Bipolar II, blogging, emotional eating, enjoying family, losing weight, love, marriage, Medical Weight Loss Program, memories, mental illness, optifast, Self-Soothing, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

To Dispel the Shininess of the Aha Moment

Years ago, Oprah Winfrey popularized a nearly century-old phrase first coined in a 1939 psychology text-book; the “aha moment.” By 2012, this locution had became so popular that it was officially entered into Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as:

 “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.”

I somehow pictured the great epiphany of the aha moment to occur in a flash of terrific fanfare and deep connection with the Universe.  Little did I realize that my aha moment would occur in the small hours of the morning, in the pitch-dark of my bedroom.

It was November 12, 2013, and I couldn’t sleep, though I certainly didn’t lack the general feeling of exhaustion. Every joint in my body ached and the only thing more pronounced than the rapid pounding of my heart in my ears, was my labored breathing.  At nearly 230 pounds, I was the heaviest I’d ever been.

The past decade had brought a barrage of changes and strife that began with appearance of my youngest daughter’s bipolar symptoms; psychosis, depression, hypo-mania.  Because she was too ill to attend school and had to be constantly supervised, I took leave from my job of 16 years to care for her. For six months, other than for medical appointments, I only left my home, once every two weeks, go to the grocery store.  There, I would fill up my cart with an oxymoronic combination of extremely healthy foods for our meals, mixed with a plethora of high calorie sugary snacks for me. In those horrible days, food was my replacement for all of the pleasures that it felt like life had taken away; sanity, personal freedom, healthy relationships, and general happiness.  In truth, my youngest daughter seemed like a stranger and my oldest was acting out. She’d shaved her head, pierced her tongue, and even threatened to quit high school.  My husband, who, at that time, had limited understanding and experience with mental illness, was constantly out of sorts.  Add the financial burden from me no longer working, my unexpected isolation as an extrovert, and a family history of addiction into the mix and it’s no surprise that I reached for food as my drug of choice to numb chaos of my situation.

Eventually, our tribulations passed.  My daughter was properly diagnosed and medicated.  Within two years she was back to her old, sweet self. Looking back it seemed that in the blink of an eye she finished high school, then college, and found the perfect job.  She also found a terrific guy.   My oldest, thankfully, decided to stick out high school, then college, and finally medical school; in five months she’ll graduate to be a family doctor. Last year, she married her high school sweetheart.  My husband and I joined NAMI (the National Alliance for Mental Illness) and attended their support groups. The hub became much better educated about mental illness and its effect on the family.  He’s not only one of my daughter’s biggest cheerleaders, he’s my complete partner in our happy marriage.

With the deviation of my tale passed, I return to the night of my epiphany with the thought that perhaps the old adage is wrong.  Perhaps things don’t feel brighter after the storm has passed.  Maybe the storm tosses us about a bit too long and makes us confused about who we are, and what we want, because on the night of my aha moment, I was certainly at rock bottom.  I tried one last time to finagle the mound of pillows behind my head, only to find myself unable to breathe from my suffocating neck fat.

“I hate myself. I can’t live like this anymore!” I mouthed in the dark, as hot tears exited the corners of my eyes and pooled in my ears. I covered my face with my hands to stifle my sobs. I wiped my eyes with the sheet and grabbed my tablet from the bedside table to type this:

THINGS I MUST DO TO CHANGE MY LIFE:

  1. Lose 95 pounds
  2. Regain my health
  3. Find something I love to do

The next morning I called the bariatric center to register for an informational session about Optifast on December 12, 2013.  After that session, I took their first available appointment.

January 16, 2014,  my very first day on Optifast, was the beginning of my new life.   The days, weeks, and months that followed were full of work, discovery, and living.  Nearly a year later, my days are exponentially as filled with happiness, harmony, and health.

My aha moment didn’t occur on the day that I’d won a great prize, or made a deep connection with the Universe, as I’d once suspected it would.  It happened under the shroud of night, on a pile of tear-stained pillows and twisted covers. In spite of my lofty visions of enlightenment, crushingly uncomfortable neck fat was my tipping point, my catalyst, and my spur.   I realize now that aha moments aren’t often those that sparkle.  They’re messy, dirty, gritty, painful, and even, fat. It’s that split second directly after an epiphany that life begins to twinkle, and once you set your change into motion it begins to shine.

