3 Doable Ways to Replace Emotional Eating with Self-care | TMOHP Episode 097

We know that when you’re not getting time for yourself, it’s easy to compensate with that extra snack, that pint of ice cream, or the takeout you swore you were cutting back on. If your self-care is the first thing to go when you get busy or overwhelmed - you’re in the right place. If taking better care of yourself or finetuning your self-care sounds like a good idea, but the thought of fitting it in has you rolling your eyes - this podcast episode is for you.

Self-care (or the lack of it) and overeating go hand in hand. Upgrading your self-care game doesn’t require a life overhaul or two weeks of vacation. In fact, these beliefs make it even harder to give yourself the attention you need and deserve. Tune in to this episode for three ways to readjust your thinking about self-care and your approach to fitting it in - consider this a cheat sheet for sneaking in great (and simple) me-time and self-care to replace emotional eating. Be sure to check out the show notes. I’ve included a ton of resources for you!

In this episode:

  • The essential nature of self-care
  • The power of ten minutes
  • Paying yourself first
  • Simple self-care routines

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Episode Transcript

Welcome back, everybody. Today's podcast episode is about self-care and me time and how you want to make that happen and how you can make that happen. Finding and claiming time to take care of yourself and prioritizing the things that you need. These are some of the biggest challenges that busy, high achieving women face.

We all face not having time for yourself, not getting enough of what you need. Feeling like you have fallen entirely off your priority list. These are major reasons that women reach for something to eat. They are major causes of comfort eating and stress eating and eating to numb out or procrastinate. So much overeating is related to a hidden hunger for self-care and for me time. 

Even if your hunger, your hidden hunger for self-care and me time isn't your primary hidden hunger. And by the way, when I talk about hidden hungers and primary hidden hungers and what's your top hidden hunger, I'm referring to the results that you get when you take the hidden hungers quiz on the TooMuchOnHerPlate.com website. If you haven't taken that quiz yet, you want to go on over to TooMuchOnHerPlate.Com and take it. Because it will really simplify for you where to get started and how to start making an impact on your overeating or emotional eating.

And even if after you take the quiz and you get your results, even if self-care and me time is not your primary hidden hunger? What's important to know is that any of the big five hidden hungers can lead you to not getting enough of what you need. And when you're not getting enough of what you need, when you're not getting time for yourself, you fall into that lack of self-care and me time trap.

When life gets overwhelming or you're exhausted or you're busy or you're stressed, it is so tempting to clear out space in your calendar by taking off the things that you do for yourself. It is so easy to believe that by doing this, you are simplifying. Right? On the surface. It can seem like the easiest, fastest, lowest conflict route to creating the time, the energy, the space that you are feeling like you so desperately need because there's so much going on.

It's like, okay, I will just take this off, I won't go to yoga this week. Right? Okay. I don't have time to meditate or journal. I don't have time to do my smoothies. And that is going to lower my stress. That's what we tell ourselves. This is going to make it better because I'm going to get the critical stuff dealt with. The problem is that this isn't the easiest path. It isn't the easiest way, and it isn't a plan for you paying attention to what really is the critical stuff. 

Let me explain what I mean here. When you have a life where getting things done and taking care of a million things at once, a bunch of multiple responsibilities, when you have a life when getting that stuff done is critical, this means that you are critical. And when your presence is essential. When other people need you and they rely on you, it is more important than ever that you are fueled and primed and capable of giving your best and showing up with your A game. If you're not practicing great self-care and if you're not making your needs a priority, you are more likely to show up in the world depleted and tired and less creative and less focused and less vibrant. Less you.

And you're most likely to do that when the world that you live in... Needs you the most. Because the pattern is we get busy we get overwhelmed and we say okay the easiest thing to do is just push my needs to the side. Right? But then you end up showing up less you. You have less to give to the world and you have less you in you than you deserve.

And then there is your relationship with food. Right? Let us not forget about our relationship with food and with eating. Because chocolate chip cookies and French fries and cheese and crackers... these things all become substitutes for what you really need and what you really crave and you really aren't getting.

If you roll up at the end of your day, feeling exhausted and like there is nothing for you, there has been nothing for you in spite of the fact that you have worked your tail off. Well, with that combination of stuff going on, it is so easy to sidle up to that pint of Ben and Jerry's and Netflix. Right? Not because you're hungry, but because you deserve something. 

When you aren't really getting taken care of when your spirit isn't being tended to or nourished or fed. It is harder than ever to make the more difficult decision even on your own behalf. Or the new decision the new way of doing things that you have decided you know that you've created a plan that you are going to do. It is harder to choose the Protein forward dinner the one that's going to leave you feeling better and more energized than the uber eats queso and whatever that the tired, stressed out, I didn't get anything today version of you would really love to order. Right?

It's harder to problem solve and to focus and to move forward toward your goals when you aren't getting taken care of. Especially if your goal involves changing the eating that might currently be your main source of comfort and reward and the substitute nourishment that you are giving for, you know, giving your spirit.

