Last weekend I attended a Wellness workshop and one of the themes coming from all the speakers was the importance of owning and practising self-care. This left me feeling validated because the focus of my weight management work is exactly that – teaching people about self-care.
So what’s it all about? Last year one of my business coaches suggested that in one or two sentences I find a way of explaining to a 10 year old what my work is about. I pondered this for some time and five months later I came up with these words:
“I help people understand why they eat when they are not hungry, especially after dinner."
Many of us eat after dinner for comfort and when we find ourselves deep in non-hungry eating, it shines light on an aspect of our lives that perhaps has a sense of emptiness. Often we are not aware of the feelings that we are using food to cover up and it is hard to make sense of this non-hungry eating.
When we feel lonely and empty of love, food gives us a pseudo filling up in that moment, however the emotional roller coaster that follows is no fun at all. We are left with a sick, heavy and full feeling in our stomach, which is regrettably with us when we go to bed. Therefore our sleep is restless and yet no doubt the worst impact is the guilt and confusion the following morning.
We can be determined that the next night is going to be different, but sure enough the pattern of non-hungry eating starts all over again…
Learning skills to understand and be gentle with yourself is part of the road to recovery. One of these skills is being able to find a distraction to interrupt the mindlessness of non-hungry eating. For example, getting up from your chair and having a shower can be more nurturing, especially before bed. Journaling can also be a useful skill to help you uncover the deeper reasons for your non-hungry eating.
These are just a couple of suggestions to support you in the process of gradual change.
Remember to be kind to yourself as you heal these patterns.