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Friday, February 1, 2019

Make a Resolution for a More Peaceful Relationship with Food – and with Yourself!

Guest Blog: Karen Donaldson
It happens every January. It’s exciting at first. Enthusiasm is high. You’re motivated and hopeful. You cut your carbs. You count your macros. You carry protein with you. You track your calories. You are so “good”. And then you’re not.

By February or March, your energy shifts. It’s not fun anymore. You feel deprived. You stop counting. You’re “bad”. Then comes the question that I get asked nearly every single day, and not just during weight loss “season”.

“I Know What I’m ‘Supposed to Do’ to Lose Weight, So Why Can’t I Do It?”


As a registered dietitian, this is going to sound strange, but IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FOOD! Of course nutrition matters, but most of us know all about carbs and proteins and fats and servings sizes. Many of my clients tell me they could write a book on nutrition and diets.

Here’s the thing. We eat – and overeat – for many reasons and very few of them have to do with what’s going on in our stomachs. In fact, most of the people I work with tell me they can’t remember the last time they were truly physically hungry.

Here’s the deal. Most of us have an emotional relationship with food. We have strong emotional connections to food. We eat when we’re stressed, anxious or bored. We eat mindlessly. We eat to reward ourselves. We eat to feel safe. We eat to numb ourselves.

Of course we know what we “shouldn’t” eat in order to lose weight. But logic isn’t always a part of the equation. If you struggle with overeating, weight issues, and body issues I guarantee you that your emotions rule when it comes to your food choices.

It’s Time to Listen to Your Heart


Until you re-wire your brain, none of this changes. I used food as my “friend” for many years. It was always there when I needed it. It was my source of fun when I was bored, my “partner” when I was lonely, my source of relaxation after a hard day. It was how I calmed the anxieties that filled my head, the anxieties I could feel throughout my entire body.

My “aha” moment came when I realized that I had the same emotional eating issues as my clients did. Just knowing about nutrition wasn’t enough. Being a registered dietitian wasn’t enough. Owning a weight loss clinic wasn’t enough.

That’s when I began my own personal journey of healing my relationship with food and with myself. That’s when I dug deep to find out what was REALLY going on with my cravings and my emotional eating. It wasn’t always easy, but neither is struggling with unhealthy eating behaviors that always lead to excess weight.

Are You an Emotional Eater?

If you’re not sure what emotional eating means, take a moment to mindfully reflect on the following questions. Be honest. Listen to your body. Listen to your mind. Your answers will give you great insight when it comes to your relationship with food.

On a scale of 0-10, 0 means “hardly ever” and 10 means “all the freaking time”.

1. Do you eat when you’re stressed or when you have “chaos-brain”? _____
  • When you’re stressed out, your body produces high levels of cortisol which can trigger cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foods.
2. Do you eat when you’re not hungry or until you’re stuffed? _____
  • Emotional eating isn’t located in your stomach. You may find yourself “hungry” within an hour of eating or “hungry” all the time.
3. Do you eat to feel better - to calm and soothe yourself? _____
  • We often nurture ourselves with food when we’re anxious, lonely, or bored because carbs stimulate “feel-good” chemicals in our brains.
4. Do you reward yourself with food? _____ 
  • Childhood patterns with food often carry into adulthood. You may feel like you deserve a treat, especially after a hard day.
5. Do you stuff your emotions with food? _____ 
  • Numbing yourself with food can be a way to temporarily silence uncomfortable emotions including guilt, anger, resentment, and shame.
6. Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is your friend? _____ 
  • Weight can serve as a protective shield to keep us safe from unwanted attention or to keep us “invisible”.
7. Do you feel powerless or out of control around food? _____ 
  • Some foods can be addicting. We may experience intense cravings and once we start eating it may be nearly impossible to stop.
8. Do you eat for entertainment or to relieve boredom? ____ 
  • If you feel unfilled and empty, food can be a way to distract you from underlying feelings of dissatisfaction with your life.

If you’re like me, and most of the women I know, your mind and your body and your spirit know that there is more to the story. You know that quick fixes and detoxes and the latest and greatest diet plans won’t work. You know that you need something more. Something deeper. Something real. Something that can truly transform your relationship with food – and with yourself.

If you’re ready to make this happen, I warmly invite you to download my Weight Loss Essentials Toolbox. It’s packed with videos, meditations, journals, insight, and techniques that will set you on your path to a more peaceful relationship with food – and with yourself.

Click HERE to get YOUR toolbox now. Livliga and the mindful eating these products provide are included in the Weight Loss Essentials Toolbox.

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