Here's the thing, and this is really important, great self-care, enhancing, enhancing your self-care, enhancing your me time, this doesn't have to take over your life. It does have the ability to drastically change your life. But it doesn't have to be a big grand gesture. It does not have to be complicated. It does not require a complete personality change. 

And when you are already depleted, if you are low on self-care and me time, if you are not getting these things currently, simple really is better. So that is the point of this podcast. I have for you today, three simple strategies that you can use, that you can start to use to shift your thinking and how you approach self-care. So three simple strategies for replacing emotional eating with better self-care and with more me time. 

This does not have to be complicated. Self-care, making time for yourself does not require a complete life change. And these strategies that I'm going to share with you can make a huge impact. Okay. So let's start with something very basic and powerful.

Number one, my first tip for you. Never underestimate the power of 10 minutes. And even as I hear myself saying this, I know that we are all human beings. And I think that maybe I should start by saying, expect yourself to underestimate the power of 10 minutes, and then remind yourself that 10 minutes are powerful.

I am a huge high achiever. So I can say this. As big thinkers and ambitious people, we have this tendency to make things more complicated than they have to be. Many of my private coaching clients bring these long Daunting lists of things that they should be doing for themselves. When we have our first coaching session I know I should do this and I should do this and I should do this. The problem is the list is so big and massive and overwhelming It can feel impossible to even begin and it is certainly not sustainable if you have the fortitude to dive into it. So repeat after me: Small, consistent steps can work miracles.

Expect yourself to underestimate the power of 10 minutes, and then don't underestimate the power of 10 minutes. 10 minutes, when they are focused solely on you, solely on connecting with yourself or discovering what you're feeling or needing or relaxing your body or untangling your mind, 10 minutes can change the course of the rest of your day.

I am not exaggerating here. I have a coaching client this week who told me that a very simple five minute journaling practice that she had created for herself each morning. Is changing the course of her week. Changing the way her week unfolds. 

A member of the Missing Peace program started using her commute after work. To listen to music that she really loves and that makes her happy in the gym that energizes her and shifts her mood from her really stressful job. And she started doing this and left behind her old commute practice, which was using that time in the car to check in with her adult children and with her elderly parents and making these kind of follow up check in phone calls, which often left her feeling worried and unsettled and like she was trying to be in two places at once. 

Self-care doesn't have to be complicated. She's listening to good music and giving herself a break. Another Missing Peace member is using a like three to four minute practice that we created for her to use in the middle of the afternoon. A time when she used to get really stressed and hungry and overwhelmed, and it kind of set the tone for the rest of the day. She is now getting up from her computer, leaving her desk, checking in with herself, taking some breaths, having a snack that she's planned for, refilling her water glass, doing a few stretches if she wants to.

And this little practice has her feeling more focused and energized. And she's feeling less stress. Also, this little practice is completely changing her eating at the end of the day. She's not feeling the old urges to binge. She is not eating mindlessly when she walks in the door, or at the minute she closes out her last zoom call after work. She's feeling more confident and more in control and more peaceful with food.

And I have to say, just like you probably are, she is amazed by these results. She's amazed by how a little practice... A little self-care practice can make such a profound difference. Right? And then, not only is she amazed, but she's feeling really confident about being able to continue this. Right? So, when I ask her if she thinks she's going to keep practicing this strategy, she's like, Of course, it's a no brainer. It is simple. I enjoy it. It feels good. She's already making it a habit. 

Do not underestimate. The value of 10 minutes and the power of 10 minutes. And when you do underestimate it, catch yourself. Okay. 

The second strategy or mindset shift I want you to think about taking on is the idea of paying yourself first.

I think about my history with taking care of myself and the places where I would fall off that self-care bandwagon. Where things would fall apart, and it used to happen all the time. And when it happened, it was because I was falling for that idea that a lot of us were raised with, that our culture has reinforced for us, that my job was to get everything else done and everybody else settled and sorted before I focused on me.

And guess what, by the time I had time, if I did have time to do the workout or to meditate or to even plan something in the future with my friends, I was too tired to follow through half the time or more than half the time. If I did follow through, I was not in a position to really enjoy and savor and be fed by the experience in a way that could leave me rejuvenated.

Instead, it just wore me out. Think about how many times you have left your self-care, sometimes really lovely, luxurious self-care, and sometimes it's kind of a hard thing that you know is good for you that you really want to do for yourself. Think about the times when you have left it till the end of the day. And the kind of energy that you had or you didn't have to not just bring to the activity, but actually get yourself into it in the first place. It doesn't work well. 

So I am now a huge believer in turning that whole philosophy of work comes first and everybody else comes first, upside down. And I pay myself first. And I have to say the results for me and the results for my clients and members of Your Missing Peace are pretty amazing. Because the truth is when I pay myself first, when I put the workout at the top of the list. When I take the time at the beginning of my week to plan my meals or to plan some good downtime in my week or to make sure I have some good fun on the weekend. I not only feel better all week, I show up better. I'm more focused. I'm more creative. I feel more alive. I have more to give. 

