Tammy Fuller
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managing urges

Managing Urges to Overeat

managing urges

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

What are urges anyway?

Urges can be defined as desires that have been habituated. Managing urges can take different forms but one is more effective than others.

Sometimes I feel like my brain is like a toddler laying on the floor of the grocery store screaming for candy. This toddler brain got that way because every time I went to the store I got candy. My brain learned that shopping meant sweets. Once I started trying to lose weight my toddler brain still screamed for sweets every time I went shopping.

Urges tend come up during certain times, certain events, certain places and even when you are feeling particular emotions (sad, stressed, happy, etc.). Sometimes the urge is for a specific food or type of food – sweet, salty, both.

Once you have an urge there are 4 actions you can take: react, resist, distract or observe. Only one of these actions hold the key to overcoming overeating.

React

Reacting to an urge means you just give in. It fuels the habit and reinforces the habit cycle. The habit becomes even more ingrained over time.

Resist

Resisting an urge is using willpower to tell yourself no. This is like white-knuckling, gritting your teeth and fighting against it. It takes a great deal of energy and eventually it wears you down. You can’t recognize the habit cycle or learn anything from it when you are resisting.

Distract

Distracting yourself from an urge is when you busy yourself with something different. You may do other tasks like clean the house or you may decide to avoid certain situations all together. Many people distract themselves with other rewards. So they still give into the urge (and reinforce the urge) but they use something other than what they had the urge for. This is the reason that people gain weight when they are trying to quit smoking. They replace the urge to smoke with food.

Observe

Observing your urges means to be curious. Take a good look at the urge and allow it to be there without answering it.

This action can change everything for you. 

When you have an urge your toddler brain screams to let you know that it feels terrible. It tells you that resisting pizza (or whatever you are having an urge for) is unbearable. But if you take the time to tune into how your body is actually feeling you realize that you feel restless, or antsy. You realize that your brain is creating a whole lot more drama than you are actually physically feeling.

The urge itself is not an emergency but your thoughts about it make it feel like one. The discomfort is created by your mind screaming,

It’s not fair.

I need this.

It’s not that bad.

I’m starving.

Everybody else gets to.

I’ve been good all day.

I deserve this.

Use this as an opportunity to learn from the experience. To figure out the things that trigger your urges. To learn to sit with the urge and be curious but not give in. Do a thought download. You may be surprised by what you learn.

What does your toddler brain say during an urge?

3 Simple Things You Can Stop Doing to Lose Weight

Today I want to share with you 3 simple tips I learned from my coach Corinne Crabtree of Phit-n-Phat. Implementing these simple tips can help you break the habit of taking in extra unneeded calories throughout the day.

Sometimes we think weight loss is hard and takes drastic measures. There are so many small tweaks you can do that help you make changes you can keep for life. That way you can stop the cycle of dieting, failing and gaining the weight back.

1. Stop Taking Bites, Licks, and Tastes

Corinne calls these BLTs. If you start tracking it you will see just how often you lick the spoon while cooking, take bites while seasoning food, or finish off the last couple bites of your child’s plate. These are just extra calories that add up without you even realizing it.

2. Stop Eating Standing Up

Sit down when you eat. No eating while standing at the pantry, the counter, or the stove. No standing up and eating while working. Take the time and sit down. It gives you a mental break to evaluate if you are truly hungry or if you are just fog (mindless) eating.

3. Leave Bites Behind

Commit that you will leave 2 or 3 bites behind at every meal. This gets you comfortable with not automatically finishing everything on your plate. Many times you have reached satisfaction but you finish the meal because it’s there. Leaving bites behind can help you eat with more intention – you have to pay attention to how much you’re eating in order to leave the bites.

I was taught to clean my plate and not waste food. However the food is still wasted if I eat it and it ends up on my hips.  Either way, eating food that my body doesn’t need or throwing out the food it is wasted.

Action Step

Implementing these 3 simple tips can save hundreds of calories a day. This allows your body to access the body fat you have stored so that you can fuel your body and lose the weight.

Will you implement any of these tips this week?

Clean Up Your Thinking with a Daily Thought Download

thought downloadDoing a thought download is a practice that has helped me in so many areas of my life. I started doing it as a practice to stop overeating. But I have learned that is is simply a good practice to help get the jumbled thoughts out of my head. This helps me start my day with some intentional thinking so I can increase the likelihood of meeting the day’s goals.

I find when I am thinking about a problem or a challenge my thoughts get all mixed up with my usual habitual thinking. It’s hard to recognize a problem thought that my brain has turned into an automatic thought pattern. Once I start peeling it all apart and writing it down I can begin to think better thoughts to change the outcomes.