Have you had an aha moment that’s changed your life for the better?  If you’ve lost weight, what was the catalyst that set your loss into motion?  Tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂 

 

 

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, Exercise, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Self-Soothing, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Writing

Food Frenzy

Oh, no!  It's confession time?  Yes, it was me who chewed through the bottom of the treat bag! I confess! (photo by me)
Oh, no! It’s confession time? Yes, it was me who chewed through the bottom of the treat bag! I confess! (photo by me)

This post is my trip to the confessional, and you, my readers, are the priest.  Before my weight loss, I had a huge problem with bingeing.  HUGE.  My days were planned out by what I was going to eat, and my daily goal was to consume the food I was craving by any legal means.  In comparison to the other high achievers in my life, my goals were by no means lofty or important, and they certainly weren’t creating any positive changes in my world or anyone else’s.

Hiding cans of Pringles and bags of Maple Nut Goodies, making trips to Taco Bell or Chik-Fil-A, and making enormous carb-laden meals that were destined to yield bingeing leftovers, were all features in my daily routine.  Top my busy schedule off with a “healthy” dose of inactivity, and it’s easy to see how I topped the scales at 223 pounds.

I’ve made a plethora of positive changes in my life over these past seven months and I’ve come clean with my counselor, and family, about my secret food binges.  I’ve come to recognize that my feeding frenzies were fueled by anxiety, something that I’ve lived with most of my life, and something that I’m finally learning to manage.

I know that food is my drug of choice, and like every addict on Earth, I am not impervious to “falling off the wagon.” Because of this, I’ve created a set of guidelines to keep myself safe.

  • Keep only healthy foods in the house
  • Shun all fast food establishments
  • Substitute cravings with crafting, blogging, exercising, and doing activities with family and friends.
  • Keep my anxiety from getting the best of me through seeing my counselor, as needed, taking my medicine, and talking to trusted family and friends.
  • Go no more than two days in a row without exercising.
  • Hold myself accountable to family, friends, my doctor, and counselor if I fall back into old habits and overindulge.

99.9% of the time I follow my rules and the 70 pounds I’ve lost is my proof that it works.  However, a few times, I have broken my guidelines.  This weekend is a prime example.  I had a big birthday party for my younger daughter on Friday.  Even though she suggested all healthy food items; Chicken Satay, fresh veggie and fruit trays, cheese, olives, popcorn, and flavored unsweetened seltzers, I went a little crazy.  I mean, you can’t have a birthday without cake, and popcorn isn’t that exciting of a salty snack, and what’s a party without some sort of fruity drink?  By the time guests arrived there was an enormous tray of cupcakes with multi-colored frosting and sprinkles, bowls of honey roasted chipotle nuts, gummy bears, guacamole and chips, and a big vat of homemade sparkling strawberry lemon/limeade filled with fruit and plenty of sugar.  These extras were in addition to my daughter’s original requests.

I had vowed to eat only the healthy offerings, and I started out doing pretty well.  I even avoided the delicious homemade peanut sauce that went with the chicken.  Then, I made the decision to pop just one lemony yellow gummy bear into my mouth, my first sugar in months.  I wanted it to be too sweet so I’d hate it, but it wasn’t. It was magically delicious.  Soon, that damn gummy bear was like a psychedelic Grateful Dead Bear swirling me into the land of gluttony.  I ate a chipotle peanut; then I ate ten.  I grabbed a tortilla and scooped up a mound of guacamole.  I filled a 16 oz. cup to the brim with icy lemon/limeade and gulped the sugary liquid down as fast as my throat muscles would allow.  Before long, I was undressing a cupcake with lovely teal frosting and shoving it into my mouth like Honey Boo Boo at a pie eating contest.  By the end of the evening, I’d consumed three cupcakes, a handful of nuts and gummy bears, several servings of guac and chips, and another glass of punch.  I went to bed Friday night vowing that I’d hit the gym first thing in the morning.

Saturday morning, I was exhausted.  My head and joints ached and my stomach was killing me.  I felt far too bad to go to the gym, and spent the first part of my day parked in front of my laptop.  I attempted to eat healthy and began my day with a bowl of high fiber cereal topped with fresh blueberries and almond milk.  However, an hour after I ate, I began craving the leftover treats from the day before.  I began working on my glass crafting and tried to ignore the bag of gummy “gateway drug” bears tucked away in the pantry.  I drank water, made a shake for lunch and popped some Tylenol for my headache and drank more water.  I retreated to the patio to cut glass rings from bottles with acetone, string, fire and water.  This was not a successful venture and I ended up feeding broken glass to the recycling bin and then feeding myself another cupcake.  This led to a whole new binge and by the end of the evening, I’d messed up my eating plan, again.