And if this is not just me, we, we talk about these things all the time inside the Missing Peace program. Members notice how this works for them too. When you drop the belief that you don't have time for yourself and you start putting yourself first you get more done, you feel better, you have more energy, you create a positive cycle. We talk so much about vicious cycles and cycles that don't work. 

Starting with self-care, paying yourself first, filling your own tank can create this incredibly positive and powerful cycle that really works to your benefit.

I have a little side note for you here because I just realized as I heard myself talking that I have two resources for you that are not on my website anywhere at this time. I have a very short course on how to put yourself first that I can make it available to you in the show notes. And I also have a set of 10 minute guided visualizations that are such great examples of the power of 10 minutes. Some of them are nine minutes, but the way to the ways that you can use 10 short minutes to recalibrate yourself or to get centered or anchored or to relax or to plan your day or to get motivated. So I'm going to put the link to those resources in the show notes, because I think that they might be useful if this stuff is resonating with you.

Okay, the third and final thing that I want to make sure that we talk about when it comes to making self-care and me time more of a habit, more of a routine, more of a just matter of fact part of your life so that emotional eating and overeating aren't becoming the takeover substitute. 

The third thing I want to talk about is making self-care a ritual. And as much as possible, make it a standing date. And here's why. Routine is powerful. When we have things that happen automatically, when we have things that we think about automatically, they happen rather automatically, sometimes without us even thinking about them. Right? Think about eating on autopilot, mindless eating. Right? That is a routine, a groove that you have developed in your brain, whether you like it or not.

So, if something is difficult to do, Why make yourself reinvent the wheel and start fresh, figuring out how you're going to make it happen every single time. Especially when this thing we're talking about is something that you are by definition, struggling to make time for and find space for. So when you can, it is going to be so much easier and in your best interest to make self-care and me time a ritual or a routine or a habit. 

So this might be something you do every day, or it might be a habit or a ritual or, or a routine that you insert into certain places in your life. So for instance, I had a private coaching client who did a ton of travel for her job. She was on the road a lot. She was constantly traveling. And when she was on the road emotional overeating was a big problem for her. Not so much at home, we had worked out those issues and that was going pretty smoothly. But when she was traveling, things did not tend to go smoothly. Things tended to fall apart. 

I'm sure you can understand this. She's on the road. She's in new places. And so... She would feel challenged and also stressed by how to take good care of herself. How to make the food choices and the portion choices that she wanted to make when she was eating out every night in a new hotel and a new city that she was visiting. Okay. 

So one simple step that we worked on to reduce her stress and to help her take control of her eating and to feel more in control and confident was to design rituals, routines that helped to ground her and that she could use to relax. That she could use to plan her eating choices. And that helped her limit the stress eating or the eating that happened because she was getting too tired or feeling out of control. 

The key in her situation was to systematize things. So that she had some rituals and some routines that just guaranteed that, okay, if I do these things, these things will happen, the self-care, the me time will happen. And she was used to doing them at set times of the day and in set ways so that they could kick in even when she was away from home. 

She also has a packing and a trip planning kind of routine that includes some new additions, like taking her favorite tea with her and checking out restaurants in advance when she can doing a little bit of reconnaissance before she takes her trips. And doing some kind of planning and strategizing with her calendar around good sleep. 

So when you can make it a ritual, when you can have a routine, when you can know that when this happens, this is what I do. Or I always do this at four o'clock on Thursdays. Or Saturdays when I meet my friend for a walk. The more you can make it automatic, the easier it is going to be to have it happen, and the less toll, the less effort it's going to take for you to make that thing happen.

 

Self-care does not need to be complicated. 

Take that away from this episode. Self-care does not need to be complicated. It does not need to be overwhelming. And, in fact, by definition, self-care won't be self-care if it is complicated and overwhelming. But it does need to happen. So, if you keep telling yourself that it is too hard, or it is impossible to get what you need, or to take time for yourself, be honest with yourself. If you keep telling yourself it's too hard, or it is impossible, you are just reinforcing a belief that doesn't serve you. 

You can make it smaller. You can grab 10 minutes. You can create some kind of ritual or routine. You can find ways to pay yourself in teeny tiny ways first. 

Don't keep reinforcing beliefs that don't serve you. Take one of these tips and start experimenting with how you can make better self-care happen. With better self-care, you are so much less likely to fall into the overeating and the emotional eating traps. 

I'm going to include some more resources to help you do this in the show notes. There are a couple of related podcast episodes that I want to pull out for you and I will share the links to. And again, the mini courses that I described, the 10 minutes success soundtracks that are guided visualizations that you can use. And the how to put yourself first seven day mini course. 

And if you want support, Ongoing support, six months of support and a comprehensive program for creating not just better self-care, but freedom from overeating and peace with food, then come join me in Your Missing Peace. That link will be in the show notes too. The doors are open. You can enroll today and you can get started today. 

Self-care doesn't have to be hard and you can get more of what you need. 

I'll talk to you soon.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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