Reclaiming Personal Power & Choice
My work includes so many different types of clients and subjects within the realm of nutrition. Often people will come in with one agenda, usually to eat “healthier”, prepare for an athletic event, heal a health condition or lose weight. Through our work with the original goal, we often discover many thoughts, emotions, beliefs, life events and stories that have seemed to have created a block to the very goals we wish to achieve and conditions we wish to heal.
One of my clients continuously found herself making super positive changes in how she was fueling herself and then started witnessing how much she was emotionally overeating. She had blocked the behavior out and had wanted to blame what she was eating on a regular basis (carbs primarily) as the reason for her “feeling” the same despite making many lifestyle improvements. This came out in a session one day where she admitted to eating a box of cookies while she was watching her roof leak inside the house. Just staring at it, and eating. She hadn’t realized the degree that she did until the package was empty. She, then recalled other times that she found herself in similar situations. We oftentimes block out the memory of these episodes because of the “shame” we can feel. We also block out the event that drove the eating behavior because of the amount of stress and feelings of helplessness at the time.
Another example is a client who found themselves eating inside of their pantry, completely unaware, after every confrontation and phone call with a particular employee. They hadn’t realized how much emotion and disturbance they were feeling around it until they started talking about in session.
Many people can probably relate to these types of scenarios. It can be extremely challenging at the time of feeling triggered to stop and pause. But in turn, stopping and pausing, whether you continue in the behavior or not, is a place of personal power and choice, versus a place of reacting.
Here are some steps to consider when you wish to reclaim your personal power and choice in these uncomfortable situations.
- Stop and just close your eyes. Stop and walk to the rest room, close your eyes and let warm water wash over your hands. Take a moment to actually change the energy that you are experiencing so you can get back into your body. In those times of emotional eating, we are very disconnected to our body and truly living in our minds.
- Stop and claim the emotion. Sense it in your body, where am I holding tension, what areas feel uncomfortable? What emotion or sensations am I experiencing. Once you can just call it out – – “I feel_____”. Try to just let yourself stop and feel sad.
- If you are at home or can go into another room, consider just sitting down with yourself. Even getting on the floor. On your back, on your side…whatever helps you feel supported where you can just let go and feel.
- If you are not at home. Can you still remove yourself from the area. Whether its going into another room, to your car, outside on a bench etc.
- Make a list. Here’s the situation, here’s how it makes me feel, here’s what I can do about this and here’s what I can’t do. Even consider another column with – what do I really want to do, but can’t do about this (really let yourself get all of this out!).
I know, this seems like a lot. And honestly, this experience can take less than 5 min. And make all the difference in the world. It’s important to give yourself and your emotion a voice. This helps you not carry so much of it around.
- Choose to take care of yourself. Yes, by doing the above, you are definitely taking care of yourself. And how can we expand on that more? Ask for what you need. Whether that’s to yourself or another person, ask or state what you need. “I am feeling ____ right now. What I need is a walk outside, a hug, to do some yoga or stretching to move the energy etc. Whatever that might be for you at that moment, allow for it. Then you can process and really think about what you need. What is this experience showing me? You may come up with all kinds of things such as, needing more free time or more work/life balance. Maybe it’s a need for a day or an hour away from the kids on a regular basis. Whatever those things may be for you, allow and find ways to get what you need.
Be patient with this process. You may feel frustrated. There may be a part of you that is already combatting why you can’t get your what you need. But hang in there and go deeper. Move beyond the fear and self-imposing limits. There’s always something you can start with.
When we recognize the behavior we wish to potentially change, pause long enough to give ourselves a choice, claim how we feel and state what we really need, we create movement vs. feeling stuck. We stand in our power that can work for us, versus working against us. And then, anything is possible!!
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Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Nicole is recognized state-wide and nationally as a Registered Dietitian and is also a Certified dietitian through the state of Wisconsin. She is also a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a Certified Personal Trainer and Physical Fitness Instructor.
Nicole’s areas of expertise include: Wellness and lifestyle coaching, weight management, behavior modification, eating disorders, vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free living, sports nutrition, recipe and menu design and development.