Ending Emotional Eating, and the Transformative Art of Self-Care: Everybody Needs “Me Time”

Ending Emotional Eating, and the Transformative Art of Self-Care: Everybody Needs “Me Time”

I’m going to work to commit every Thursday evening to writing about self-care – what it is, how you can achieve it, and how we can become better together. As this series progresses, feel free to chime in with your thoughts, questions and concerns. View the series in its entirety. You are now viewing part 9.

As an emotional eater in recovery, I need my “me time.”

I’m a mom, a wife, a trainer with clients, a blogger with an audience, a neighbor, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a writer, a businesswoman, all of that. These are all the things I am to others.

What am I to myself? And when do I set aside time to be whatever I am to myself?

Hindsight is always 20/20 – you can always look back and see where you went wrong and what you should’ve done differently, but growth from it all can only happen if you’re willing to do the heavy lifting. Are you willing to look back and acknowledge where you went wrong, or are you more comfortable pretending it never happened, plainly waiting for it to happen again?

In the midst of all of the drama I was going through in April and May, a large part of the reason why I relapsed the way I did was because I didn’t take any “me time” in the midst of it all – it was just day after day after day, week after week, month after month of no time to myself, no time to decompress. Even where time with the girlfriends can be consider me time, time to live and laugh and share common experiences with others, I didn’t have any of that, either.

As a recovering emotional eater, it always has been and will be essential to my mental and emotional well-being to have some time to sort out my thoughts… or simply time to just not think or take everything so seriously, at all. My yoga practice – that to which I attribute much of my success – completely collapsed in that time frame. I wasn’t training, I wasn’t practicing yoga, I could barely leave my house. It was a collapse waiting to happen.

“Me time” is essential. You need time to think about your day and process what has happened and how it affected you emotionally. When your boss made that passive aggressive remark regarding your performance, what did you do in response? Did you snap because you haven’t had your morning donut, and you were in withdrawal? Did you cry? When your child smeared poop on the walls, did you immediately reach for a glass of wine, and it isn’t even 9AM yet?

“Me time” is reflection time. It is correction time. It’s the time where you say to yourself, “Self, I need to really think about how I responded to this negative experience, and I need to find a better way.” Sometimes, it’s even your time to think about how to follow up to responding poorly to something that happened, something that you did.

“Me time” is your opportunity to decompress. When you’re hit with stressor after stressor after stressor with no opportunity to breathe in-between, it feels like an emotional pile-on. And, I don’t know about you, but I don’t handle being at the bottom of a pile-on very well. Not only do I begin to lash out, but I also begin to self-harm in ways that aren’t always food.

You need to give yourself time to relax. Ten minutes in the morning, or a stolen moment or two at your desk, or maybe even an hour or so for your workout can make a world of difference. Maybe you need to meditate, or sit and think about nothing at all. Maybe you need to lift something heavy, because the feeling of dropping it makes you feel like you’re also dropping old, heavy, painful baggage. Maybe five minutes with your headphones in bouncing in your seat to your favorite song will take you away and give you the chance to calm down before you drop kick your co-worker (or spouse) out the window.

What? I can’t be the only person who’s been angry enough to consider drop kicking another human being. Not like I’ve ever done it, or anything.

bgg2wl-me-time

We all decompress differently, but decompressing must be done. This is how I realized that my yoga practice truly saved me. It might’ve done wonders for my body and my flexibility but most importantly, it was a half an hour of my day, every day, where I focused on nothing but me: my body, how I felt, how I was performing, hot I was breathing, how amazed I was at my competence, how scared I was of falling, how shocked I was that my body could do these things, and how excited I was to give it another shot the next go-round.

For that half-hour, I wasn’t thinking about bills. I wasn’t think about my daughter. I wasn’t thinking about work, or school, or my boyfriend, or any of it. It was me. Just me. It felt strange…but it felt amazing. I realize, in writing this, that I don’t do this anymore, and it’s to my detriment. For someone whose progress hinges on correcting bad habits, failing to address those habits at all isn’t particularly smart.

My training used to be my me time, but then I had to stop that. My regular morning runs were my me time, but I had to stop that, too. My yoga practice, my cooking time, my reading time, all of it… gone. All my time was centered around supporting my family during a crisis period. My time was no longer my own, not even 10 minutes, and I suffered greatly for it. I relapsed, for the first time since I’d quit my habit.

Hindsight is always 20/20. I know better now.

Next week: The value of community.

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By | 2017-06-10T11:20:52+00:00 January 31st, 2015|Emotional Eating|2 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.

2 Comments

  1. Ann July 26, 2014 at 8:52 AM - Reply

    ..I am sitting in my bed this Saturday morning reading all of the installations for your self-care series..love, love, love..needed it this morning..have lost twenty five, gained back five..trying not to panic, know that this is a journey..turn to your blog for support, and you give that with your honesty, and your soul..I feel you, girl, and in the process of reading you, I am feeling myself..I am in a very emotionally vulnerable place..primary caretaker to my mom, man, crazy..fighting like hell for my self, but also afraid that I will not be successful in this weight loss journey..just ordered the book you rely on so much, and will revisit Wheat Belly, another excellent read..it is what started me in earnest on the journey for what hope will be the last time..I addressed this issue as a blogger for a yoga website, and now I am reading this..it just affirms all that I know and need to continue to practice..from my heart, thank you..I feel less alone, and for that I am so grateful..be blessed Erika..

  2. Rebecca January 7, 2016 at 5:05 PM - Reply

    Erika,
    Your words have touched my very sole and amidst my 2nd heaping bowl of Frosted Flakes while medicating my pain with sugar, and amidst my tears of grief has brought me back from the depths of despair. I have lost my job of 23 years and beiing 56, am having doors slammed in my face at every turn. You don’t have any experience, you’re not a good fit, we went with someone else….all of these responses to my applications has only added to my own mantra of “I’m not good enough`. I took an Accounting & Payroll Course through a college in town, and the Diploma wasn`t worth the paper it was written on. What good is a diploma when no one will give you a chance. “You`re not good enough`. I have been sitting here and bawling like a lost lamb, sobbing heart wrenching sobs, and crying the ugly cry. I lost my job 3 years ago and I guess now is my time to grieve it because I spent most of the last 3 years being angry, and feeling p..sed off and p…sed on. I worked in a unionized shop and the union did nothing to help me. I had 7 years to go to a full pension. To go from a 100K per year job to at times having to rely on Social Assistance has taken me to a deep dark place and my emotional eating has been out of control. My all time high was 294lbs. I weighed in at 267 this morning.

    Before the Christmas Holidays, I was working out religiously. Every morning I did 45 minutes of Kickboxing, and 3 days a week I added weight training to that. I had been doing that since Sept. 2015. Christmas came and I went into a funk. My son was supposed to come down for Christmas and he didn`t show up. I haven`t seen him in 4 long years. My addiction is food, his is dope. I have walked a total of 4.5 miles this last week and after reading your blogs on emotional eating, feel as though I`m ready to start again. I know how to eat clean, I guess I just needed to feel this pain to get back on track. Thanks so much Erika. I am so proud of you for losing 150 lbs and congratulations on the journey you have come through. Thank you for your blogs. I stumbled on your website by accident and am so glad I did. God Bless You and Your Family

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