How To Avoid Overeating During Lockdown
As we are busy adjusting to our new normal. How many of you have found yourself in the kitchen cupboards a little more regularly than normal??
Over on my Facebook page the other day I asked ‘what are you finding yourself doing more of that you really know you shouldn’t’
Whilst people were noticing different things from, worrying, watching the news, shouting at the kids and/or husband, internet shopping, watching whole series on Netflix on one fail swoop, wine, procrastinating, in fact the list was pretty long.
Though the real biggie was of course foooooood, and how often you are currently frequenting your kitchen cupboards and the amounts of cakes you have been baking.
This was something that came up in this week’s coaching call with my Shine Squad crew. For some it’s not the constant snacking, but more in the feeling of when they do start eating, they simply can’t stop to the place where there is a loss of control and just identifying themselves with being ‘greedy’.
Having spent the last, well most of my adult life working from home I can totally relate and have been through this cycle many times, and in truth it’s something I am constantly working on.
Now more than ever with the stress, worry, uncertainty of the current pandemic to add to the mix, I feel it invites us all to look a little closer at our subconscious behaviours if we want to come out of this feeling better than when we went into it.
Your subconscious behaviours are the things that you do on automation, the mindless actions that you don’t really realise you are doing, or why you are doing it. These patterns are learned responses, the actions we take without any conscious awareness.
To give you an analogy to work with, think back to when you learnt to drive. It was hard at first right? I remember thinking how the heck are you supposed to turn the wheel at a roundabout, indicate, change gears, look where you are going all at the same time, wahhhhhh. I’m a pretty good driver I promise ha ha.
But over time you repeat these actions over and over and over again. Now driving is automatic, you do those actions without actively thinking about them. Have you even ever had those moments when you start along a train of thought whilst driving, and then all of a sudden you think, sh*t I don’t even remember driving that part of road. Yep, all of those actions got you there as your subconscious mind repeated the actions you have done a million times before and didn’t require your conscious brain to kick into action.
No try this. Hold out your hand with the palm facing up and imagine a lemon in your hand. Did your mouth start to salivate at the thought of the sour lemon? Yep, once again highlighting the power of your mind.
So, like when you were learning to drive, throughout life you learn to navigate certain situations you pick up and gather knowledge along the way. It’s the same for the behaviors we were taught around food growing up. This is what shapes our beliefs around food, our behaviours and how we use it to respond when ‘life stuff’ shows up.
Whether you grew up in a big family and told if you don’t eat fast, you miss out. Or mum that told you to eat every bit of food on your plate, there are starving kids in Africa. Maybe you were told as a kid that you were greedy. Or like me ‘ahhhh, you did an amazing job at school this week let’s go and get some sweeties as a reward.
Food was often given to us to soothe, to reward, to comfort, de-stress and even to celebrate, whatever the occasion food is always there for us.
Over time these different experiences create our relationship with food, and those behaviours get reinforced over time.
Your body is driven by the subconscious mind and so when we are tipped over the edge by a disturbance, event or heightened stress levels, the subconscious mind goes into reflex and creates the learned action, the one you have practiced time and time again, and at some point in your life it actually served you, and before you know it you are in the bloody cupboards again.
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed, food is the answer
Had a full on day homeschooling the kids and attempting to get any other thing done? yeah a glass of wine will take the edge off right!
Feeling tired in the morning, grab a strong coffee to get me going.
We are also turning to food as a means of avoiding facing the feelings and emotions that are currently rising up
Alongside this of course we also have the added challenge of the fact that we are now also turning to food as a form of distraction or to mask over boredom. It’s just something to do, and it’s but a few mere meters away.
Now I’m not for one minute saying you should never eat any of the delightful foods that you enjoy or having the odd glass of wine. BUT so many of you have come to realise during lockdown that it is becoming a bit of a problem, you know you ‘shouldn’t’ be doing it but just can’t help it and that is the action that I really want to help you with
So let’s just backtrack a little when we were looking at those past experiences, the learned patterns, we all usually have ‘the one’ food type that we turn to. For me it’s definitely sweets. Lovely chewy delicious sweeties.