Confession is good for the body and soul, and today is a new day.  I’ve had a healthy breakfast, drank a bunch of water, and am about to go put my workout clothes on to head to the gym once my daughter gets ready.   During this journey, I’ve learned that messing up isn’t permanent. I can stay on track and hold myself accountable for my choices.  I’ll probably always struggle with food, but I also have tools and guidelines that give me some measure of control over it. Today, I will:

  • Drink plenty of water and plain green tea
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy lean protein, veggies, and fruits
  • Forgive myself for bingeing this weekend
  • Feel proud of myself for being in control
  • Enjoy the company of my family and friends
  • Stay away from the scale (far, far away!)

Do you ever binge?  How do you recover after a weekend of overeating?

 

 

Appreciation, blogging, enjoying family, learning, Motherless Daughters, problem solving, Self-Soothing, Thankfulness, Writing

Analyzing the Literature of Life

Clipart courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Artist:  J Alves
Clipart courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Artist: J Alves

My mother called me at college, early in the morning, on the day of her death, to remind me to turn in my financial aid information for my impending senior year.  Our conversation was brief and ended with our usual, “I love you,” and little did I suspect that she would turn the final page in the story of our lives together that spring afternoon.

On the separate occasions that my own daughters were presented to me, squalling in their disdain of leaving my warmth, I had already begun the tale of our lives together. I’d nurtured them  in utero with good food, music that I thought any developing fetus might love, and stories by  Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, Margaret Brown and all of my  childhood favorites. Becoming a mother, the role that I take most sacredly, made me an integral supporting character in the story of their lives. No matter what milestone they reached, success they accomplished, or heartache they endured, my presence was written firmly on their pages in indelible ink.  As my own mother had been the arms waiting to hold me, the ears open to listening, and the words of guidance that I most cherished, I endeavored to be the same for them.

Most of the time our plot was sunny and full of the natural fun and laughter that we all craved.  When storms, like heartbreak, illness, or the impulsive choices of the teenaged brain struck, we bolstered in and rode it out together. Though the situations may have differed we were still writing a book that I’d read before.

When my daughters reached young adulthood, I entered into a dauntingly unfamiliar territory. When I was 18, my mother’s terminal illness caused her to weakly hand the pen to me to continue our tale. Immaturity, inexperience, and grief made my version of the story scattered and our plot weak.  I veered off into dark subplots and invited in characters that I normally would have avoided.  While my greatest supporting character was dying, I couldn’t consult her expertise.

As my own daughters broached 18, I  was struck by a foreignness that I couldn’t shake for the first few years.  Of course, I was still there, but not in every sense of the way.  There were doubts and questions. How do I guide them when they seem so grown?  How can I conjure advice that I was never given?  Where does my character fit in this  scenario?  Fortunately, I was driven by the only memory that I had of being their age; needing her.  Just simply, purely and fully still needing my mother, no matter how grown I looked, or how capable I mostly seemed, I needed her.  Knowing this, aided me in learning my new role.  I realized that no matter how adroitly or eloquently they wrote, there would be times that the pen would be handed back to me. I relaxed, I listened, and the advice came as I began to see where I belonged.

This morning, I watched my youngest leave for work. Dressed  In smart business attire, she approached this Monday with a bright smile, eager to begin her day as a recently promoted human resources specialist.  This past weekend, I was equally impressed with my oldest as she ran at full speed through a local store’s parking lot to help an elderly woman that she’d witnessed falling.  While they both still live at home; my youngest saving money as she waits for her fiancé to graduate this fall, and my oldest as she finishes her medical school rotations, I am blessed to witness these vignettes.  However, I am sometimes struck with the sadness that my mother never got to do the same.  At our denouement I was still stuck in conflict without a resolution in sight. I was, at my best, a struggling college junior with a crappy boyfriend, and underdeveloped coping skills.   She didn’t see my achievements, advancements, acts of compassion, or the strong capable woman that I am today.

Thankfully, I’ve experienced the growth of my children, from conception to adulthood, in full circle. Gratefully, I have the memory and insight of  the faith that I had in their ability to do the right thing even in their darkest of  situations.  I like to think that my mother was soothed by that same insight and faith in me as she handed me the pen to finish our story.  Perhaps, the gift in all of this, the true denouement, is the supreme level of reverence and appreciation that I hold for every miniscule moment, every tiny memory and sequence, that I share with my  precious adult children.

