6 Tips to Avoid Overeating and Binge Eating at Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is for Overeaters like what New Years Eve is for Alcoholics. It's the day when everyone overindulges and bingeing is viewed as normal. You don't have to binge eat this holiday season, and here are 6 tips to help you prepare for a sane and enjoyable day.

  1. Start the day with a gratitude list. There is no better day than Thanksgiving to reflect on what you are truly thankful for. Perhaps you might write more long form in a journal. Meditate for a few minutes and remember all that you have to be grateful for. Try to keep this top of mind throughout the day.
  2. Eat a satisfying breakfast. Often times we think we should restrict our food intake in the days or meals leading up to Thanksgiving dinner in an attempt to “compensate” for the large meal to come, but this can lead to overeating and binge eating.
  3. Set loving boundaries or guidelines for your meal. For example, commit to eating one plate of food and no more. Pile it as high as you like with whatever you want. Setting a clear line around the amount can stop the urge to keep going back for more beyond the point of full ness. Be careful of trying to be too restrictive with certain types of foods as this can backfire.
  4. Eat slowly and mindfully. Chew your food thoroughly and make an effort to really savor every bite. Take a moment to consider how you are feeling going into the meal and check in with yourself throughout the meal. Are you hungry? Are you satisfied?
  5. Don't overexercise in anticipation of the larger than normal meal. Exercise is known to increase hunger so it will likely result in you eating more calories than you would have otherwise. Stick to your regular routine and be kind to your body.
  6. Plan how you will spend your time in the evening. The feeling of being overly full can trigger a binge for many people and there will likely be an abundance of food remaining. Think of what you might do to occupy yourself instead.Try getting out of the house for a walk or going to a movie. If you enjoy shopping, some stores even open early for Black Friday sales.

What is Self Care Project? #selfcareproject

The days between Halloween and New Years tend to be a danger zone for those of us who struggle with food. It's the time of year when tensions rise and even the most normal of eaters let their healthy habits slip.

I have been thinking about my own intentions and asking myself why I am able to easily maintain some habits while struggling with others. Research shows that people who are able to create healthy habits don’t have more discipline, they have more self-compassion. This means that the problem is not a lack of motivation, but a counterproductive mindset that undermines our efforts.

Yikes. I spent most of my life beating myself up, depriving myself, and hating my body. I know I am not alone in this. We live in a culture that emphasizes outward appearances over all else and rewards self-sacrifice. How then do we cultivate a mindset that leads us to self-compassion? The answer is self-care.

What is Self-Care?

We've all heard the term self-care, but what does it really mean and how can we put it into practice? At its core, self-care is any action you take to care for your health – be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. Unfortuantely, consistently practicing self-care is challenge for most of us, especially when food and body issues are involved.

As you might imagine, self-care encompasses a broad range of habits and behaviors. From the foods we eat to the ways we manage stress, we make hundreds of tiny decisions every day that affect our wellbeing. Most of us want to be healthier, but actually putting these habits into practice can feel overwhelming and complicated.

How to Practice Self-Care

First, we have to figure out which self-care habits to work on. Each of us has unique self-care challenges so it's important to evaluate which habits we have mastered and where we want to fill the gaps.

If you struggle with your your weight, addressing practical habits around the food you eat and the way you move your body are a great place to start. If you have a tendency toward depression, focusing on regular grooming and social connection might be most beneficial.

Create a Self-Care Action Plan

Once you have chosen a few self-care activities to adopt into your daily routine, think about how and when you will incorporate these actions into your day. Write them down and commit to them. It may be helpful to set aside a specific time each day or schedule them in your calendar.

Accountability and Connection

Having support and accountability is a critical component in successful behavior change. As I was examining my own goals and creating a self-care action plan, I wanted to connect with more people who are also working toward the best version of themselves. I've started tagging my photos that show self-care practices using #SelfCareProject and I would love for you to do the same. I will be following that hashtag to keep up with everyone on instagram and I even have some fun prizes to award every week through the end of the year.

My goal is for this to be an ongoing series of blog posts highlighting different areas of self-care in more depth with strategies and examples. Is this something you would like to see? Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any specific questions or topics you would like me to write about.

 

Hello New Friends!

Welcome to my little corner of the web. I am thrilled for you to visit and I hope to connect with as many of you as possible. I am humbled by the messages I have received and I am grateful for the reminder that I am not alone on this journey. Obesity is hard and long term weight loss is even harder. I don't pretend to have it all figured out, but I have learned a few things that work along the way. I had no idea that I would end up on the front page of Yahoo this morning, but I don't think it's a coincidence.

