Overeating After the Thing | TMOHP Episode 053

I just wrapped up the free 5-day Freedom from Overeating Workshop and I’m thinking about how it feels after something has ended. I’m also thinking about how this would have been a time when I might have mindlessly eaten in the past - and not known why I was doing it. 

Overeating and emotional eating after something is over - whether it’s a fun thing like a vacation, or something stressful like winding up a big work project - is common. And it’s not something we pay enough attention to. Let’s fix that

In this episode:

  • What the "after" is and why it can feel unsettling
  • Why and how we can set ourselves up to not make great decisions in the “after”
  • Some transitions that you might not be recognizing
  • Power moves for getting what you need and taking care of yourself in the “after”

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Full episode transcript:

Hello everybody. I'm recording this episode of the podcast the day after we wrapped up the Freedom From Overeating five day workshop series. So this was a five day workshop series that was online. That was free. That was all about helping people understand the underlying structure that you need to have in place to create real lasting freedom from overeating in your life.

So every day for five days, and actually I did some bonus things after that, but every day for those five days and more, I was going live and teaching and then interacting in the group and responding to comments and people were sharing their action items that they had taken and their wins and the shifts that were happening.

And it was a really exciting time. It's a great event, actually, we will be doing it again. So if you missed the freedom from overeating workshop, there is a wait list so that you can be notified. I don't know what the dates are going to be, but you can be notified when we offer that in the future. I will put it in the show notes, but if you are wondering, "oh, how do I get in on this?" just go to TooMuchOnHerPlate.com TooMuchOnHerPlate.com/register. Depending on when you're listening to this episode, you are either going to get taken to a page that will allow you to sign up to be on the wait list. Or if you're listening to this later and we happen to be offering the workshop or we've opened registration, you will be able to register in real time, but either way you will be covered.

Anyway, that was kind of a tangent. Just wrapped up this workshop. It went on for about a week and a half and it was great. Lot of work, went into it, lot of focus time. And so now I'm in the after time, which is what I want to talk with you about today. The time after the thing, there are a lot of feelings. So I feel really good.

We changed lives. People's minds were shifted. People were excited. It was really gratifying to be able to be a part of that. I also feel a little bit tired because, it was intense. And it was about, you know, it's just a lot of energy to be around for this introvert. Then there's the other stuff that happens in the after time. If you think about the time after something ends and I don't know about you, but when something that has been so, big and that I've been so focused on is over like this, like this latest workshop series, or like if I've been training for a marathon and the day after the marathon, I feel kind of lost the next day. I feel like this thing that was structuring me, the thing that was, you know, I just knew this is where my thoughts were focused. This was what I was doing. If anybody asked, "what are you up to?" I'm doing the workshop series that has gone away.

And it's also a time because it's not that my calendar is empty it's not like my life is empty now, there are a lot of things in my calendar, but it is a time of changing gears. This is a time of transitions. And if you followed me, you know, that I think transitions are really important. In fact, there are a couple of podcast episodes about transitions that are worth a listen. I believe they're episode six and seven, and I will put the link to those in the show notes as well.

So here I am in the after time. This is the time after the thing is over. And as I was thinking about it today, I thought about how this in the past, it's not my thing now, but in the past, this might have been a time for overeating or mindless eating or kind of eating and not really knowing why I was eating, but knowing I wasn't hungry, but maybe having that feeling like I was unsettled or like, I didn't really know what was going on. And I don't know if you've ever had that experience where it kind of feels like the eating is grounding you.

So that may have been something that would've happened in the past. It's not happening now. What's happening now is I'm just noticing that I am in the after time. And what I was also thinking about is how often we totally ignore this particular time, this particular stage of things, and how many times this is the place that surprises and really trips up my clients.

This is something that comes up on the coaching calls in Your Missing Peace that like, you know, I was doing so well. I was on track. I had that plan and someone will say to me, and we put together that plan and I felt so good about how I handled the trip. The trip went great. The choices I made felt really good. I enjoyed food and I didn't overeat. And I was feeling really great about that. And then I don't know what happened because I came home and stuff just kind of felt slippery. I, I didn't do my old routines that I was doing before the trip. And I, I just, it just kind of fell apart. I hear this a lot.

