Are you stuck in a cycle of dieting and emotional eating that looks something like this?
You want to be healthy, and since we're being totally honest here, you'd also like to wear that favourite pair of jeans hiding in the back of your closet again, so you try to be good. You do your best to follow whatever the current diet trend might be (low-fat, high-fat, low-carb, keto, intermittent fasting, etc.) or you're using meal replacement shakes, bars or supplements in an effort to lose weight. You stick with it for a while and see some modest results. Then, a co-worker brings donuts to the office. Your spouse brings home take out. The family wants to order in pizza. You drive by your favourite bakery, ice cream or coffee shop. Someone leaves a half-eaten bag of potato chips on the counter. You are invited out for a girls night. The daily temptations are suddenly no match for the willpower and white knuckling strategies you've been relying on. You start to think…
I've been so good
I deserve this
It's been so long
I've had a hard day
Just this one last time
I'll start again tomorrow
You give in and in the moment it tastes so good. And since this is the last time you may as well eat it all. And before you fully realize, you've overindulged. You feel awful. You feel full - like too full. You're sluggish and ready for a nap - whatever was on the agenda for the next couple hours will have to wait. Then your inner critic pipes up...
Why did you do that?
That was dumb!
You know you we don't eat those foods
Have you no willpower?
How are you going to make up for this?
Starting tomorrow no more sugar, carbs, bread, fat, <insert whatever the diet fad of the day says is bad>
If this sounds eerily familiar and you're wondering how I can describe your experience so accurately, it's because I've been there. For years I was stuck in a cycle of emotional binge eating, dieting, restriction, judgement and self-criticism.
My struggle started when I separated from my husband of 10 years. Up to that point, I considered myself to be a pretty normal and typical eater. I ate fruit and vegetables, meat, grains, and dairy. I also ate cookies, pizza, chicken fingers, ice cream and chocolate all without guilt or shame. And then food went from just being food to suddenly being this thing that carried so much more weight - both literally and figuratively.
Even after I got over the divorce and carried on with my life, the emotional eating continued, like a bad habit that I just couldn't get rid of. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of emotional eating. I would succumb to cravings for sugary, high carb foods, end up eating too much, and be left feeling bloated, puffy, foggy, and tired. However, as bad as the physical symptoms were, they were nothing compared to the overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, judgement and self-criticism. I'd vow to never do it again. I would tell myself that I couldn't have or shouldn't eat certain foods. This only fueled the fire of craving and feelings of deprivation causing the cycle to begin anew.
I felt so stuck! I dug deep into nutrition with the hope of finding a solution. I figured that if I knew more, if I knew exactly what to eat, then I could do better. Unfortunately knowing and doing are not the same, and in fact the knowing and not following through only added to the negative and critical thoughts I had about myself and my inability to fix this problem.
My desperation for a solution led me to delve into other aspects of health and wellness including emotional and mental health - things I'd previously dismissed as too touchy-feely. I took up meditation, started practicing gratitude, and did my best to be as kind and compassionate to myself as I was to others. I also learned more about how our brains work, how we are wired for survival and how our biology is a mismatch for our current environment.
Turns out that paying attention to your thoughts and getting in touch with what's going on inside your body is pretty powerful. I know it sounds hokey, but your body will tell you a lot if you listen and your thoughts are just thoughts, you don't have to believe all of them. Using proven science on how the brain works coupled with mindfulness, self-compassion and acceptance, I discovered a way through.
Now that I've found a way to break free of the cycle, it's my deepest desire to help others do the same.
The best way out is always through
~ Robert Frost
Together, we'll journey through the following phases finding your unique and customized path to food freedom.
You may feel as if you are already painfully aware of your emotional eating, but often it's so automatic, that true awareness doesn’t come until part-way through or after an episode, when it’s too late. Our goal with this first phase is to create awareness of your eating habits and patterns. You’ll learn how habit, the primitive parts of our brain, and external and environmental cues exert considerable influence over our behaviour and food choices. With awareness you’ll be able to clearly see the cycle of emotional eating and create the space and opportunity for more conscious choices and behaviours.
Awareness is all about restoring your freedom to choose what you want instead of what your past imposes on you. ~Deepak Chopra
When stuck in a cycle of emotional eating it's easy to end up over-fed and under-nourished. The foods that bring comfort are often high in calories and low in nutrients. In this phase we'll clear up any misconceptions you have around food. Chances are you already know more about nutrition than the average person. You may not need more information; instead you’ll learn to trust yourself and choose the foods that are right for you. Our goal is not to eat perfectly; it's simply to start adding in whole foods that adequately nourish your body so that you can get off the blood sugar rollercoaster.
Although it feels like the struggle is with food, it’s not really about the food. Our goal is to stop being so harsh with ourselves, or relying on willpower because if there’s something you’ve learned by now, it’s that neither work. In this phase, you’ll learn to respond skillfully and resiliently to life’s stressors, and more importantly to extend self-compassion and grace to our imperfect selves. We’ll cultivate acceptance so that we can sit more patiently with discomfort, ride out cravings and surf the waves of urges.
We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. ~ Carl Jung
Find Your Version of Food Freedom
This is where is all comes together. Our goal for this final phase is to let go of all labels and judgements around food and ditch diet mentality so that food can just be food again. Food will have no power over you. You will eat based on your tastes, preferences, needs, values, goals, and health. You will be able to see and separate yourself from the I should or I shouldn’t thoughts, so that you can make choices and eat from a place of peace and ultimately find your way to your best weight.
Here's what included in my Finding Food Freedom Signature Coaching Program
6 months of private one on one coaching. Due to the hands-on nature of my program I only take a limited number of clients so I can give you my full attention and commitment.
Initial 90 minute visioning session where we create clarity on what food freedom looks like for you so we can chart your path to success.
Bi-weekly 45 minute coaching sessions via Zoom where we'll explore your challenges, and uncover the beliefs that are holding you back. You'll leave each session with fresh insights and an action plan to move you forward on your journey.
Co-creation of daily practices to build habits that establish the foundation for food freedom and a tracking tool to monitor progress.
Weekly email check-ins for additional accountability and support to keep you on track.
My customized Food for Thought worksheets, tools, and exercises. If this sounds a bit like homework, that's because it is. Self-reflection and introspection lead to insights which lead to behaviour change.
Unlimited support via text or email for when cravings strike, life gets crazy, or you just need a little extra encouragement.
Savings of 15%
3 bi-monthly installments
This is for you if you...
have been struggling with food for years
are willing to examine and change your beliefs
know that deep down you are not broken
can remember when this wasn't a problem and want that back
are curious, have hope and are ready for a journey of self-discovery
are willing to let go of diet mentality
This is not for you if you...
are looking to lose those last 10 lbs
believe that fixing your struggles with food will also fix all your other problems
just want someone to tell you what to do and how to eat
believe change is just not possible
feel ending emotional eating is not a priority for you right now