The Rules

There are no rules.

You cannot mess it up.

There is no right or wrong.

Getting Started

I recommend you do this on paper rather than typing it out. Start writing whatever’s on your mind. Write for two to three minutes. More if you’re on a roll. Empty out your mind onto the paper.

You can start with some prompts to get you started if you feel stuck.

Today is going to be a ______ kind of day.
Fill in the blank and then begin to write about why you think the day is going to go that way. Is there anything you can do to have a better day?

If you are working on stopping overeating you can write down what you ate yesterday. Are you happy with your choices? Why or why not? Did you struggle with anything in particular? What is your eating plan for today. Are there any challenges you’ll face that you can work through before you get to them?

Truly, you can write about anything. Just free write and see what comes.

I hope you’ll give this a try and see how things can change if you start your day by clearing out your thoughts on paper.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

 

types of overeating

Learn From Overeating So You Can Stop

types of overeatingThere are 4 types of eating. I have previously covered the concepts of fuel foods and joy foods. The other 2 types of eating are types of overeating. My coach calls them storm eating and fog eating. Other terms for them can be binge eating and mindless eating.

Fog Eating

One of the two types of overeating is called fog eating.

Fog eating is just not paying attention to your eating.

It may happen when you are eating while you are distracted – watching TV, working, scrolling on the internet, etc.

It may happen when you are taking bites, licks and and little tastes here and there. Tasting little bites while cooking, finishing off your child’s food while cleaning up the kitchen, eating the crumbs from the edge of the cake in the break room.

One way I know I’ve been fog eating when feel cheated at the end of the meal. Like I got there so fast I didn’t get to enjoy it.

Fog eating is sneaky. It feels like it shouldn’t matter. But at the end of the week we are surprised by the result on the scale because it felt like we worked so hard. But we forget about all the extra bites we took in when we weren’t hungry

When you become aware of when you are fog eating  you stand a chance of making a better choice.

This is about choices. You don’t need more willpower. you just need to recognize it and make a choice. Either eat it and realize this choice may delay the result you are going for. Or don’t eat it and learn to sit with the discomfort. It won’t kill you.

Storm Eating

The other of the two types of overeating is called storm eating.

Storm eating is a conscious choice to eat past satiety. There is usually strong emotion tied to storm eating such as anger or justification. It is intentional.

“I just want it.”

“I’m tired of saying no to myself.”

“I deserve this.”

Do not give binges power. Do not make them more than they are.

You may feel out of control but in reality you are just making a choice to continue.

You can make a different choice.

How to Learn to Stop Overeating

The first step to stop overeating is awareness. If you don’t realize you are fog eating or storm eating you will always wonder why you’re not losing weight. Before you can tackle the problem you have to recognize that you are doing it.

Start journaling when you have an overeat. Whether it was an intentional storm eat or an unintentional fog eat you can learn from it. The more overeats you recognize the faster you can learn from them.

Track the time of day – my hardest times are right when I get home from work and right before bed.

Write down triggers – are you tired, bored anxious, stressed?

Place – does it happen more at work, at home, on the couch, at the computer?

Note anything that you notice surrounding the event.

Don’t be afraid of writing this stuff down. The journaling can cause you a little discomfort in putting all this down on paper. But it can be the tool that helps you figure this all out and get better results for yourself.

Action Step

Grab a journal or a piece of paper and track what you eat today. Pay attention to times you notice that you’re eating when you’re not actually hungry. Write a bit about what you were feeling in those moments. Use it as a time of discovery.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

 

Bringing the Joy Back to My Diet – Joy Food and 24-hour Planning

joy food

Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash

This past month or so I have implemented a new practice into my diet routine. I have been planning what my coach calls a Joy Meal. I have been very strict about what I eat for almost a full year now. In fact I wrote a post about why I don’t cheat on my diet. I still practice eating foods that I have learned are best for my body. I have lost 38 pounds and I have a long way to go. But I wanted to learn to practice planning for special foods. I wanted to learn the skill of eating a food that had previously been a problem for me and then getting right back on plan.

When I first heard about this practice it made me all sorts of nervous.

What if it made me gain weight?

What if I overate?

What if I totally blew my diet?

What if? What if? What if?

It made me aware that I still have some work to do related to my thoughts and beliefs about food.

How a Joy Meal Works

I plan my food 24 hours ahead of time. So joy food is not a last minute decision. I can’t just decide to eat pizza when the girls at the office decide to go out at the last minute. It has to be planned 24 hours ahead of time.

I only have one joy meal per week. I think long and hard about what I want for my joy food. It’s funny, I used to love sweets so much. But since I have stayed away from sugar for a year I crave savory foods for my joy food. My most recent joy meals have included nachos and pizza.