So often we, and by we, I mean, all of us, but especially high achievers who are used to preparing for things and used to strategizing and used to looking ahead. So often we prepare for the thing, but not for after the thing. Our mind wraps around the thing and then our thinking about what's going to happen just kind of ends. And I think sometimes we have this magical thinking that there is going to be this thing that I'm going to either get through or enjoy, or that is going to happen to me.

And then when it's over, it's almost like a button will be pushed and life will just go back to the way it was. But there's a transition there. You will be ahead of 95% of us if you learn to see the transition and pay attention to the transition. So what are these things I'm talking about this overeating after the thing and what we do after the thing after the vacation?

That time after the really difficult presentation or the board meeting that you prepped and prepped and prepped for and all those late nights, the time when that is over the time after the kids go back to school, the time after the holidays, the time after that awkward breakup or that difficult conversation, the time after the relatives leave.

This is a time to pay attention to. What often happens is not only do we get so focused on planning for the thing and sometimes planning for the thing includes planning for how you want to handle your eating. So maybe vacation is a time when you typically tend to overeat or maybe in the past, there's been a pattern of I'm either eating very rigidly or I'm doing vacation eating, which I covered in the episode all about eating on vacation.

But what happens is maybe you've identified that this is a challenging situation. It's either a celebration where food can be challenging or it's a stressful situation where food can be challenging. And so you've, you've identified that, and maybe you have even been proactive and you've done some thinking and anticipating, and you've put together a plan for that.

So maybe you planned for how you wanted your vacation eating to go. Maybe you planned for the difficult presentation or the kids going back to school, or maybe you planned for how you were going to get through that, you know, that last week before school started. So not only do we forget to think about the after, but what often happens is that by the time you get to the, after you're depleted.

Maybe you even have a hidden hunger for rest. Maybe you are exhausted, but you've put your whole game into that thing that was happening either to enjoy it or to endure it or to get through it, depending on, on what the thing was. You've put your heart and soul into it. And maybe even to, to making that plan, that new way of doing things, the changes that you're trying to create, maybe you've also put a lot of energy into that.

So you roll into the after. You get home from the airport. You wake up Monday morning, you get out of the car after that horrible day at work is finally over. And not only do you not have a plan, have you not thought about what would be helpful? But you don't have much energy or much bandwidth to be creative or to be resilient or to be resourceful or innovative or nimble about what you do when you find yourself in this after place.

Because so much of the time we end up in this after place feeling a little bit, or a lot off our game and a little bit, or a lot tired. And then a little bit, or a lot surprised that we're not just magically in this place that feels comfortable and good and just sliding back into the groove with those habits that we had just expected were going to show up for us.

So honor, the after. Pay attention to the after start thinking about the after or the time, right after the end of something as a transition that is so worth paying attention to. This is so worth the time and the energy it will take to do this. It is so helpful to think about the after, before it gets here. It is so helpful to just see that this is a thing that exists because we can't deal with what we don't know about.

And I guess what I have been saying throughout all of this is that for so many people, the after is it's a blind spot. It's like this thing that happens that we don't even really recognize. And then a few days after the vacation has ended, and maybe you get home on Sunday night and you go back to work on Monday and then maybe by Thursday, you're starting to get your groove back.

Or maybe by Thursday, you're feeling completely off track, but whatever happened between Monday and Thursday kind of feels like a blur. So start thinking about the after as a real thing and start thinking about the after, before.

Here are some concrete things that you can do. You can ask yourself, what will you need after? This might be something really concrete. For instance, if you're coming back from a trip, maybe you want, or you're going to need an easy way to have your groceries in your refrigerator. One of the things you might need after is a plan, a grocery list. So you don't have to think about it or a plan to have your groceries delivered, or to be able to go pick up your groceries.

