Wednesday Wellness: 10 Ways to Avoid Emotional Eating

  1. Don’t eat when you’re bored.
  2. Don’t eat when you’re thirsty. Drink water. 
  3. Don’t eat when you’re distracted. Don’t munch while mindlessly staring at your phone. While I enjoy my popcorn while I watch a movie, I try to avoid thoughtless eating. Pay attention to what goes into your mouth and savor it. Some activities trigger eating. Pay attention when you get cravings whether you are actually hungry or if you are only eating because it’s what is expected. 
  4. Eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and eat healthy snacks throughout the day so you don’t get over hungry. The more hungry I get the more I think I will only be satisfied by a big juicy burger or chocolate!
  5. Don’t look for treats as your consolation for stress. In Candace Cameron Buré’s “Reshaping It All” she says she finds strength when she looks to God for comfort rather than food. That resonated with me. 
  6. Start each meal by filling half your plate with veggies and/or fruits, then add your whole grains and lean proteins. Add some legumes. These will keep you satisfied even between meals.  
  7. Be deliberate about when you will eat fun food and then have self control not to overeat them. Treats aren’t the enemy when eaten in moderation. 
  8. Recognize the natural flow of your day. In “The Power of Full Engagement” I learned how our day ebbs and flows in a 90-120 minute rhythm. If you catch yourself in a lull and it has been an hour or two since your last activity, it’s time to do something else before diving back into your work. Have a healthy snack, read something uplifting, move your body. Don’t just reach for something to stimulate you and then keep on plugging away. Honor your natural rhythms. Take a break. 
  9. When you find yourself having consistent cravings for treats, cut them out for a week. In the book “Parenting: A House United” Nickoleen Peck talks about exercising self-government when you feel like you are drawn to a luxury that you think you cannot live without. This would apply if you found you are watching too much tv or if you look at social media too often, or whatever your vice is. Quit it for a whole week to purge yourself of the craving so you can better moderate your consumption. 
  10. Substitute a craving for something healthy. Have some veggies, protein, herbal tea, water, exercise, read/listen to something uplifting, pray/call someone for support. 

How do you overcome emotional eating?

Wednesday Wellness: Body Image and the “In Between” Stage

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“It looks like dough,” my sweet daughter observed about my belly fat while we snuggled in my bed this morning.  I don’t blame her.  It really does look like dough, especially when I’m kneading it in my hands like dough.  It isn’t the first time a child has paid me such a compliment.  I was once enlightened by my then six year old niece who looked up at me and said from her vantage point while pointing up at my chest in a figure eight motion, “aunt Jodi, you have big breasts.”  I’m sure it was easy to confuse them with mountains from her perspective (thank you, Shakira for that image.).

I was contemplating the weeks of training it will take to lose my dough belly, not really ready to dive in head first.  I feel like it is taking me longer to heal from this pregnancy, and exercising has left me a lot more sore than I remember getting after a workout.  It wouldn’t be so bad if my clothes actually fit, but buying a wardrobe for this stage would be like accepting it.

I have never been thin.  I probably will never be thin.  I honestly didn’t even know what it meant to exercise until I was almost 25.  Not even when I watched myself pack on fifty pounds on my mission.  I thought dieting would be the solution.  I know now that dieting is only half the solution, and 90% the problem if you’re not doing it right.  I have lost faith in diets, especially after studying their effects on self-efficacy and body image, never mind that they don’t work.  Never diet.  Ever.

This post is not about dieting.  It’s not even about exercising.  I plan to lose the weight, just like I did after my last pregnancy, with discipline and perseverance.  It feels good to sweat, and I can’t begin to describe the vigor of having a strong body, with energy and power to do things without straining myself!  That is why I do it.  I know I will never be thin, but being in shape just feels so right.

My body is a temple.  That is what we ought to know.  That is why we should fight for our health and cleanliness!  My body is a temple.  So why do I tell myself how much I hate it?  Why?

Even with all its flaws, my body is a temple.  It is perfect.  I am blessed to have this body with working limbs to lift by children, eyes that see (even if not perfectly), ears that hear (even after years of playing the drums and going to rock concerts), a nose that smells, and a mouth that tastes and chews amazing food (so excited about Thanksgiving tomorrow).

In this past General Conference, October 2013, Elder Nelson gave a stellar talk about how our choices shape our eternity.  He said this:

“My professional years as a medical doctor gave me a profound respect for the human body. Created by God as a gift to you, it is absolutely amazing! Think of your eyes that see, ears that hear, and fingers that feel all the wondrous things around you. Your brain lets you learn, think, and reason. Your heart pumps tirelessly day and night, almost without your awareness.

“Your body protects itself. Pain comes as a warning that something is wrong and needs attention. Infectious illnesses strike from time to time, and when they do, antibodies are formed that increase your resistance to subsequent infection.

“Your body repairs itself. Cuts and bruises heal. Broken bones can become strong once again. I have cited but a tiny sample of the many amazing God-given qualities of your body” (Decisions for Eternity).

I am determined never to hint to my children that I have poor body image.  I want them to never associate their value, their worthiness, their purpose for love, with their appearance.  When I compliment them on their appearance, I tell them they look clean and smart, or strong and healthy!  I want them to value those traits above any message the world may send about how they should look.  They are perfect!  They have a blank slate.  I will never tell them they have to earn my love (period) by how they look.  Not directly, nor indirectly by how I treat them, how I treat myself, what I say about food, or other people who are overweight.  I tell them treats, and even fast food, are “fun foods” to eat in moderation, and that too much candy will rot their teeth and feed the germs that make them sick.  I try to teach them that nutritious foods help make their bodies healthy and strong, but so do exercise and sleep! I am constantly hugging them and telling them I love them, and I’m trying to hold my tongue when I get impatient with them.

