Episode 55. Snacking, Binging, Emotional Eating and Exercises to Help You HEAL
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This episode began with a real and raw letter from a potential client who suffers from binge eating, but who agreed to let us share her letter on the show. For those dealing with these issues right now, please do visit: scottabelfitness.com/foodissues to get a few specific, helpful exercises sent to you (journaling prompts, self-investigation questionnaires, etc.).
Important Points for Healing
- Release valves: what’s a good release valve? The answer is anything that is not a self-sabotaging behavior. Scott likes adult colouring books, which are becoming more and more popular as a relaxation exercise and self-connecting activity. Anything you can immerse yourself in is a good thing (flow state). Another option is, yes, television.
- Another important point is to get away from the number crunching, which encourages black and white thinking, and is often the cause of the build up of pressure in the first place.
- Scott mentioned the transformation of Alba and her husband. Find those here.
- The writer of the letter mentioned that she has worked in a supplement shop. One of the keys with this is to be aware of environments that actually make things worse. A supplement shop can be an environment full of triggers, since it is so body-image oriented (the writer mentioned that the shop is “full of sweets,” ironically).
- Mike: You have to be careful with “knowing thyself” and creating self-fulfilling prophecies: “Oh, these are my triggers, I’m destined to binge when I encounter them….” (Also, note that it won’t come in this form. No one says stuff like this. It’ll be a vague, much less articulated fear of “giving in.” But it’s just as damaging, and it’s still a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
- You also have to avoid becoming “comfortable” in trying another diet, and another diet, and another diet. You’re not actually digging your way out. It’s a way to pretend. (We all do this.)
- Be careful about associating “health” with “leanness.” Yes, these things are associated, but be careful: are you truly dieting for “health” reasons?
- Scott often refers to the triangle of awareness: mental, emotional, physical/behavioral. One problem many people have is focusing too much on the behavioral, and putting all their efforts there, when they have to dig deep into the emotional realm first.
- Avoid the compare, contrast, compete mindset. You can’t win with that one.
- A good followup exercise for almost any journal exercise is “and then what?” and do that five times (or, in other words, five layers deeper): “I want to lose 5 lbs. by next weekend. Okay, and then what? [blah blah blah] –> Okay, and then what? [blah blah blah] –> etc.”
This one is two parts:
Part 1. Write down and share what surrounding environmental and emotional triggers for your negative thoughts and behaviors (TV commercials, magazines ads, social situations, whatever). A good follow-up (part 1 “b”) would be to dig in there. Write down or free write why they’re triggers, and then dig into how they make you feel. What exactly are they “triggering”?
Part 2. You also need to write down what self-talk strategies you will put in place next time these triggers strike – noticing them is only one step – what you plan to do about them is the next step.
Part 3. Go back and repeat steps 1 and 2, but this time address the specific behaviors you want to deal with. (Maybe it’s binge eating, maybe it’s certain negative thoughts.) In other words, drill down from the general to the specific, and then excavate.
Go and grab the top five fitness, health, or style magazines from your local book store. When you get home, use these prompts:
- When I look at this person on the cover of this magazine, I feel….
- When I look at this person on the cover of this magazine, I feel about myself….
Trigger Foods and Trigger Moods
Use these prompts:
My trigger foods are…
My trigger moods are…
Once you identify your trigger foods and your trigger moods write about them.
Once you’ve done that, focus on the SOLUTIONS to these triggers. Focus on the solution, not the problem. (What you focus on expands. So… focus on solutions.)