What will you need after? It might be that you will need extra rest. It might mean if you've had a difficult situation or a stressful event that has happened, maybe one of the things, you know, you're going to need after is a way to decompress or, there's somebody that it will be really helpful to have a conversation with ask yourself, what will you need after. Also, it is really helpful to ask yourself what you know about what you're likely to be feeling after.

Again, it could be a physical feeling. You might know that I am going to be exhausted. I'm going to feel depleted. Maybe you are worried that you're going to feel anxious about how something went or you are going to feel stressed out, or maybe, you know, that your whole body lets down after something like this, maybe it's going to be a difficult visit with the in-laws. And in the, after, you know, from experience that you sometimes feel insecure or you sometimes feel frustrated. So when you know what you're likely to be feeling, you can connect that up with, you know, what might you be needing after? Another really powerful question is to ask yourself, okay, in the, after, what does self-compassion look like? What does self-compassion look like after whatever this thing is, is over. because this is a place where if you do not ask this question and if you're not in touch with what you need and with what you're feeling, the default mode that is not real self-compassion can be a binge or a run through the drive through that you don't really want or eating in a way that doesn't feel good and that is so out of alignment with what you've been trying to do for the next seven days.

So what does real self-compassion look like in the, after. Your situation is going to dictate what that is, your situation and who you are as a human being. But oftentimes self-compassion looks like allowing yourself to be tired, giving yourself permission to be exhausted. Self-compassion might look like giving yourself extra rest. I cannot tell you how many people I talk with about that after part of something, Because, here's the thing, I think that when we have something happening, whether it's vacation or whether it's something really difficult, there's a part of us that looks forward to the, after there is a part of us that there's something gratifying about getting back to it or getting back into the routine. And if it's a difficult thing, it is really gratifying to just have it be over. We want to, we want to be in part two of that story.

And so I can't tell you how many people I work with who make the initial mistake of feeling like I am going to be so excited to get back to my life. It is going to be great. It is going to be easy. I'm going to jump right in. I'm going to catch up on the stuff that I've missed out on that. Somehow we have this fantasy that we are going to have all this super extra energy, and we're going to actually hit it harder in that after time than we normally do. We're going to be superwoman.

What does self-compassion look like? Because so much of the time self-compassion is acknowledging that the after is often a place where we are recovering. Or we're in need of some kind of nourishment for our spirit, or we're just plain tired. So often when my clients start to see this after, and they start to respect the after and they're and where they are going to be in the after.

So often the first thing that happens is a lot of crossing things off the calendar. Maybe I don't need to do that this week. Maybe that first day I could go in late to the office. Maybe that weekend I don't want to plan a lot of social engagements. Now, I'm not saying you're going to be exhausted in the after. I just, I'm saying that that is a common experience that I see a lot and then neglecting that tiredness is part of what can fuel a real cycle of emotional eating and overeating.

I am saying it is very powerful to ask yourself “what does self-compassion look like after the thing?” And then the final question that we have been talking around, but is really key is when you're in the, before, once you have given some thought to these questions, ask yourself what you can do before to prepare for after.

So the way I often put this to a client is, you know, what is, what is the way that you could create an on ramp to the after that would feel as easy as possible? What could you do to make it easy? To slide into the, after to slide into getting back to your routine, to slide into handling food, the way you want to, to slide into what you're doing to pay attention to what you need and what you feel, what can you do before the thing, what can you put in place? And don't forget that asking for help is putting something in place. Getting support, delegating. What are the things that you can think of that will make the after just a little bit easier.

So after you listen to this episode, go and take a little, look at your schedule, ask yourself what are the things that are coming up that I am anticipating? And then take a look and ask yourself, is there an after related to this?
Start noticing whether the after is a place where you tend to overeat or find yourself struggling with emotional eating, and then start paying attention to the after, before.

I am currently in the after and it feels really good to share this information with you. I hope this episode is helpful.

I am going to go cut out early and get a little bit of rest. 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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