I have a joy meal every week. This gives me practice once a week with sticking to my plan, practicing constraint, and getting back on plan.

I still eat to a +2 on my hunger scale. This is not an excuse to overeat and stuff myself.

What I have learned from this practice

I don’t have to feel deprived. For example, one of my favorite desserts is cheesecake. Today at a meeting they served the most beautiful piece of cheesecake. I didn’t plan for it so I didn’t have any. But I don’t have to feel sorry for myself or feel like I can never have cheesecake like everyone else. I can plan for it on another day and enjoy the heck out of it without shame or guilt. The funny thing is, now that it’s not in front of me I don’t want it. I’d rather have nachos this week.

I am proud of myself for planning and following my plans. I’m proud of myself for making better choices to show up as my best self.

I can still lose weight while having a weekly joy eat.

I can eat delicious foods and stop before overeating.

I can be intentional about my food life. It doesn’t control me. I can always make choices.

It’s easier to stick to my daily plans when I have a joy meal to look forward to. It’s easier to say no to donuts in the break room at work when I know that I’m having something special later in the week.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

Eat More Fuel Foods to Help You Feel Your Best

 

What are fuel foods?

Fuel foods provide your body with nutrients.

They give your body energy.

They sustain you.

Fresh foods that are less processed are great choices.

When you are planning what you will include in your nutrition plan look for foods that are less processed, full of nutrients, and provide you with energy instead of making you feel sluggish. Pay attention if what you eat makes you sleepy within a few hours. Look for foods that you can’t resist overeating and evaluate if there is a better choice.

Start adding more of these nutritious foods into your plan. Plan realistically and stick to your plan. Don’t make it complicated. As you go along you can level up your eating plan. As you learn which foods don’t make you feel your best you can begin to make better choices.

If there are foods that tend to cause you to overeat you can look at swapping it out for a better choice.

As you progress in your weight loss journey you can continue to level up your foods to more nutritious choices. As you do this you will notice that your taste buds will change to enjoy the healthier foods. You will have more energy and you will feel more satisfied.

Action step:

Look at what you ate over the last week. Are there foods that you could swap out this next week to help you get to your weight loss goal?

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

 

24 hour planning

Ending Overeating with 24 Hour Planning

24 hour planning24 hour planning is one of the best tools I’ve learned in my weight loss journey. Using this tool consistently has taught me to plan ahead, decrease the number of decisions I need to make in a day, and best of all it has taught me to have my own back and stop self-sabotage. Having my own back means that I make a commitment to myself and then I follow through and stick to it.

Prior to using 24 hour planning I made a lot of last minute decisions. I chose what I would eat based on how I was feeling. I didn’t always make the best choices when I was tired, stressed out or bored. I was also subject to last minute decisions when there were goodies on the break room table or when friends wanted to go to lunch. 24 hour planning has simplified the weight loss process for me.

Benefits of 24 Hour Planning

  • 24 hour planning helps me make decisions when I’m not overly hungry or tired. I make better decisions that way.
  • It helps me make decisions that align with my weight loss goals.
  • It gives me a chance to follow through and create wins in my life.
  • 24 hour planning also gives me a chance to learn from failures and strengthen my resolve in meeting my goals.

Why is it Easy?

You can put any foods you want on your plan. It’s important to make it a doable plan so that you can fully commit to it. So don’t stress about the foods you think “should” be on your plan. Put what you will actually eat. The practice is in following through the next day.

What Will You Learn?

You will learn how to practice committing to yourself and sticking to your commitment.

You will learn to focus on today and not get overwhelmed by the overall goal.

You will have opportunities to learn as you practice sticking to your plan. It won’t always be perfect and those moments are your chance to evaluate and grow.

Ready to Get Started?

Grab a sheet of paper or your journal  and plan tonight for what will you eat tomorrow. Think about what obstacles you might face tomorrow. Plan for them. You don’t have to write exact amounts on the plan if you don’t want to. This is not about trying to be perfect. Meet yourself where you are right now. This is about making a commitment to yourself and learning.

At the end of the day answer the questions below. Write it out. This is where the learning happens. This is where discovery and skill building happens.

What did I actually eat?

Did I start eating only when hungry?

Did I stop eating when I was satisfied?

What did I do well today?

Did I stick to my plan today? Why or why not?

Now with all that in mind fill out a new plan for tomorrow. Repeat each day.

Example of my 24 hour plan

Here’s a sample of one of my 24 hour plans. This one is from yesterday which was Easter. I splurged a bit with potato salad. I planned ahead for it. I didn’t plan for eating any Easter candy and I didn’t eat any. I am getting better at sticking to my commitments to myself.

a.m.- Keto coffee, eggs, bacon

noon – big salad with cheese and salami

dinner – tri tip, potato salad, deviled eggs

Still Have Questions?

