Why Do You Eat And Live The Way You Do?

Why Do You Eat And Live The Way You Do?

It may sound strange, but many women don’t readily know what they love to do. Some of us have taken our cues from others for so long that we don’t have much experience in listening to our own inner promptings about what we love.”  - Abby Seixas, author of Finding the Deep River Within

When thinking about our health, most of us will only consider our weight and fitness level, but our lives are made up of so much more. When you understand what is actually going on in your life, you may develop clues as to why you eat and live the way you do.

So many of my clients come to me to help them with food but it quickly becomes apparent that what they are really struggling with are other issues such as keeping their kids on track, sick parents, work stress, or other issues of daily life.

Creativity and Brownie Batter Binges

What if I told you that stressing about finances can cause tortilla chip cravings? Or how stifling your creativity can cause a brownie batter binge!

We often eat due to the stress issues in our lives, think our problem is food, and never get down to the heart of the matter. By using the Investigative Approach, we can look together, through our investigative lenses, to see what is really going on.

What’s Really Going on with ME?

When I work with clients, we start by taking a look at their overall life. We consider the job, the home, the financial life, the creative life, the sex life, and so much more.

I start with questions like:

* Are you having enough fun in your life?

* Do you have creative outlets?

* Are you learning new things?

* Do you have meaningful relationships?

* Do you have a spiritual practice of any kind?

* Is sex something you enjoy or has it become a chore?

Now it’s your turn. Take a moment and really evaluate the questions on the “What’s going on with ME?” worksheet that follows. What do you notice while filling this out?

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What’s Going On With Me?

Rate each area in your life with a 1, 2, or 3

1 = This area sucks and is in desperate need of an overhaul.
2 = This area is doing OK but could use some tweaks.
3 = This area is freakin’ amazing!

First rate each statement with a 1, 2, or 3. Then a goal of THOSE
STATEMENTS THAT HAVE #1 next to it. These are areas that badly
need your attention. When our needs are not being met, we often
turn to food to compensate.|

I have plenty of fun in my life1 2 3 

I have ways to regularly express my creativity
1 2 3 

My job (including being a mom) is going well
1 2 3 

I learn new things continually

1 2 3

My closest relationships feel healthy

1 2 3

I eat healthy foods most of the time

1 2 3

I make time for tranquility

1 2 3

Exercise is a regular part of my life

1 2 3

I have used my stove in the last week

1 2 3

I feel financially stable

1 2 3

Sleep is a non-negotiable

1 2 3

I have an active social life

1 2 3

I am satisfied with my sex life

1 2 3

Overall, my health is pretty good

1 2 3

I have some form of a spiritual practice

1 2 3

My clutter is under control

1 2 3

I count on myself to feel happy

1 2 3

I am pursuing at least one of my dreams

1 2 3

I practice self-care

1 2 3

Water is my drink of choice

1 2 3

I like to jump out of my comfort zone

1 2 3

I have clear purpose in my life

1 2 3


Connecting the Dots... and the Numbers

Are you seeing areas of your life that you have ignored? Are you already connecting some new dots?

When I do this exercise with my clients, the issues that come up are so widespread:

I realize that I’m eating in secret because my husband makes me feel...


I am eating non-stop because my job makes me feel...


I am eating Hershey bars because my clutter is making me feel...

Other clients discover that they use food or alcohol to calm down after a tough day. They’re often in the thick of career building, raising kids, or caregiving for elderly parents.

Some of my clients are very social so they find that they’re eating out all the time and they feel a kind of peer pressure to drink alcohol often to keep up in the company of their friends.

Some people I work with have really stressful jobs with no time for themselves and if they remember to eat at all, they’re doing it on the run or making up for missing meals by eating a huge one at the end of the day just before they go to bed.

Others are dealing with illness and that’s often compounded with a feeling of failure around how they use food and carry weight. And others, still, who can’t stick to an exercise routine, hate to cook, or get frustrated with picky eaters in the house and just sort of give in to pizza or frozen food.

Once we put on our detective caps and identify the foundational life issues that are affecting our eating, we can come up with creative strategies to work with them and change our behavior patterns so that we can get the results that we really want.

Here are some client examples where we identified the issue and the results that ensued.

Ellen Snacked All Afternoon

Ellen realized that she was starved creatively. As an art minor in college, she had always considered the school’s art studio her place to unwind and de-stress. Years later, as a busy working mom, Ellen was more concerned with deadlines and homework assignments than watercolor or acrylics.