What do you hold most sacred?  Who are the most important characters in your story?

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, Food Addiction, Friday Fixes, learning, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, needle felting, optifast, Self-Soothing, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Friday Fixes: Are You Just Beginning Optifast?

optifastI was in the middle of writing a post on self-confidence (which I promise to finish), when I got a comment from a new blogger over at My Big Fat Journey.  It turns out that she’s been reading my blog and is just beginning her Optifast journey.  I was very touched by her kind comment, as well as extremely excited about the new lifestyle that she’s embarking on. 

Being in my 15th week of Optifast certainly doesn’t make me an old pro, by any means, but there are some bits of advice that I’d like to give to anyone reading that may be about to begin, or  thinking of beginning, Optifast.

  1. Use Optifast as part of a medically monitored weight loss program:  Before I began my plan, I did lots of internet research.  One thing I found was that there are people selling the product on Amazon.  While it may be pennies cheaper, it doesn’t feature the benefits of being medically supervised.  Cutting down to 800 calories per day could exacerbate existing health problems. Regular blood work and EKGs are done throughout the program to assure that all blood chemistry and electrolytes are at safe levels. Please don’t do Optifast alone–a doctor’s supervision is critical to your health. 
  2. Take full advantage of all that your doctor’s office has to offer: I’m fortunate to be completing my program through a bariatric office that offers weekly Lifestyle Education Classes, monthly support groups, and counseling through both a registered dietician and behavior modification therapist.  The medical center where my program is located also features an integrated wellness and fitness center.  I immerse myself in these programs.  Even when classes seem to overlap, or repeat information, I recognize the reinforcing benefits of hearing positive weight management information again and again.  So much of weight gain has to do with our head more than our hunger.  Counseling can help you to get to the root of the reason that you use food as  mental and emotional fortification rather than as an energy source for your body. Take all of the help from offered professionals that you can get.
  3. Getting through those first two weeks : I’m not going to lie, the first two weeks of nothing but shakes feels tough!  However, every emotion and pang of hunger that you feel is necessary.  Giving up something that comforts you is difficult, but it’s important to see that hunger isn’t going to kill you.  It’s also important to take away the unhealthy habit of overeating that you’ve used to comfort yourself in order for you to explore new, beneficial ways to soothe yourself.  I swear to you that after two weeks the huger pangs will pass and you’ll feel completely satisfied with your shakes.  I sometimes need to remind myself to have my evening shake because I’m just not hungry.
  4. Set healthy goals beyond weight loss: Now that you’re drinking your meals and no longer using food as your source of comfort and entertainment, you need to find positive healthy ways to occupy your extra time.  My goals were to: 1. Start a blog 2. Spend more time with friends 3. Learn a new hobby or craft.  I’ve successfully master all three of my goals.  I try to blog 4-5 times per week and I’ve made amazing friends here on WordPress.  I now have set days that I spend with friends exercising, shopping, or just hanging out and having fun.  I also learned to needle felt–something that I’d always wanted to do.  Stay busy is so important, and you’ll find that your goals soon morph into healthy substitutions for overeating.
  5. Find someone else to do the cooking for a while: I realize that this tip is very dependent on your situation.  I live with my adult children and husband, so I didn’t feel too badly in asking them to fend for themselves in the beginning of my journey. However, if you’re the chief cook in a single parent household or have a spouse too busy to cook, try to cook things that aren’t too tempting.  I found that baking anything like homemade bread or pizza absolutely murderous to handle.  It’s only natural for your body to respond to the smell of food cooking with an increase in salivation and digestive juices.  Even though I’ve not transitioned to food, my husband and I are cooking only healthy, whole, properly portioned meals to form the habit for when I am eating with the family. Even though I’m not eating, I’m getting enjoyment from feeding my family foods that I know are good for them.  And, nope, I never, ever take a taste–It’s shakes only for this girl!
  6. Ignore the number on the scale: While a big part of weight loss is watching the pounds vanish, don’t become scale obsessed.  The first couple of weeks, depending on your starting weight, you’ll notice some rather decent weight drops.  I lost 10 pounds in my first two weeks.  After your initial loss, you can expect to lose 1-3 pounds per week on average.  Don’t let “only” a one pound loss discourage you.  Just think of what your weight loss would be if you weren’t doing anything to help yourself–chances are, it would be nil!  Remember, if you’re exercising regularly you’re losing inches and building muscle.  Though I’m one pound away from a 40 pound weight loss, I’ve lost a ton of inches.  I’ve gone from a size 24 pant to a size 16–and the 16s are getting baggy!
  7. Treat yourself:  When I first began losing weight, I was determined to not “waste” money on new clothing until all of the weight was off.  I greatly underestimated how large my clothing would get as I disappeared!  Go shopping every once in a while.  You’ll be amazed  at how fabulous you feel in pants that fit and in tops that show off your new figure!  You deserve to look as gorgeous as you feel!  BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!!

