Nail this one thing and you may see some amazing results. . .
I want to share something that came up for a participant in my group coaching program recently. As members shared the places they still struggle with overeating, it started to become clear that each person, who had a very different struggle, was actually talking about the same thing.
Overeating, emotional eating, and stress crop up in the spaces between things.
In the car on the way to the next thing.
At the office when one meeting is over and it’s time to dive into a project.
After dinner and before bed.
Looking at your to-do list and not feeling clear about where to start.
When you come home from work.
When you finish something big.
Transitions are a place of disruption between one pattern or flow (like being at work) and another (arriving home and stepping into a new role).
If you don’t manage transitions, you put yourself at a disadvantage.
While productivity experts know very clearly the importance of paying attention to transitions, busy high-performers can be terrible about this. In fact, it’s a major trouble spot that is usually ignored and it’s a major cause of getting caught in vicious cycles with overwhelm, overload, and overeating.
Transitions are a place where many smart, busy women grab something to eat—mindlessly out of habit, as a way of procrastinating “the next thing,” getting an energy boost, or even rewarding yourself while simultaneously forging ahead. When you’re in transition you are not “in the flow” or in a groove and that discomfort can be another cue to reach for something to eat.
But wait – there’s more. Busy people are not very good at paying attention to transitions – and by this I mean pausing long enough to check in with yourself and do what you need to do to switch gears successfully for the next activity. There’s a tendency to rush on to the next thing without even pausing to catch your breath—or worse, overlap activities so there is no transition at all.
That’s what happens when you’re always running behind or multitasking, or using the nonexistent “time in between things” to text or check your email or make a quick phone call.
It may feel necessary or productive in the moment, but not creating pauses and transitions in your day is a recipe for disaster.
So what’s a busy woman to do?
Here’s an easy recipe for handling transitions without overeating:
For best results, resist the urge to overcomplicate this.
- Start noticing the transition points in your day and in your life. Chances are pretty good that these are also some of your most challenging points of the day.
- Once you’ve identified your transition points, create small ways to pause and center or check in with yourself before you move on to the next thing. The easiest way to start is to create teeny tiny rituals or habits that you do when you are transitioning. By small I mean small.
Get up and stretch
Go fill your water glass
Take ten deep breaths
Walk around the office or your house
Change your clothes or wash your face (when you get home from work)
Brew a cup of tea
Take a ten-minute break (decadent, I know!)
A client shared a lovely new ritual of stopping to light a candle when she gets home as a way to mark her transition.
Another client transitions into meals by stopping and blessing her food.
- As you pay more attention to your transitions, notice the role that eating plays during these times. Start tuning in to what hidden hungers you’re using the food to feed. You may amaze yourself with what you discover.
Pause, center, and move forward. It’s that simple
There’s one more thing. If your life is so over-booked that it feels like you barely have transitions, you’re probably guilty of major overlapping. Try giving yourself the grace of padding your schedule with five extra minutes between things (we’re starting small here).
Clients who have been stuck in this pattern often have to overcome the discomfort of “having extra time” or the temptation to “use it to squeeze in one more thing.” When they do, they usually notice pretty quickly how much better it feels to have that transition time – and how they feel more in control with eating, and with their life.