I ought to do the same for myself.

Elder Nelson continues:

“With your body being such a vital part of God’s eternal plan, it is little wonder that the Apostle Paul described it as a “temple of God.” Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple. That truth—refreshed gratefully each day—can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it. And those decisions will determine your destiny. How could this be? Because your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit. Some of the decisions that will determine your eternal destiny include:

•    How will you choose to care for and use your body?

•    What spiritual attributes will you choose to develop?”

With our bodies being so crucial to God’s eternal plan, it is also little wonder that the adversary wants so badly to diminish its value!  Don’t listen to that voice.  The Spirit of the Lord will never tell you you are ugly or fat, though He may entice you to want to change in positive ways.  The Spirit will never belittle you for how you look, or make you feel insecure because you had an encounter with someone who made you feel self-conscious about your appearance (p.s. no one can make you feel anything).  Allow the Spirit to guide how you should feel about yourself, your talents and skills, and all that you contribute because of who you are.

That’s what I have to keep telling myself.

Wednesday Wellness: Commitment

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I have not done very well over the last few weeks. The good news is, I didn’t gain weight! Still, I’m committed to keep recording my diet and exercise! It is a part of my life now. I’ve got it down to the point where it really is simple to record everything! The smart phone app has a scanner to scan bar codes on foods, which is super easy. I have another app called “MapMyRun” that keeps track of my fitness when I go outside.
I know it’s not for everyone, but for me, I have no excuse but to keep it up. Knowing what I know about health, I would be a fool to do anything less than manage a healthy diet and fitness routine. It’s not easy, but I am going to be accountable to this stewardship over my body and I hope to be faithful in that responsibility.
So, despite my weakness over the last few weeks, I must press on! If I am diligent over the next ten weeks, I will reach my goal weight! Just 10 weeks! That is doable! I will finally know what it feels like to be within a healthy BMI. Crazy!

Wednesday Wellness: Humility

Being humble doesn’t mean being weak. Being humble simply means acknowledging God’s hand in my life and attributing all of life’s gifts to His tender mercy. Humility even means attributing life’s trials to His perfect understanding of what I need and what I am capable of.
After losing so much weight, my sweet mother sent me a note saying, “don’t let it get to your head.” At first I thought she was suggesting that I was being prideful, or bragging about my success. Then I realized that what she really meant was to stay humble and not forget where my success had come from. She wanted to make sure that I wasn’t getting lazy because things were going so well, or to slack off in a false sense of security. She has a very good point.
It would be so easy to give up. It would be easy to fall back into old habits and start being careless about my health or my responsibilities. It is so much easier to sit around or to eat junk all the time, to give up on exercising and trying to eat well. It is ingrained in my nature – human nature – to take the path of least resistance, to give in to carnal cravings or make excuses. It’s natural, but I don’t think giving into my nature is what is best for my long-term success or happiness. I know it would be easy to give in to these things, but I can’t let down the divinity within me that is rooting me on to keep going and never give up! I have to acknowledge that as a steward of my body and mind I cannot forsake the knowledge I’ve been given to care for this gift that God has given me. Besides, at any moment I could lose everything. I could become ill. I could get injured and lose my capacity to do basic functions. I could become unable to care for myself or my family at any moment, and the inevitability of the end of this life constantly looms like a shadow, even at my age. Life is a gift that can be taken away at any moment.
I know that seems depressing. It happens to people all the time. I’m always impressed by people who take on physical challenges and overcome them as though it were not a handicap at all, but a great catalyst to success! (See Paul Schulte, and Stephanie Nielsen) I don’t know if I have that much strength within me to do that! I don’t want to find out either! So I live each day in grace knowing that I must do my very best and the Lord will do the rest!

Elder Bednar said it best in “The Tender Mercies of the Lord”:

The Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness and obedience enable us to receive these important gifts and, frequently, the Lord’s timing helps us to recognize them…We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Nephi 1:20).

Wednesday Wellness: Self-Reliance

I’m not sure I ever considered health an aspect of self-reliance, but the more I learn about it and the healthier I become, the more I am convinced it has everything to do with self-reliance!
I was thinking about self-reliance this morning and the phrase “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” So I did a search to discover where it came from. It emerged during the post World War era and Great Depression and has since become a wise adage. In my search I discovered this wonderful talk by former General Relief Society counselor Silvia H. Allred that she gave during a BYU Women’s Conference entitled “Principles of Self-Reliance”. She discusses emergency preparation, money management, food storage, and then she talks about physical fitness and good nutrition!
There are many reasons why I believe we have been commanded to be healthy, and self-reliance is as good a reason as any. Being capable of providing for ourselves and our families in good health and physical agility whether in times of safety or emergency is crucial. I believe preparing for an emergency should include daily exercise just as much as it should include having a 72-kit or a year supply of food or a financial reserve or a solid education. It requires just as much discipline and patience as we add upon it daily, weekly, monthly, and annually to be capable and prepared. Being self-sufficient takes hard work! It is exhausting to prepare meals, fix things, care for children, or do the work to maintain a home! Having the physical capacity to keep up makes it that much easier.
I hope you can check out Sister Allred’s article. It is a good guide to self-reliance. And as for that wise adage, the principle applies to our bodies and minds: “use it, or lose it.”
Check out this video. For fun.