I hope these tidbits help, and please, please, please share your stories with me!  I get so stoked when I read about the weight loss progress of others! 

 

 

blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, Food Addiction, Friday Fixes, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Mindful Eating, optifast, Self-Soothing, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal

Friday Fixes: Self-Soothing with Sound

Ear

Last week’s Friday Fixes shared suggestions on how to combat emotional eating, food cravings, and overeating by using your sense of sight.  Thisweek’s installment is all about using your sense of hearing as a way to soothe yourself when the desire for unnecessary eating occurs.A huge way that I soothe myself with sound is through listening to music. I love all genres of tunes, but it turns out that I could be even more relaxed and mindfully aware if I listened to music in the correct frequencies.  Most of you know that our brains  produce five different wave frequencies that are measured in Hertz (Hz).

 

  1. Delta Waves (0.5 – 4Hz) are produced when you’re deeply sleeping.
  2. Theta Waves (4 – 8 Hz) are produced in the early stages of sleep, a during the REM stage of sleep, during guided imagery and during deep meditation.
  3. Alpha Waves (8 – 12 Hz) are produced when you’re in the process of doing mindless, passive activities.
  4. Beta Waves (12 – 25 Hz) are produced when you’re in a state of mindfulness, or awareness.
  5. Gamma Waves (25-100 Hz) are produced during periods of high concentration or consolidation of large amounts of information.

It’s possible to stimulate the brain to reach a state of enhanced awareness or relaxation through the use of music that has frequencies within the Hertz range of alpha, beta, or theta waves. Here are some examples of each type of music. Many examples like these can be found for free on YouTube.

Here’s an example of Alpha Wave music: (There’s a bit of an introduction before the music begins.)

 

Here’s an example of Beta:

 

 

 

And finally, an example of Theta Wave music:

 

Another way to achieve a deep sense of relaxation is through guided imagery.  Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed and focused state.  An instructor, script, or recorded session is used to lead you through the process. Often you’ll be asked to imagine a relaxing, natural environment ,like the beach or mountains. Throughout the script, positive messages are often repeated.   When participating in guided imagery, it’s very important to make yourself physically comfortable. Some people recline, while others prefer to sit with their feet touching the floor. Guided imagery should never be listened to while driving

This example of guided imagery is also from YouTube.

 

 

In addition to taking advantage of your brainwaves in order to self-soothe, relax, or focus, here are several other ways you can use your sense of hearing to thwart cravings:

  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Head outdoors and find a quiet spot to sit and listen to the sounds of nature around you
  • Listen to recorded nature sounds
  • Hum a soothing tune or sing a beautiful song
  • If you’re able, play an instrument
  • Call a family member or friend ( I read a study a few years ago about how the sound of your mother’s voice can lower your blood pressure. This explains why my daughter called me six times a day her first year of medical school!)
  • Read aloud your favorite poems, stories, or affirmations
  • Listen to an audio book

How do you use your sense of hearing to relax?  Is there anything else that could be added to the list?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blogging, Friday Fixes, Self-Soothing, Uncategorized

Friday Fixes: Self-Soothing Using Your Sense of Sight

PhotoFunia Cookies Writing Regular 2014-03-24 03 00 32

The pressure of work is making you batty.  Your kids have you climbing the walls.  You’re worried about your daughter’s new relationship and are even more stressed  about the fight you had with your partner last night.  You slip into the break room, or your kitchen at home and scan the vending machine, or peruse the pantry.  You may think that King-sized Snicker’s bar looks good, or that leftover lasagna from last night is calling your name.  You wolf down your food of choice even though, less than an hour ago, you just had a healthy lunch.   Suddenly, the good feeling you had while chewing has swallowed you up in feelings of guilt, shame, and failure.  Your work, your kids and your stressors are still with you, but so are those extra  300 calories that you just consumed.

addictionIt’s no surprise that food is often our go-to drug when stress, anxiety, or worry get the best of us.  Research has found that humans produce opioids, in response to digesting excess sugars and fats, that have the same chemical structures found in addictive narcotics, like heroin and morphine. Furthermore, brain imaging proves that when given food, the same  dopamine receptors light up in the brains of  obese people,  as they do in the brains of drug addicts when given their drug of choice.  Another study showed that the visual cue of simply seeing pictures of certain foods can evoke the same dopamine response in some food addicts (Werdell, 2009).

