Transitions, Overeating, and Overwhelm – and Doing Things Differently | TMOHP Episode 138

This episode was recorded on my first day back from vacation - that transition day between relaxation and work modes. Overeating, emotional eating, and transitions can go hand-in-hand if you’re not aware of your automatic habits and thoughts. In this episode, I’m sharing what I discovered about how I handle (and don’t handle) transitions before and after a vacation, the unnecessary drama and stress I have created in the past, and what I’m experimenting with to take my power back from overwhelm and to break automatic habits that often lead to overeating.

In this episode:

  • Why transitions are often a major time for overeating, emotions eating, and mindless eating
  • My brain drama (that you might share or relate to)
  • Why not managing a transition can lead to procrastination, overwork, or numbing
  • An experiment for breaking autopilot habits like overeating during transitions

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Episode 6: Overeating and Transitions Part One
  • Episode 7: Transitions Part Two
  • The Freedom from Overeating Roadmap for Smart, Busy Women is your guide to ending overeating and emotional eating habits. Designed for multitaskers and busy women, you’ll take your power back from overeating with this free guide which includes resources for addressing the reasons you overeat and a user guide for Dr. Melissa’s most popular podcast episodes. Download your roadmap here:
  • Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz. The free Hidden Hungers Quiz was designed to help you target the reason you're overeating so you can create changes that last. Take a few minutes to find out what you're really craving (that isn't food) and get your Hidden Hunger profile and customized action guide. Join over 34,000 women who have used the free quiz to get to the root of their overeating and emotional eating.
  • Your Missing Peace is my signature 6-month program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Private Coaching for Emotional Eating and Overeating: I have openings in my schedule to work with about twelve women a year and openings are filled as space becomes available. Private coaching meetings are scheduled via Zoom or phone and we can connect from anywhere in the world. Private coaching is customized to you and your goals and we'll work together for a minimum of six months. Learn more and apply here.
  • Visit for more tips and resources to create peace with food and overcome overeating and emotional eating

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. I've actually missed you all. I have been on vacation and so I've taken a little break from recording episodes and thinking about the podcast and actually a complete break from being in my business. So today I want to talk with you about that and about some realizations that I've had. And about an experiment that I am I guess an experiment that I'm running today in my own life in hopes that it might be helpful to you. So anyway, I'm back from a vacation. Today is Monday as I'm recording this episode and it is my first working day after returning from this two-week vacation.

I can't remember the last time that I took a two-week vacation as an adult. And, this was really a vacation. I went away. My husband and I went away. I did not take my computer. I did not participate in my business. I took a break. I took a vacation.

And as I shared in a newsletter that I sent out while it was on vacation that I had written in advance, I made myself a promise before I went on the vacation. Because what I realized before the vacation is that I have this pattern. It's a pattern that you might have, or you might recognize. Which is, I feel like I have to prepare for the vacation. I feel like I have to do all the work that I would have done if I wasn't on vacation before I go on vacation or else I'll be behind. Right?

So, I have to somehow be superhuman and be twice as able to perform before I go on vacation and run around like a mad person trying to get all this stuff done so that I can relax. This is the story I tell myself. I have to do all the work that would have taken place in that two-week container. So that when I'm in that two week container, I can relax and go on vacation.

And, you might recognize this pattern. What this has resulted in for me in the past is a lot of stress before vacation. And also, a lot of drama, a lot of procrastination around things I don't want to do because it feels like extra and feeling overwhelmed and not being able to fall asleep at night.

And getting things done, actually getting the two weeks of extra work done before I go on vacation, or maybe having some things that I need to deal with while I'm on vacation. And then when I get on vacation, being so revved up from the just the adrenaline and the pressure that I put on myself before I went on vacation, that sometimes it would take a day or two or three to be able to actually relax my brain and get into vacation mode.

Do you recognize that pattern? I know I'm not alone in this. And for people who are stuck in cycles with overeating and stress eating, then you throw that into the mix too. Right? Because the pre vacation drama becomes a whole stressful, overwhelming recipe for overeating, too.

So, this time before I went on vacation, I made myself a promise. I was going to give myself a vacation and I was not going to wear myself out before I went on vacation. I promised myself that I was actually holding this space of two weeks in my life to take a break. To take a vacation. To enjoy where I was going to be and to enjoy the experience.

I wasn't going to do this thing that so many of us do, of telling myself I could only go on vacation if I also didn't go on vacation. I could be in two places at once. I could do twice the amount of work before I went.

