Congrats to you. We’re on the final day of this 5-day course. To review, we’ve talked about developing a stronger mindset, how to eat, how to train, and creating a sleep ritual.
Today we’re talking about stress and why creating a ‘de-stressing’ routine is important for fat loss, fitness, and general health and well-being.
I’ve also got a surprise.
Tomorrow I’ll be sending out one more message. I’ll cover how to put this 5-day free course into consistent action so you can build a body and life you’re proud in a few short months.
How to stop snacking
There’s nothing inherently wrong with snacking – sometimes you may be physically hungry and actually need a snack to get you to your next meal. But sometimes our snacks are almost as many calories as a meal. A handful of trail mix here, a grab, and a nibble there.
Below are a few strategies for reducing snacking or snacking smarter if you really need one.
1). Check in if it’s physical hunger or something else.
Oftentimes when we feel like we need a snack it’s not that we’re actually hungry. Maybe you’ve been working non-stop and need a break. Maybe you just got hit with some stressful news and need to get your mind off of it.
Before heading for a snack sit back and take a couple deep breaths. Place your hand on your stomach and rank how much hunger you have on a scale from 1 (no hunger) to 10 (starving). Don’t worry about getting this perfect – make your best guess. If you’re not at an 8 try asking yourself what it is you’re really looking for in this moment. A break, relief, movement, conservation, etc… And give yourself that thing.
2). If you must snack, make it low in calories.
Veggies, a piece of fruit, or protein. If you’re physically hungry go ahead and have the snack but keep it calorie controlled. A piece of fruit is low in calories and often takes a few minutes to eat. Protein is very satiating and often low to moderate in calories. Veggies like baby carrots provide crunch and are extremely low in calories.
- Apple, berries, or an orange
- Turkey slices
- Baby carrots
- Protein shake in water
- Or a combo: Apple plus a turkey slice or two. Some veggies rolled up in turkey slices
3). Remove any trigger foods or snack foods from your home.
If you can’t do that, try pre-serving size them. The most obvious choice is to not keep any trigger foods or unhealthy snack foods in the house, work, or whatever else you spend the most time on.
But sometimes you can’t remove them. Make them harder to get to by placing them behind healthier food options, higher on shelves/cabinets, in drawers so they’re not as visible, or in containers that are not see-through.
Another great option is to take them out of the box or wrapper and portion them out into ziplock baggies. Love Goldfish? Cool, look at the serving size and calorie on the box and weigh or measure that portion out into a bunch of ziplock baggies. Really like trail mix? Cool, you can do the same thing.. Chips, cereal, candy – all can be serving sizes like this.
4). Practice scheduled eating.
Eat your meals at very specific times during your day. Often knowing when your next meal is coming is enough to keep you from snacking.
Many of the same strategies above can be used for emotional eating. But one of the more effective things you can do is to notice and name what’s going on before, during, and after you eat.
Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment”, when it comes to over-eating the groundwork is laid several hours in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset, and automatic thinking. Over-eating is simply the last link in
a long chain. If you can break the first link, you have a much better chance of never getting to the last link.
The goal of this exercise is to build awareness of what your eating episodes have in common. Maybe it’s a time of day, or a situation, or a type of food, or another person (or being alone), or a feeling – or all of these.
Describe in as much detail as possible what you are experiencing, or remember experiencing, at each stage. Then go back and review. Look for common features. Look at the steps you took.
This helps you build understanding of the process, which you can then use to disrupt these patterns. For instance, if you habitually over-eat in your kitchen at 6 pm when stressed, then figure out strategies to deal with a stressy dinner hour before it happens – as far in advance as possible. If you habitually think certain thoughts beforehand (e.g., “I’m a failure”, “This will make me feel better”, etc.) then come up with ways to respond to those thoughts before they hit you.
1). 1-2 hours before emotional eating
- What are you doing?
- What are you thinking?
- What are you feeling emotionally?
- What are you feeling physically?
- Where are you?
- What time is it?
- Who are you with?
2). Repeat the same questions immediately before emotional eating
3). In the middle of emotional eating
4). After emotional eating
5). Identify what problem you were hoping eating would solve. (i.e. I wanted relief – relief from what?)
Do your best to use these prompts while you’re emotionally eating. But sometimes that might not be possible and that’s ok. Take a few minutes to reflect back and answer the questions later.
Take action exercise
- Set up your environment to help you succeed with snacking
- Practice scheduled eating or have a few low cal snack options ready if you’re physically hungry
- If you have any emotional eating episodes use the resource to identify any patterns you may see.
- Get clear on what problem you were hoping to solve from snacking or emotional eating
- Along with your metrics this Sunday. Update me with what you’ve done this week.
BRAINSTORMING ANY STRESS
I like to figure out what stress really means.”Stress” is a vague word, and because it doesn’t pinpoint any concrete problems, it doesn’t suggest any solutions.
You may find junk food provides “relief” from stress. Relief from what? Again, this is why it’s important to define stress.
Eating secondary to emotions becomes destructive when it’s the primary way a person deals with feelings such as loneliness, boredom, anger, stress, or depression. Food doesn’t fix anything. It just makes problems feel a little further away – like any other drug.
With that being said, I also think framing realistic expectations around “stress” in general is important. Do we really want to eliminate all stress in our lives? Probably not. Life would be pretty boring.
Sometimes people have created this fantasy in their heads that if they didn’t have a job and had a personal trainer and chef. Every day would be seamless, effortless, and they would have the body of a supermodel. Ummmm, no. That lifestyle creates its own set of challenges.
Finally, some of this might be rooted in reward/entitlement. In other words, are you never good to yourself…except with food. Some of my clients are never indulgent….except with food. Some of my clients are never irresponsible…except with food. If food is the only way to accomplish some of these, they will run into health problems.
If you’re up for it. I’ve attached a couple of resources that will help you treat yourself and handles stress much better.
WHAT’S TO COME TOMORROW
We’ll put this 5-day course altogether and make sure you’re well on your way to building a lean, stronger and energized body. One that you’re proud of, confident in, and excited to show off.
LIVE LEAN STRENGTH AND WEIGHT LOSS COACHING
Most of the principles you’re learning are the same ones I teach to my personal coaching clients.
You’ll discover how to:
- Lose the weight and fat you haven’t been able to shed for years
- Build physical strength and confidence in your body
- Gain mental confidence and no longer hide your gifts and talents
- Let go of food confusion. Learn what to do and how to do it
- Get off the diet roller coaster once and for all, and never look back
- Own your day, diet, and training – Taking back control of your health forever