During one of our early sessions, Ellen took a big picture look into her life and decided that she needed a creative outlet and was going to sign up for an art class one afternoon per week. Much to her surprise, unlike most days where she snacked continually, on the days that she was at the studio she never once thought about food. Ellen was able to connect the dots and determine that she was way hungrier for creative expression than any snack in her pantry.

Debra Mini-Binged at Midnight

Debra completed the assignment and immediately realized that she was not having enough fun in her life. Each night, she would sneak into the kitchen for a mini-binge simply because it made her feel like a “bad girl,” rather than the good girl she felt she had become. In her younger days, she loved to go out dancing and partying with her friends but felt like she was past that stage in her life.

In our session, we brainstormed ways that she could feel like a “bad girl” without involving food and realized that a weekly pole dancing class would do the trick just fine. By connecting her dots, Debra was able to easily trade a midnight eating habit for some active “bad girl” fun that made her feel incredibly sexy and alive.

Kathy Had a Take-Out Track Record

Kathy, a CEO with two boys and a husband, realized that she had gotten in the habit of take-out food for dinner each night because she was too exhausted to think about food preparation after a long day at work. Not only was this impacting her weight but also she was feeling guilty that she wasn’t providing her family with the best nutrition possible. We brainstormed and came up with the idea of hiring someone to come cook a few meals at the family home.

At first, Kathy felt very uncomfortable with the idea. She grew up in a working class world and felt that hiring a cook would be a spoiled, “rich person” thing to do. Although Kathy had no issues with delegating projects at work, she struggled at home. Once she realized that she was already delegating tasks to others such as mowing her lawn or picking her son up from school, she was able to reframe her beliefs on hiring the help she needed and began to give her family the benefits of fresh, healthy dinners.

Ricki Needed Sweetness in Her Life

Ricki, an accountant, came to me wanting to keep accountable with her diet to lose a few pounds. Noticing that she was very, very thin already, I also learned that she was eating way too much sugar on a daily basis.

In our coaching sessions, I learned that she had recently given up soda, cigarettes and alcohol in order to be a good role model for her kids but was still hooked on sweets. I explained to Ricki that if she ate a simple, healthy meal rather than a candy bar at lunchtime, she would feel so much better, be treating her body with more respect, and eventually reduce her sugar cravings.

In desperation she sighed and said, “If I don’t eat candy every day, what’s left in life? I will have given up everything!” We talked about how other areas of her life might provide the sweetness and fulfillment that she was looking for but she wasn’t interested in exploring anything deeper than the ice cream container. Needless to say, we did not make much progress.

The reason I am sharing Ricki’s story with you is because it illustrates an important point. No matter who you enlist to help you in your life challenges, you are the one who is responsible for your own transformation. Coaches, teachers, and mentors can guide you, encourage you and teach you, but it is up to YOU to make it happen. Ricki was not willing put in the effort and, consequently, neither of us were satisfied with the results.

Assignment: What Areas in Your Life Need More Attention?

Take a look at all the big areas of your life and pay attention to which ones are not getting enough attention. Are you spiritually deprived? Hating your job? Yearning for creative outlets? Based on the goals from the previous worksheet, what dots can you connect in your own life? How are these issues affecting your eating patterns?

Write down the top three issues that you think are affecting you and let’s take action RIGHT NOW. Call your friends and start finding a good time for a girl’s night out. Pick up the phone and book a massage. Plan a date night. Get outside and go for a walk.

The more joy you add to your calendar, the more you have to look forward to and the less you will crave food as a substitute.

©2015 by Lisa Lewtan.
Reprinted with permission of the author.

Article Source

Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed!: Calm Down, Ditch Your Inner-Critic Bitch, and Finally Figure Out What Your Body Needs to Thrive by Lisa Lewtan.Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed!: Calm Down, Ditch Your Inner-Critic Bitch, and Finally Figure Out What Your Body Needs to Thrive
by Lisa Lewtan.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.

About the Author

Lisa LewtanLisa Lewtan is a Healthy Living Strategist and founder of Healthy, Happy, and Hip, which provides one-on-one coaching, workshops, retreats, and support groups for clients. Her new book, Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed (2015) provides tools to help highly successful Superwomen to slow down, chill out, develop a better relationship with food, and feel great. Her articles have been featured in numerous publications, including The Huffington Post, Better After 50, and MindBodyGreen. Learn more at www.HealthyHappyandHip.com.

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