By understanding that our sense of sight is powerful enough to alter our brain chemistry, it makes sense to surround ourselves with images that can comfort us and combat our desire to overeat.  Creating a positively visually stimulating environment is very simple and inexpensive, and most of us already do it to some extent.  The key is to not only have visually pleasing things within your range of sight, but to also mindfully focus and give attention them when a stressful situation or a food craving hits.

Some suggestions for using visual cues for self-soothing would be to:

  • Identify, and surround yourself with colors that are relaxing to you
  • Place items that you enjoy, like a vacation souvenir, a religious symbol, or pieces of art, in your home or workplace
  • Hang up pictures of people, places and things that bring you joy
  • Frame inspirational quotes, poems, or religious verses and place them where you can easily see them for inspiration.
  • Walk outdoors and observe the beauty of nature
  • If it’s evening when a craving hits, look at the starry skyimage_8
  • Keep a photo album of loved ones close by
  • Light a candle and watch the flame
  • Get a manicure and look at your lovely nails
  • Read a favorite book or magazine (just not a cookbook or cooking magazine!)
  • Watch a funny movie or TV show
  • Set up a small aquarium or fish tank in your home or office (watching the aqua life is so relaxing)
  • Buy fresh flowers to put in your home or work space
  • Peruse the internet for clothing that you’ll soon fit into, if you continue on your weight loss path
  • Go to your mirror and put on makeup or fix your hair
  • Look up fantasy vacation spots or dream homes on the internet
  • Check on your pets (Your cat probably needs something!)
  • Look through the photos on your phone
  • Take a selfie and remember that you are your most important person!

 

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Looking at vacation pictures, or pictures of places you’d like to visit can get your mind off of your cravings.

 

What are some other ways that you could use your sense of sight to calm yourself in times of stress?

 

Sources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.(2006). Weight Loss Tips.

Coping and Self-Soothing Techniques.Psyke.org

Mahoney, Elizabeth. Pleasurable Activities List. SouthTampaTherapy.com.

Werdell, P. (2009). Physical Craving and Food Addiction: A Scientific Review. Food Addiction Institute

blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, Food Addiction, Friday Fixes, Having fun, learning, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, problem solving, Self-Soothing, sensory input, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal

A Soothing Series; Friday Fixes

Enjoying nature is a wonderful way of soothing yourself. (Photo by Fotolia)
Enjoying nature is a wonderful way of soothing yourself. (Photo by Fotolia)

Yesterday, I attended an amazing behavioral modification class at the bariatric center.  The topic was Self-Soothing, and I know many of you who suffer from food addictions, emotional eating, or just general stress in your life, will be interested in tips and techniques  to combat stress, as well as the desire to eat when you’re not really hungry.

Food provides a series of sensory experiences.  We hear it sizzling, bubbling, or simmering on the stove and smell it’s tempting aroma as it’s prepared.  We see its glorious shapes and colors and taste its sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or savory flavors.  We experience its consistency and texture as we move it in our mouths. Temporarily, it fills a need.  Momentarily its a panacea that soothes out anxiety or makes us forget something in our lives that’s missing.  Then, like most fleeting fixes, it leaves us  guilt-ridden and hungry for more. Because of the sensory nature of food, replacing it with another pleasurable sensory experience as a remedy for cravings when you’re full or when your daily nutritional needs have been met, is often very effective.

Over the next two months, I’m going to offer a series of well-researched posts each Friday that I’ll call Friday Fixes.  These posts will focus on sensory techniques to combat overeating, as well as mindful eating techniques and general stress busters.  As always, I welcome your topic ideas, suggestions, or feedback!  

******Next week’s topic will be Self-Soothing through Visual Sensory Input.******

Doesn't this image make you feel calmer? (Photo from Microsoft Images)
Doesn’t this image make you feel calmer? (Photo from Microsoft Images)

 

 

Disclaimer (as I have no desire to incite trouble 🙂 ): I am not an expert on behavioral modification or weight loss. However, as a licensed teacher and public relations specialist, I am research savvy and able to provide information from reliable, scholarly sources.