This post was originally adapted from the Insatiable podcast Episode 7, Season 8, where Ali discusses stress and how this impacts nutrition and/or healthy eating goals AND, can level-up (versus sabotage) your results. Listen to the full episode here.
We think we want control. But really, we want choice (which works out since we can’t control our bodies, life or other people!).
How do we see the choice when we are stuck? How can we discover the sweet spot of being in choice with food, stress and life? Keep reading!
These three steps are like a labyrinth. You walk them each time and you learn more about yourself, more about the world, more about your body to feel freer and calmer.
You return to your center, which feels like being on track with your eating, and that track becomes about alignment. Once you realize this, you realize you can have “treats” without guilt or feeling like Chuck it, F#@$ it with food.
Step 1 – Identify your stress pattern.
This is 50% of the work. Recognize if you are competing, avoiding or accommodating. Take this emotional eating quiz to start learning about these different patterns. This helps you see the binary, black and white way you’re framing the issue causing you stress. This limits your choices.
People don’t realize when they are competing, avoiding or accommodating because that is like a fish trying to see it’s in water. Take the quiz and get more information on each style.
Step 2 – Find out what you and the situation/person needs.
We perceive we know what other people need or what a project at work requires. And we often don’t even think about what we need or want to get out of something. We often just react.
Yet to respond effectively (and stress less), further exploration is often required. Always check in and get more information! That will help soften your stress response quickly.
With food as an example, we perceive other people are going to ask us about our food and that we all need to eat similarly. Or in the case of my infertility, I had to figure out what my body needed to get the best shot of fertility outside of the donor egg + IVF given to me as my only option.
Step 3 – Find the win-win situation.
Rather than competing, avoiding or accommodating, get into collaboration, creativity, co-creation, or manifesting mode (that’s for my witches 8-).
Start to work with what is and the choices you probably couldn’t see at the beginning.
This can be very challenging. We practice together in my program called Why Am I Eating This Now – so after you can really soar rather than stress.
This is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter. Our bodies are not linear and they have an exponential nature to them, which means the more work you do, the more cumulative or quantum the results. And you are able to simplify so much of what you thought you had to do, like food rules and control and focus in on the few things that will move the needle for your goals.
And, you realize you just wanted to live more freely, flexibly and intuitively. And can do that when you understand the choices available to you.
You arrive at a point when you can get to the root of your stress so you’re not only stressing less, but living more.
Here’s a client story showing these three steps in action:
A client realized eating alone triggered her. She ate healthy, but she rushed her meal and it wasn’t pleasant or satisfying. She tried mindful eating tips but was always trying to do them “the best.” She realized she went into competitor mode. She breathed deeper, took more time with her food, and chewed more, but never enjoyed the experience. She was trying to get more pleasure out of food, but it wasn’t working.
She had to find out what she actually needed in these times. Through the tools I gave her, she realized to her, eating alone meant she was feeling pathetic and isolated. It wasn’t really about the food, which is why the mindful eating tips weren’t working. She needed to learn how to enjoy the time alone so it didn’t feel like a pathetic experience. This is the opposite of what mindfulness eating teaches!
With this situation, she needed to make meals more enjoyable, which included listening to podcasts and doing things that might have been labeled a distraction by others, but really was about her enjoying the situation.
This brings a nuance to the win-win for her specific example. Now when she’s alone at home, eating has been much better and more enjoyable.
Let’s be clear, this client had been doing five months’ worth of self-discovery, challenging her story, and her patterns for her to arrive at this conclusion. This work gets better but at first it’s like, “This is hard.” Part of how we measure progress is being able to identify and pivot faster.
That is why community matters. You can start the What Am I Eating This Now self-study course today and then join the LIVE version starting September 8, 2020 to work with other people to learn how to incorporate this inquiry and discovery process into your life.
And PS – here’s another fan favorite episode and transcript that goes further into food control versus being in choice.