(follow-up from Instagram post 4/05/19. True story.)
Do you relate to this?
Sistermamas. Hashimamas. Women who feel too much. Women who try not to feel at all. Women who simply just have bad days. Please listen.
Some of you have been binging for your lifetime. Some of you are just "emotional eaters" — you eat emotionally, but don't binge. Others may classify yourselves as disordered eaters — this was my preferred definition for myself after many, many years.
Whoever you are, it is ok. You are not alone. Cripes — even a Health Coach who has healed, and healed again; and who has gone through the depths of disordered eating, and the depths of FEELING, and has coached many women around this, and thought she was "over this" – may find herself, as I did last week, at this very moment.
The stress is too much. The emotions touch her like burning embers. The cup has overflowed and it becomes too much to feel anymore. It's either a drink, many drinks, or food.
For you it could be shopping or food. Screaming or food. Punishing or food. Maybe it's all of it. Maybe it's your own cocktail of "dealing".
This habit of binging, or solving your problems with food, won't stop until you deal with it — I mean like truly deal with it.
Whatever it is that you blame. The thoughts you have. The feelings that come up.
You have to allow the discomfort and deal with it.
How? With a conversation. Between two people who have ignored each other, adored each other, loved each other, accused each other, berated each other —
between You and You.
1. Ask yourself, "What happened?" Be factual. Be honest. Face it. Own it.
2. Tell yourself you have permission to feel now.
Feel the feelings. What feelings weren't you willing to have, when you ate them away?
Conjure them up, now. FEEL THEM IN YOUR BODY. Let them out.
This needn't take hours...or days. Sometimes it does. But, it doesn't HAVE to. It's not like the bigger the problem the longer you need to dwell in it. Did you know that our brain can process a feeling in 90 seconds? Like water rolling off your back.
You may have "learned" that feelings are hard and, if you're not stuffing them, you must hold onto them and keep regurgitating them often — and THIS is why it's hard to feel them now. Why you stuff.
However, you can feel all the feels — and BE DONE. Just. Like. That. You won't die. You will survive. It will be uncomfortable. But, you can do this. I promise.
And...it can happen quickly. With practice. But for now, however it feels, and for however long, just feel the feelings you were unwilling to feel.
Breathe. Are there more? Anything left?
3. Ask yourself "What do I want to feel now, instead?"
Peace. Balanced. Relief. Trust. Security. Joy. Neutrality? You get to choose. Really.
Just decide the thought you must be thinking in order to feel the emotion you want to be feeling. And begin to think it.
It can be this simple. It is not easy. It is simple, though.
It doesn't matter if this habit of feeling with food happens often, or just once in a while. Stress must be addressed. Feelings must be felt. This conversation must be had.
And, it's ongoing. Yesterday it was binging, today it's lashing out, tomorrow it's blaming. And beating yourself up, punishing? Then too.
Keep practicing, loves. It is worth it, I promise.
I know I'm a "thyroid coach" a "lifestyle medicine coach". You might think my role is in food on the plate and labs and exercise and sleep. Sometimes I wish it were that simple. Mostly though, I don't.
The emotions we carry, from traumas big or small, true or imagined — these are the parts of our lives that bring out our beauty at its very richest. I am so honored to help women work through emotions and long standing, yet untrue, beliefs and find the strength underneath.
So many women I have helped have also been emotional eaters. Some are also empaths, women who feel too much. Some are women who work all day being perfect and have to crumble at some point. Their bodies gave in...waved the white flag.
There is always a tipping point that has brought our bodies into "autoimmunity", but it wasn't because our life was always sunshine and roses. Even for the rosiest amongst us.
So, here we are. Some of you are diagnosed. Others are not. Some feel physically off. Some have gained weight that won't budge. Some yo-yo through life. Others of you are thin. Some have thyroid problems. Others never will. But, if you can relate to this blog, we DO have something in common.
All of us need better tools dealing with our emotions.
You can begin to heal. Your hearts, your illness, your disordered eating, your emotional eating, your outbursts, your supression.
By the way. Who's to blame here?
Our partners, parents, kids, jobs, childhood bullies, ex-friends, bad friends, religion, politics, the weather, toxins, broken appliances, broken homes, broken hearts?
Feels good to blame....hmmmm? I hear you. Even better when we commiserate with others about it, too. Feels soooo good and validating...right?
Trust me when I say this.