I can remember the moments. Driving back from school and stopping by at the paper shop and being able to pick what I wanted, mmmmmm white chocolate fish and chips, do you remember those?? Or chewy bars like Wham bars. Yes, all the super sweet stuff that nearly pulls your teeth out, I’m forever surprised I have any teeth left at all.
I would go home, sit on the couch and scoff them all, savouring every chew of pure delight, while watching after school cartoons. It’s such a happy memory, it was love, my mum loved me so much, it was a reward I had done a good job at school today, it was safety, the security of my family home where everything was wonderful. Absolutely no cares in the world, just pure joy, ahhhhhhh. 🙂
So now any time I feel stress, overwhelm, self doubt, guess what…… yup I crave sweeties like nothing else, I literally cannot stop myself from eating them, and I will most certainly eat them ALL.
So why is it that we do that?? Why is one never enough and we have to eat the WHOLE pack??
Well, that’s because it’s never really about the food at all. And it’s ALL about the FEELINGS that food is associated with. The foods you are craving, are never going to truly give you the emotional feeling you are seeking, you simply CANNOT eat your emotions, and therefore you never actually feel satisfied and one will never EVER be enough!
This is why I became so obsessed with the power of mindset, it’s never really about the diet at all, and it’s ALL about the mindset behind it.
So how do we change this behaviour and stop ourselves from doing it I hear you all screaming at me??
It can be freaking hard to change such deep ingrained behaviours, it can take a lot of work, I constantly have to check in with myself as it’s far easier to function in default mode BUT it can also be as easy as creating conscious awareness and making the decision to choose something else.
Instead of diving into the cupboards as part of your automatic response, it’s going to require you to STOP yourself. This is really where the whole mindful eating movement comes into play.
I am such a huge fan of the power of questions. Yes it’s going to take for you to slow down, take a breath and actually stop yourself to consider what is going on? What is the emotional response that you are reacting to?
Sure there will be some times that you just want something for the sake of wanting. And that’s ok.
But…. I am talking about those times when you feel a loss of control, when you can literally say to yourself ‘what the f*ck am I doing here again’ or those moments when you say ‘yeah I’m pretty full now, but you carry on eating anyway’
With my Shine Squad members we go deeper into actively asking the questions based around your relationship with food. What beliefs do you have around food, e.g I’m just greedy, I just like food’
These are just a few of the questions I get my paid members to work with, but I wanted to give you some to get you started to help you with this. So grab a pen and paper and allow yourself a little space to ask yourself the following questions. Write down the answers in your journal, go into as much detail as you can. The deeper you allow yourself to go, the more powerful the questions become.
Awareness is always the first step to creating change and why the power of journaling comes into its own. Never underestimate the life changing power of putting pen to paper.
And sure for some people sitting with these questions can be uncomfortable as hell, BUT avoiding asking them is the same reason you are in the cupboards again and can’t seem to stop. So you can continue to attempt to eat through your feelings OR you can use this time to go within and work through them creating the difference between gaining weight during lockdown, or taking back control.
These are just a few of the questions we use. We then move onto the 5 steps of working through ‘the moments’ of when you go into your automatic patterns. And this is an ongoing process, I still have to call on this tool now. BUT over time it gets easier and you start to lay down new patterns and learn new behaviours. That’s when things really begin to change.
We are going to be revisiting this training in more depth next week within the Shine Squad, my group coaching peeps and I simply cannot wait to go through it again. I have done it many times before and each time is just an opportunity to uncover new things that you hadn’t seen before.
If you want to learn more about the power of mindset and the tools I teach with my community CLICK HERE and go and download the Get Your Sh*t Together life planner and the free training series that comes with it. As this is the very first step in creating the awareness around how you get to create a life on purpose.
I can’t wait to guide you through this time. I’ll see you on the other side.
PS – If you found this post helpful then please share it with your friends too. Together we share the message of taking back the reigns of how you choose to live the life you want. I appreciate you being here 🙂