Because, That's not realistic. That's not actually what human beings do. Right? I was going to hold this space for a vacation. And so

that meant that I wasn't going to get work done during that time. I wasn't going to pre do the work that would have been done during that time.

And when I came back from vacation, I was not going to do the thing that I also Can do or have done in the past, which has come back from vacation and now feel like I'm behind because I was away for two weeks. And somehow, I need to make up for whatever I missed in the two weeks that I was gone.

Because I had committed this time to vacation. I wasn't behind. I'm not behind right now. And I hadn't missed doing things. I had chosen not to do things because I chose to devote my time and energy to the vacation.

I've got to tell you; I am going to continue to make this promise to myself when I go on vacations because it made things so much smoother. It made the transition into vacation so much more about fun.

And preparing for the vacation and thinking about what I wanted to pack and anticipating the time that I was going to have. And when I left for the vacation, I was so much more relaxed than I usually am. I had a great first day of vacation. It was, it was really, this was a good experiment and one that I am going to continue to repeat.

So, here's what I realized this morning. Because as I said, it's Monday, it is my first day back in the office. First day back in work mode since I took this two-week vacation. And one of the things that I am noticing is really important to pay attention to is the fact that I'm in transition.

I am in transition in this actual moment between having been on vacation and coming back to work. If you've listened to this podcast in the past, you've probably heard me talk about transitions. If you're in the Your Missing Peace program, which is my six-month program where I work with you to create freedom from overeating. We talk about transitions all the time.

Because transitions are, transitions are pivotal. If you'll pardon the pun transitions are pivotal to making that shift into creating freedom from overeating. A transition is that space in between things. It's when we shift gears. It's when you end one project and have to decide what to do next.

It's when you leave work and go home. It is the time after dinner and you clean up the kitchen or whatever it is that you do and you get ready for bed. It's when you get back from vacation and you shift from vacation mode to work mode.

We have so many transitions. We transition all day long. There are little transitions and there are big transitions, retirement, parenthood, graduation, transitions are a big deal. I've recorded a couple of podcast episodes that are exclusively related to transitions and paying attention to transitions.

Because transitions are a big place where overeating and emotional eating show up. Over eating or mindless eating. or wandering into the kitchen and not knowing why you are there and trying to decide whether you are going to eat. These patterns with food often happens when we are in transition and we don't realize it. Or when we are transition and we don't take care of ourselves in that transition.

So often instead of taking care of the transition or taking care of what we need in a transition or paying attention to ourselves in a transition, we use food as a way to handle the transition. To ignore it, to power through it. I'll just get something to eat and I'll keep going.

Or to slow us down. To procrastinate. I don't want to do that thing, so I'll go get something to eat. I'll just sit down and have a bowl of ice cream instead, or I'll go through the drive through before I do that thing.

Overeating is often a way that we manage or try to manage our needs and our feelings instead of tackling what's really going on in a transition.

I don't struggle with overeating anymore in transitions, although I will catch myself sometimes wandering mindlessly into the kitchen and kind of wandering around and opening cupboards. And that has become a cue to me to realize, oh, wait a minute. I'm in that space between things. There's something that needs to be paid attention to.

But overeating is something I've done a lot of work on. And that's, that isn't something that comes up for me in these situations. However, as I am in this transition right now, on my first day back to work after vacation, and I'm very aware that I'm in transition. I'm learning some things. I'm realizing that when I'm in a transition like this, I start telling myself a lot of things.

It's time to get back to work. And I've made this promise that I'm not going to tell myself I'm behind. But I am noticing these thoughts come up. Right? Oh, I have to do this and I have to do this. And, I need to make up for that time. No, wait a minute. I promised myself I wasn't going to do that.

But there's a lot of mind drama. Is what I'm realizing in this transition. I am having all kinds of thoughts about what needs to be done. What I need to catch up on. And then telling myself, no, we're not going to do that. And then all this other mind drama about, okay, it's time to get serious or it's time to focus on this. Wait a minute. I don't want to, I liked vacation mode.

There's the feeling of, I want to overwork. I want to be super productive because I haven't been working for a couple of weeks. And then there's the counter feeling of I want to procrastinate because now I don't want to work because vacation was so great. I want to avoid it. I don't want to start. Maybe I'll give myself an extra half hour.


My mind is a very dramatic place. And I know my mind isn't alone in having that cacophony of thoughts and conflicting ideas and melodrama. When I think about it, transition, a transition is the space in between things.