Those people and events you blame are only circumstances. THAT IS ALL. How you THINK about them —what they did, what they caused — THAT is what creates your emotions. Your thoughts created your sadness or pain or anger. If you want to change how you react, you have to change how you think. Be responsible.
Ugh. I can feel the items being thrown at me right now. I'll take it. It means you are FEELING!
And that is, of course, necessary. FEEL the feelings. Your thoughts about circumstances are often warranted. But don't let the feelings own you. And, maybe assess your thoughts now and then and see if possibly you could have reacted differently based on a different thought reframe about the situation. If not then, maybe now. Can you reframe it now? Is it time?
Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings and actions. Adjust accordingly. This is not punishing...it is EMPOWERING.
Some of you might say, "But Jenn, what happened to me was wrong. What they said was awful. Do not tell me I cannot feel this way. What I am feeling is warranted, it hurts, and if suppressing it feels better I have a right to do that." — You have a right to all of anything. You are in control of your life. Your choices, your feelings. And, you can continue to binge and to hide those feelings inside where they fester and create disease (physical/mental/emotional/spiritual disease). I am the first to admit, that day, described in black above, stemmed from old thoughts, old beliefs, old stories I was holding onto. Those thoughts were STILL creating feelings and since I didn't want to feel them, I ate.
If continuing to feel shitty feels good —have at it. It is your right.
OR...you can choose to empower yourself. Decide that those words said to you were ABOUT THEM, NOT YOU. Decide that what happened was awful and feeling sad is justifiable but now IT IS TIME to think differently. Reframe. Forgive. Let go. Learn.
Some of you might say "But Jenn, I AM feeling. I feel sad and I cry. I feel angry and I yell. Then I eat, and I feel better. I don't hold onto anything but weight!"
Well, girlfriend, let's find better tools to feel better. Allow the pain. Sit with it. Let it flow through you. No numbing food fix necessary. Life isn't supposed to be painless. It's in the discomfort where we grow. When you have felt the pain, allowed the sadness, while you are feeling, choose something else non-destructive to do.
Take a walk. (wear sunglasses and cry...pretend people won't know. I do. ) JOURNAL. Putting feelings on paper is healing. No judgement, just write. Cuddle with your dog...breathe.
OK -- I can't coach ALL of this in one blog. So let me finish up with the end of my story from the images above. It's a lighter, happy ending. I swear.
The next day, I had the hard conversation with myself. I said it out loud. I let myself be angry and be sad. I cried. Seriously. I felt it in my body. Then...it was done. Over.
Just like that.
I realized how I could have handled things differently. I noticed how GOOD it felt to release my emotions. Sooo much better than eating them. If there is a next time, I will remember to do this first.
I still felt physically icky though. I was day-after-binging-bloated. Day-after-ugly. Crap-food-tired. I had appointments that day. I could have chosen to eat and dress according to how I felt — diet food, punishing food, crappy comfort food paired with dark clothes, big and baggy — which very well could have prolonged the feelings of ick.
Instead, and with special thanks to Carrie Montgomery — a stylist I worked with who, in ONE WEEK, gave me a whole new healing perspective on clothing and how clothes can be tools that emotionally and energetically support me —
I put on my body armor, my all-black-everything undies, bra, and cami to literally protect and secure me. I chose fun, easy, but semi-fitted clothes with a few splashes of color to uplift me and to express how I wanted to feel. I tied a scarf around my neck, again for protection and security...I'd been through a lot, this felt like an embrace. And, I hung a pendant around my neck, landing right at my solar plexus, my power source. Holding it, I felt support in that chakra, even energy. And... I had a fabulous day. No thoughts on my bloated body or face. Stepping forward without the baggage. All good. All powerful.
I fed myself well too. Flooded my body with nutrients. Bright colors. Bursting with flavor. Brain food. Emotion food. No punishment. All good.
We can eventually dive into more of this, and that, and chakras as well. Look up Carrie if you're interested in her work. And, know that we can express without using words.
I didn't do this just to tell the world though. I was expressing to myself:
"You matter. You are a beautiful piece of work, do you know that? You fucking matter to me."
Which is why I do the work. Continually. It's never "done".
And, just so you know — once you learn the tools, just like processing feelings, the work can happen in an instant. Sometimes life can get the best of us. But the process still works. No giving up.
Treat your body well, girlfriends. Feed yourself by feeding your needs. Your body needs you to be honest and vulnerable and REAL. It's amazing what happens to a woman when she truly learns to feed herself.
XO and Love Yourself,