If the pounds start adding up and I’m feeling sluggish, it’s because I’m eating my emotions.

So I look at these three areas in my life:

1. Am I having Fun?

Who overeats when they’re bored? Sad? Angry? How about late-night snacking? My petite 5’4 size 8 slowly worked it’s way up to a size 16 when I was 23 years old. I had moved away from home, I was stressed, unhappy, working too hard, studying, and newly married.

I found one really easy way to stop those mouthfuls of instant pleasure and future pain: find something even more fun than food.

Now I keep a running list on my phone of things I want to do. Anything from planning my next local adventure to building something with the stuff in the garage, to getting up that hill I wanted to climb, or even just sorting out that pile of papers over there in the corner that is sucking the energy out of me!

Being a single mom, I used to be home every evening with my sleeping children. This was the toughest time not to eat or drink for pleasure (or boredom, loneliness, or relaxation). I was tired and would love to reward myself for completing homework, making dinner, paying the bills, driving them everywhere. Nighttimes can feel painfully long and lonely.

So I’ve taught myself to grab my phone and go to my Fun list, not the pantry. My simplest ideas are: paint, yoga just for me, find 1-5 favorite books that are stacked in the house and just skim the contents, dance to new music, write/journal, YouTube something I always wanted to learn and even travel online during this pandemic.

2. Am I enjoying a connection with Friends and Family?

My biological family lives 3000 miles away. So, I have happily created four or five groups of nearby Heart Families: moms, single friends, mentors, movers (as in yogis and dancers) and inspirational people. When negative feelings start knocking on my heart, the pantry stays closed and I reach for these gems of friends. Their names are on my Favorites. These are the good juju people with wise words, funny stories, contemplative anecdotes, or silly kid updates. I’d be completely lost without these people.

3. Do I have the Facts?

Ohhh, that mind of ours. Coaching definitely helps people see that their truth is only one little bit of a whole story. Sometimes that truth my client is holding so tightly is causing them pain: “My belly is too big.”…”I can’t move to music in front of others!!”, “I’d look so stupid on a yoga mat.”

My personal examples: “I’m alone.” “Nobody understands my pain.” “I should be happy.” The unhealthiest I have ever been was me pushing size 16. That was twice the size of what my body frame can truly handle. What’s crazy was I was completely able to exercise and eat well! It was those overwhelming feelings of negativity spewing in my head that had to be challenged first. So I dove in. With all the tools I gained. That was 30 years ago.

Since then, I’ve experienced the complete opposite: I was lean and strong when I was stuck at home in a wheelchair with crutches and a broken foot with two surgeries a year apart. Or surviving a massive car crash. WHY? WHAT? HOW?

Well, now I know about creating new neuropathways, lovingkindness, compassion, and embodiment.

This is what I can teach you.

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