brains, can create our own compelling reason.
Instead of focusing on why am I not motivated, we have to find what is that compelling reason.
- Why do you want to lose weight?
- Why do you want to start working out?
- Why do you want to go for a walk?
- Why do you want to drink the water?
- Why do you want to cook the food?
You’re going to have to look for the reasons, and you are going to have to remind yourself of those reasons. Instead of wondering why you’re not motivated, figure out how you can be motivated.
What is the result that you want? If you want to lose weight, let’s start picturing that!
- What are the clothes you’re wearing?
- What does it feel like to be in that body?
- What does that allow you to do?
All of it!
Look for compelling reasons. If it is all about wanting to look better, that’s totally fine. I don’t see a problem with that, but you’re going to have to be really compelled. You’re going to have to paint the picture. You’re going to have to really think about it. It’s not enough just to think “I would like that.”
- What does it really look like?
- What does it feel like?
- Put it on paper.
6) Managing negative emotions.
Being human means that life is going to be 50/50. You could actually be at your goal weight in your hot body, and still, feel like poop. That’s just life. We don’t just automatically become happy and confident because we’re at a certain weight.
No matter where you are in your journey, you’re going to have negative emotions that come up. Managing them is part of the process. You have the tools, you have your prefrontal cortex, and you can experience negative emotions. They don’t mean that you can’t be successful. They don’t mean that you’re doing it wrong.
Some of them might be fear. Fear of failure, fear of being humiliated, fear of looking silly, or fear of what other people will think is just part of the process. Having emotions is part of being human. When we get back to emotional eating, we have to figure out what these emotions are, and that eating doesn’t solve them.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Food does not fix feelings.” When I am stressed out and my hand is on the refrigerator, I ask myself, “What does this solve?” 99.9999% of the time, it doesn’t solve anything. Food solves physical hunger.
Food does not solve:
You’re going to have emotions, and you’re going to want to be on the lookout for them.
7) Taking massive action.
We’re trying to create a new habit, so we go into research mode. We’re on Google, we’re talking to friends, we’re buying a book where, you know, looking at an old program. We’re researching and doing things behind the scenes, but we’re not taking action.
We’re not actually walking or lifting weights, or putting down our fork, or whatever. We’re not doing anything. We’re just thinking about it, maybe even obsessing over it.
Passive action is about consuming more info. The whole world is filled with constant information, and that’s going to keep you stuck in your head. It feels like you’re taking action, but you’re not really doing things.
There’s a difference between information and implementation. Massive action is implementation. The reason we don’t take massive action is that we’re afraid to fail. We get stuck consuming until we become even more overwhelmed, confused, and anxious. I see so many women spin out here instead of just doing it. It either works or it doesn’t work.
8) Embracing failure.
The more you do and the more things you try, the more you’re going to fail. There is that saying, ”The road to success is paved by failures.” That is true. The people you see who are successful or at least appear to be successful, have tried all the things and they keep trying. They just keep on going, they fall down, they fail, and they keep going.
Embracing failure means we’re going to have to experience some negative emotions. For many of us, that is paralyzing. We don’t want to look stupid. We don’t want to fail. That’s where we’re stuck. If you do not take action, you will not get results—bottom line. Along the way to your new body, you’re going to fail, and it’s okay.
Part of the accountability is being able to evaluate:
- What has gone well?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What am I going to do differently?
I want to be able to evaluate the same way I would when I look at habits around eating. Are you noticing any common triggers? Is there something that is happening over and over and we just haven’t noticed? Or an interaction with a certain thing or a certain person is creating a trigger for me?
We’re not blaming. I don’t blame. The bills are not the reason that I opened the refrigerator. The kids making a mess is not the reason I open the refrigerator. If I feel like I am failing and I’m not getting massive action toward my results, I want to see what is really going on.
Can I figure out what I’m feeling? If I’m not sure what I’m feeling, can I figure out what I’m thinking? How does that make you feel? Start to be curious with questions.
Oftentimes, when we have habit-eating, it is emotional eating that has become habituated. Our brain has already figured out, if I want to feel better quickly, I can go get something to eat. That might happen at work. It might happen after work. It might happen after dinner. It might happen at night once the kids go to bed. But something is actually happening, and we want to figure it out. That’s what we’re doing here when we are looking at changing a habit.
10) Commit to your result.
How can we do commitments in bite-sized chunks? One of the ways you can do that is to figure out what you could commit to for the next 30 days. I am not opposed to whatever 30 days it is. It doesn’t have to be the first day of the month. It doesn’t have to be a Monday.
Have you heard of the whole 30, where you could commit to doing something for 30 days? It could be drinking 40 ounces of water for 30 days, going for a 30-minute walk every day for 30 days, or writing down everything I eat for 30 days. Whatever it is you’re going to do for 30 days in a row. You will have some days that you miss, and you can decide if you start over or keep on going. There’s no right or wrong answer.
If you want to get good at something you have to actually put something in place to practice that habit. You don’t have to do all the things for 30 days. I’m going to caution you from trying to do 10 different things for 30 days. The human brain is very all or nothing and that is just setting yourself up for failure.
If you are looking to create a new habit, what can you do for the next 30 days?
Pick your 30 days and just do it. See what comes up. Have fun with it. Look for negative emotions. Look for the failures. Make it a game because it really is. The game is won by you.
Not giving up, not quitting.
Failure is not a problem.
Quitting is the problem when you’re trying to create a new habit. We can reinvent ourselves by creating new habits where we do new things. I show up in new ways, and I take different actions. That is the path to me becoming a person who loses weight and keeps it off. A person who exercises regularly.
The beauty of Unf*ck Your Weight Loss is that we are rewriting the rules. We are reinventing who we are and how we approach weight loss. I think that is incredible. Thanks for being here on this journey with me. If you have not already joined my free group, it is Food, Fitness, and Fat Loss for Real Life. It is on Facebook. Come on in. If you have not heard about my new membership program, it is called Self Made Society, you can check that out and see if you would like to do that.
NOTES IN ANCHOR
Mindless eating, Overeating, Binge eating,
Anxiety eating, Joy eating,
All the eating! Humans have to eat food. That is just a fact. Humans also have human brains that have a capacity for feelings. This is where things get interesting. If we were only eating for physical hunger and for physical nourishment, then we would probably be at our ideal, natural weight. What is fun and interesting is having a human brain that has feelings. This isn’t about getting rid of feelings and thinking happy thoughts, although that doesn’t hurt. This is going to be about acknowledging some of these feelings and getting tools to create new habits on episode 24 of the Unf*ck You Weight Loss podcast.
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience.
Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.
By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.
Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you unf*ck your diet brain.
She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.
Connect with Bonnie-
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