Do you overeat pretty regularly? Do you know why you do it?
Most people overeat when they are craving comfort, entertainment, physical touch, or when they’re feeling lonely, angry, stressed, or bored. Or all of the above.
Boredom used to be a big trigger for me. For years, I munched on potato chips, chocolate, Brie cheese, crackers, and (at least) half a bottle of wine every afternoon at 4pm sharp. It was my little “escape” from my life, which—back then—was seriously bland and boring.
Eventually I realized, “I’ve got to address this issue because it’s becoming really unhealthy. Plus, my clothes don’t fit, which sucks. I need to figure out how to feel less bored and more stimulated and fulfilled, but without turning to food. I need to change my life.”
It took work to re-wire my thoughts and change my daily habits, because I had become very accustomed to turning to food whenever I felt a pang of boredom. It was almost like I had “forgotten” that there are other forms of pleasure, fun, and excitement in the world.
Gradually, I began to realize, “Oh, right. Food isn’t the ONLY way to combat boredom, pamper myself, and experience the pleasure that I’ve been craving so desperately… I’ve got other options. Lots of options.”
Today, I want to share some of those options with you.
18 ways to treat yo’self that do not involve food.
The next time you feel the urge to overeat, before you start zombie-shuffling over to the fridge, stop yourself. Take one deep breath. Then ask yourself, “What am I feeling? What am I craving? How could I satisfy that craving without turning to food?” Come up with a plan.
For inspiration, refer back to this list…
If you are craving comfort…
1. Curl up under a ridiculously soft down comforter. (The sheets from Comphy are used in top spas and hotels around the world. UNREAL SOFTNESS.)
2. Call or text a friend who always makes you laugh. Tell her, “I really want to eat an entire pizza right now because I need comforting and reassurance. Can you tell me why I’m awesome?” Allow her to remind you.
3. Hold a kitten or puppy. Your own. A friend’s. Or volunteer at a shelter. Or you can go to Purrington’s, a lounge where cats roam around searching for humans for cuddle. (Note to self: must visit on my next trip to Portland…)
If you are craving physical touch…
4. Book yourself a massage. Too pricey? Find a local massage training school and volunteer to be a “practice subject” for the masseurs-in-training. Heaven on a budget!
5. Ask your significant other to cuddle. Or go to a cuddle party. Or host one. These are safe, structured, non-sexual events where grown ups snuggle together, consensually. (You don’t have to snuggle with anyone that you don’t want to touch. Also, everyone is fully clothed.)
6. Give yourself a self-massage. God gave you two hands for a reason!
If you are craving intellectual stimulation…
7. Watch the most popular TED talks ever recorded.
8. Read this bestselling biography about the life of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Then listen to the Broadway musical / rap version of HAMILTON over and over and over. (My daughter Emily and I are OBSESSED.)
9. If you are over the age of 60, become a “Senior Scholar.” Through the Senior Scholar program, many top universities (including UCLA and Ivy Leagues like Columbia) allow seniors to take college classes for FREE. You’re not graded and you don’t earn a degree, but you can attend lectures, listen, learn, and study all kinds of fascinating subjects for free. Brainiacs: always sexy, at every age.
If you are craving a deeper connection with God / Spirit / Universe…
10. Pray. Say to God, “Hey God. It’s me. I need some guidance. I’m feeling stuck regarding _____. Please, will you guide me towards the best possible course of action? Show me what I need to know about _____ today…” Listen for a reply.
11. Meditate. If sitting in absolute silence sounds awful, try a guided meditation with chill music. (There are hundreds of them available for free on YouTube. Also, if you need a good laugh, this one is HILARIOUS.)
12. Unlock your intuition. Try Colette’s super-fun video class about how to read Oracle cards. Or learn about Tarot from Theresa. Or read the book Messages from Spirit. Search for messages and synchronicities all throughout your day.
If you are craving pure pleasure, luxury, and straight-up FUN…
13. Watch every episode of Downton Abbey, Empire, and Outlander in order, start to finish. Also: watch every Beyonce music video ever made. That’s a given.
14. Go to your local salon and ask for a shampoo and blow-out styling session. It will probably cost you $30 – $40, including tip, and you will look faaaabulous for days on end.
15. Steal your kid’s crayons and start coloring. (Coloring books for grown-ups are a huge trend right now. Get on the rainbow-bandwagon.)
If you are craving honesty, catharsis, a big release…
16. Write a letter to the person you feel most angry at. (This person might be yourself.) Pour out all of your disappointments, hurt, grief, rage. Then light a candle and burn the paper. Let it go.
17. PUNCH SOMETHING. Many psychologists agree than physically punching a pillow (or a punching bag) is one of the most effective ways to release pent-up stress. Channel your inner Ronda Rousey and go nuts on a pillow until you feel a “shift” in your body. It may only take a few seconds of punching before you feel “different.”
18. Talk to a coach or therapist. Someone like me. Or someone else. (I run a certification program where I train people to become weight loss coaches.
Food is amazing. Food is fun. Food is delicious. Food is all of those things—and more.
You’re allowed to love food, cherish food, make food, eat food, all kinds of food—“power food” that’s highly nutritious and “pleasure food” like chocolate and caramels—but food doesn’t have to be the “only” (or the “primary”) source of fun, pleasure, and comfort in your life.
There are so many other options.
So many ways to feel the feelings that you want to feel—without using food.
So many ways to manage and resolve the feelings that you don’t want to feel—again, without using food.
You can create a lifestyle where food is no longer THE go-to solution for every situation, every single time.
And last but not least:
If you are currently on a weight loss journey, please, don’t give up on yourself. Your best life, your best body, and your best relationship with food could all be ahead of you—all yet to come.
I know this from personal experience and because of the stories I hear from friends and clients. Keep the faith. Keep doing the work. Keep focusing on how to make your life feel bigger and more delicious—not just how to make your waistline smaller. Keep expanding. Keep going.
All this work? All this courage? All these changes you’re making?
It’s all worth it.
PS. If you’d like to hire me for weight loss & body image coaching, check this out.
PPS. If you’d like to become a certified BARE method weight loss coach and learn how to help women to transform their bodies and lives, consider joining me for this. I’d love to certify you in my trademarked BARE methodology. Class begins on March 2nd. See you there!