I am still unpacking a recent setback, trying to understand how and why I went from a loose size 12 to a tight size 14 over the course of a month. After much introspection and many heartfelt conversations, what resonates above all is being kind to myself. The first few weeks back from vacation, I was not. I felt desperate to lose weight (a feeling I know all too well) and I was angry at myself and my body. Motivation that comes from a place of fear never works, yet there I was.

As a culture, we have started talking more about self-care, but what does that really mean and how are we putting it into practice? How does this apply to weight loss, loving our bodies, and ultimately accepting ourselves? Self-care is at the very core of a healthy, happy life, yet so many of us spend our lives seeking a diet plan or training regimen as the solution.

I have been preparing to announce a new community initiative called the #SelfCareProject as a way to inform, support, and celebrate self-care habits. I'm not quite ready to share all of the details, but I would be remiss if I didn't use this opportunity to invite you all to join me. The project will officially launch on Monday morning, so please sign up for my newsletter if you're interested in learning more. It's totally free and I promise it will be really fun.

Thank you again for being a part of my journey. We are stronger together than we are alone. You can also find me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and twitter.

Overcoming binge eating and compulsive overeating.

Overcoming Compulsive Overeating & Binge Eating

Disordered eating can range from mild to severe and from intermittent to constant, but its core characteristic is eating in response to something other than physical hunger. Like drugs and alcohol, food can be an escape from uncomfortable emotions. In particular, foods such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, and dairy are known to have properties which affect the reward centers of our brains. This also numbs our feelings, enabling us to go about our daily lives without ever acknowledging or addressing how we really feel. Crazy, right?

If you are like me and the idea of being an emotional eater, compulsive overeater, or binge eater resonates even a little bit, you’ve probably tried every diet in the book — twice. The problem is that diets don’t work, at least not in the longterm. This is why I and so many others have lost hundreds of pounds, only to regain them. Diets create an environment of emotional and physical deprivation, which inevitably results in binge eating.

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San Francisco Anniversary

A year ago, I moved to San Francisco on a whim. I felt like I was spinning my wheels in Los Angeles and I knew something needed to change. It was terrifying to walk away and start over, but it was also exhilarating because I knew in my heart it was what I was meant to do. I never could have imagined how amazing the last year would be. Like truly amazing, and it's only because I continued to say “yes” to things that scared the heck out of me. Obesity, disordered eating, body image – the solution is ultimately about learning to show up, love ourselves, put down the food, and trust the still, small voice that continually nudges us to face our fears and chase our dreams.

Obesity Hypothesis experiment

I hypothesize that foods containing starch and sugar create an addictive response and that overconsumption of these foods creates an an inflammatory response in the body. This inflammation manifests differently across populations, is almost certainly influenced by genetics, and remains the root of all major modern disease and epidemics, particuarly obesity.

The elephant in the room here is that ‘Obesity' is simply a fancy name for food addiction. We don't really want to see it or believe it. We want to find a way to have our cake and look good too. But we can't. I mean, I know I can't. I have been trying to find a way to moderate these substances for years, but it's too much work and I'm not very good at it. Science shows that we are able to regulate our energy intake and expenditure naturally without thought or struggle. If we aren't already doing this naturally – which, let's be honest. why would you be reading this if you could – you are addicted and any attempts to moderate will only stress your willpower and abilities further.

I personally would rather be using my mind to think of cool solutions to help myself and others change their behavior to be happier, healthier, and more productive. I think it's important to have a creative and empowered population and that means finding ways to overcome the everyday addictions that make us miserable.

My Obesity Hypothesis experiment is as follows:

My attempt to adhere to strong dietary changes to support my recovery from food addiction and cure my lifelong struggle with obesity will be documented to for the period of 1 year – from August 26, 2015 through August 25, 2016.

This includes the following food-related changes:

  • Completely abstain from sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates).
  • Replace with copious non-starchy vegetables at every meal. This should be primarily from the leaves, stems and flowers, and fruit categories. Root vegetables contain excess starch and will be excluded for this period to assist in physiological addiction recovery.

I enjoy desserts or starchy meals in the same way that I used to enjoy a cigarette. Sure, it tastes delicious and that gives me a hit of dopamine, serotonin,and delight, but in the end, I feel bad – physically and mentally. It upsets my digestion and I carry around shame and feelings of failure. I want to be free from the battle with food choices and obesity. I know from experience that the most effective way to overcome addiction is complete abstinence.