Comment below if you have questions. I’d love to help.

 

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more topics like this click here for the main page with all the links.

emotional hunger

Understanding the Difference Between Physical Hunger and Emotional Hunger

hungry

Physical Hunger vs. Emotional Hunger

  • Have you ever had the urge to eat even though you just recently ate? This used to happen to me all the time. I would eat a great lunch and as soon as I got back to my office I felt the urge for something sweet.
  • Have you ever eaten just because it was time to eat and you weren’t even really hungry? Me too. All. The. Time.
  • Have you ever kept eating past the point where you were stuffed? Yep. Me too.
  • Feeling the need to reward yourself with comfort food after a rough day? Totally!

As part of my weight loss journey I’ve been learning a great deal about the differences between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Distinguishing the difference between the two is one of the most important skills when working on decreasing overeating.

Physical Hunger

One of the best indicators of actual physical hunger is that any food will satisfy it. If you are hungry for just an In N Out burger and nothing else will do it’s likely that you’re feeling emotional hunger. Physical hunger occurs after some time has passed since your last meal. It comes on gradually and you can wait. In fact you may find that if you wait, the hungry feeling goes away for a while. You may have a rumbling sound or an empty sensation in your stomach. One key point is that satisfying true physical hunger doesn’t make you feel bad or guilty.

Emotional Hunger

Emotional or psychological hunger is a desire to eat even when you are not physically hungry. It can come on suddenly and feel very urgent. You may feel that you need to eat immediately. When trying to satisfy emotional hunger you tend to eat more – you have difficulty stopping when you are full. You may also crave a specific food. Emotional eating tends to trigger guilt, shame and a sense that you are powerless over overeating. It may satisfy you temporarily but since the root problem isn’t fixed, the hunger returns. The problem may be unmet emotional needs, the discomfort of feeling negative emotions, stress, anger, depression and boredom. It can even be simply out of habit.

Take Action

To start becoming more aware of how you feel when you are hungry try journaling for the next week or so. Each time you feel hungry or you just want to eat, write it down. What are you thinking about? What physical sensations do you have? Start to look at possible triggers for overeating. Once you can identify your triggers you can begin to take action. You can limit the triggers or develop alternate healthy behaviors.

Remember that emotional eating does not solve the problem you are trying to numb and you add problems – weight gain, feelings of shame or guilt, unresolved issues. And you never learn to actually notice your negative thoughts and emotions and learn to manage them.

 

Self-Care Essentials for Weight Loss: Why Sleep is Your Number One Priority

sleep for weight loss

Photo by Source: Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

 

Are you wondering what sleep has to do with weight loss?

Many of us don’t get enough sleep. Do you know that sleep is one of the keys to weight loss? Setting up a nighttime routine can help improve your sleep habits.

Have you ever flown on an airplane?

Every time I fly the flight attendant reminds me that if there is a loss of cabin pressure, make sure to put the oxygen mask on myself before putting a mask on my child. We tend to put others first and our instinct might be to put the mask on those that we love first. But if we don’t take care of ourselves, we will be unable to help others around us. Our good intentions won’t help anyone if we can’t function to help them.

Today I want to share with you an important self-care habit to ensure that you are operating at your highest level to give yourself the best chance to optimize your weight loss.

You. Must. Sleep.

Sleep is vital. According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 35% of people are sleep deprived (1). It is recommended that you get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that those that got only 5.5 hours of sleep lost less body fat than if they got more sleep (2). If you are not getting enough sleep you are sabotaging your efforts and decreasing the effectiveness of all the things you did right during the day.

It’s All About the Hormones

Your weight is controlled by several different hormones in your body. Lack of sufficient sleep affects these hormones and can affect your weight.

Insulin is a fat storage hormone. Lack of sleep causes decreased insulin sensitivity leading to increased fat storage.

Ghrelin is increased which causes increased hunger signals and a decreased metabolism. That is certainly a bad combination!

Decreased leptin means your stomach feels empty leaving you longing for more.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that can be released when you are sleep deprived. This can lead to an increased desire for food.

Your Assignment

Increase the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Develop a bedtime routine. Stick to a schedule. Your body likes routines. Set a bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. Don’t set snooze alarms. Pushing snooze multiple times just means that your last bit of sleep is completely interrupted. Sleep until the alarm goes off and then 5,4,3,2,1…get up and be awesome!

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
  2. http://annals.org/aim/article/746184/insufficient-sleep-undermines-dietary-efforts-reduce-adiposity

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