So, part of a transition is I'm finished doing this one thing and now I'm going to move to the next thing and part of the transition there is deciding Okay, what am I going to do next? Right? What am I going to do with my time or my energy?

And if I'm not sure about that, or if I have mixed feelings about that, or if I'm telling myself stories about what it's going to take to show up for the next thing. Then it can lead to things like procrastination. And procrastination often leads to mindless eating or for me, wandering into the kitchen and opening all the cupboards and then deciding I'm not really hungry.

Or some other kind of drama. Scrolling on your phone and checking social media, spending way too much time digging through your emails and opening them and closing them.

None of these things, none of these thoughts or behaviors or mindless habits. None of these things are really tackling in a purposeful, intentional way. How do I want to handle this transition? How do I want to take care of myself? How do I want to, to act? What is the feeling I want to create? What is the result I want to have at the end of this hour? Or at the end of the afternoon or at the end of the day?

None of these mindless or reactive things that I tend to do in a transition are self-care or, or really me being me in the way that I want to be.

What I am realizing today is that today, Monday, the first day back from vacation, I'm in transition. Coming back from vacation is a big transition. And I have a lot of old habits and patterns around going on vacation, preparing for vacation, returning from vacation. And a lot of expectations and mind drama about what it means to be productive and how to show up.

And if I don't manage my mind and manage myself, I can very easily spend today stuck in that place of transition and mind drama. Or overworking and being over productive and completely undoing some of the wonderful benefits I created from my vacation. Or something else that isn't really satisfying.

So, here's what I have decided to do today. I have decided to really own that today is a day of transition. And my experiment today is to be as present as possible for as many moments as possible today. Meaning I really want to experiment with not letting today unfold on autopilot. I don't want today to unfold based on old habits. I don't want to just run the same thoughts through my brain.

I don't want to spend today actually telling myself stories about the past, what I didn't do. or how I'm behind. Or all those other things. I don't want to tell myself stories about the past and use up my time and energy that way. And I don't want to spend my time and energy telling myself stories about the future. And what needs to happen for the future. Which again, isn't me being present.

Take a minute and think about what you tend to do, what your personal habits tend to be if you start to get overwhelmed about the future. It's probably not good. It's probably not helpful. Right?

So, my goal today is to be present for as many moments as possible. And part of that is going to mean realizing that I'm not being present. Oh, I got sucked into that old story. Or I'm having that feeling again of being behind and pulling myself back into the present. Because noticing what's going on inside my mind is me being present.

And then as I'm being present, I start to have the possibility of making clear decisions. I am present in this moment. What do I want to do with this moment? How do I want to spend my time and energy in this moment?

What I realized today, as I started to think about this is all that mind drama, all that feeling that I'm behind, or I need to catch up, or I need to overwork. Or, oh, I don't really want to do the work because I don't want to give up on vacation mode. All that stuff that goes on leads me feeling like I want to hide.

I just want to not show up for anything. I just want to put my head down and work or put my head down in cocoon. I want to not be present in my life. I create all this mind drama where I want to escape. And that is such a waste.

So, today's experiment is that I am going to be as present for as many moments as possible. No telling stories about the past or the present. And making decisions as much as I'm aware of, oh, wait a minute, here's a moment. Making a decision about where do I want to put my thoughts and my energy right now.

It is early in this experiment. It is just early morning here. It's about eight o'clock. And here I am recording this podcast because I wanted to share with you what I am doing. I have to tell you; I don't know how today is going to unfold. I do know it's going to be incredibly imperfect. I do know I'm going to catch myself in all sorts of thoughts that aren't helpful all day long.

But every time I catch myself, I am going to be present and I'm going to be working that muscle of being more in presence with myself. And every time I make a decision about, wait a minute, here's what I want to do for this next hour, or here's what's important to me in these next 15 minutes. Or no, wait a minute, here's what I want to eat for lunch, because that's what's going to feel good inside my body. Every time I make one of those decisions, I'm going to take my power back.

And I am going to be taking care of myself in this transition. And I am going to be creating new habits and patterns about what it means to take breaks in my life. And I know that I am not the only one who gives themselves or who has historically given herself a hard time about taking breaks.

So, I'm back from vacation. I had a wonderful vacation. And I only spent it being on vacation. And now I'm here. I'm being present in my transition. It's an experiment. It's going to be imperfect.

And I hope this inspires you to go experiment with something that feels like it would be helpful to you. Go experiment. Give yourself permission to do it exquisitely imperfectly and learn from that. And see if you can have some fun with it.

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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