health

Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is real--tired, stressed, bored, sad, even joy can lead to excessive eating. 

Feeling a lack of control can also contribute.

That’s me. Something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, and something I have been working tirelessly on over the last 12 months. When unforeseen circumstances arise that are out of my control, I take immediate action. I try to remedy. Try to regain control.

When I cannot fix it, when the situation simply is what it is, that’s my trigger.

The truth is once we enter a state of emotional eating it’s almost impossible to to stop. It also brings about very real feelings of guilt and shame.

The key to breaking the emotional eating cycle is to understand your emotions, and the factors that typically lead to the act, and rather than eating to cope, dive in fully and change your actions.


First, just stop. Breathe.

Take a look inward and understand what it is that you’re feeling. Being able to name our emotions as they’re happening has actually been proven to diminish the intensity of it.

Be as specific as possible. For example, when I was in the middle of my divorce, I was feeling A LOT. So rather than stating a very general, “I feel sad,” I would challenge myself to go deeper. What I was really feeling — absolutely terrified that no one will ever deem me worthy of love or being faithful to. That no one will ever want me, and I am going to be alone for the rest of my life.

Go deeper to lessen the intensity of what you’re feeling, and show yourself compassion. Acknowledge what you’re feeling, and tell yourself it’s ok to feel that way. There is no reason to feel any guilt or shame for feeling this. Remind yourself that it will pass; what you’re feeling is not a permanent state.

When I was first practicing this, I would write it all in a journal. I carried my journal and a pen with me wherever I went, because when I was in the thick of divorce, starting over as a single mother, and my mother’s cancer, big emotions would hit at random throughout the day.

Just like anything, it takes practice. I’ve taken myself through this so many times, it’s second nature at this point. I no longer need the journal.

Now, what factors have lead to your emotional eating?

Who were you with?

What were you doing?

What was your stress level?

Did you sleep well?

Remaining mindful in an emotional state is key. Reacting to a feeling is immediate, it’s an emotional state in itself. It’s not based on thought. Responding, on the other hand, requires thought. It requires mindfulness and understanding. It requires compassion.


Understand your patterns.

To break the emotional eating cycle you also want to understand what your typical patterns are. For most, emotional eating is a habit engrained by repetition. They go into autopilot and reach for the same foods time and time again.

So what is your pattern? Do you go to the grocery store? The drive through? Is it food you keep at home regularly?

Once you identify your patterns you can take action to break them. 

Creating new patterns and habits, and breaking old ones takes a tremendous amount of practice and time. Yes, you will stumble. Yes, it is going to feel hard. Some days will feel impossible. But it will get better. It’s only a failure if you stop trying. When you quit, that’s when you fail. But if you get back up and continue to press forward, you will make progress, and it will get better. I am living proof of that.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” - Calvin Coolidge

XOXO - 

Jules

5 Tips to Navigate the Holidays

This time of year isn't always the easiest. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, people tend to struggle, so I had some thoughts I wanted to share on the matter.

1. What you do the majority of the time is what matters most, not what happens over a few holiday events. So, if leading up to your holiday parties and events, you're eating well 80-90% of the time, and getting 3-4 workouts in per week, you're going to be just fine. 

As I like to tell my clients, 80-90% compliance done consistently is ALWAYS going to be more effective than inconsistent perfection.

2. Do YOUR best, and "best" is going to look different for everyone. For myself, I like to stick to my foundational health habits to get me through this time of year. I know that if I'm at least accomplishing these things, I'll be able to bounce back and get into my routine with more ease.

- Build each meal around a quality protein and LOTS of non-starchy veggies.

- Move daily.

- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

- Prioritize sleep.

3. Keep moving daily. This doesn't mean I'm expecting you to hit the gym and crush a high intensity workout every day. It can be as simple as getting out of the house and going for a 20 min walk. I know each one of you can commit to a walk, at the very least.

Really, what I want is for you to move your body in a meaningful way daily. And that can look however you want it to. Just move.

4. Avoid going off the rails with your diet. It can be incredibly difficult to swing the momentum back in the direction of health and wellness when you've let yourself go completely. It's not impossible, but again, much easier to get back to your routine when you've practiced eating moderately.

5. NO GUILT. Regardless of how the next two weeks play out, the absolute last thing I want for any of you is guilt and shame surrounding your food or activity choices. Your progress will not be made in a single workout or single meal. It is a cumulative effort. What matters most is what you do once the events are over. All those other days, the days where there are no events, and you're living normally, those are the days where progress is made or lost.

Regardless of how the next two weeks play out, I want you to enjoy the hell out of them. Enjoy each bite, enjoy the time spent with the ones you love, and enjoy having a break from the normal day-to-day.

And for those of you who struggle actually being around your family this time of year, or for those who might feel their loneliness exemplified by lack of family, I am truly sorry. Stay strong, and please know that you are not alone. You will get through this and life will be back to normal soon.

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” - Brene Brown

It’s in the darkness that our light can shine the brightest.

XOXO -

Jules