I tackle this subject today because I feel the need to bring it to light especially when it might not otherwise be discussed. Often times it is easy to notice that you or someone you care about has a problem with x substance (think: alcohol) but it can be harder to notice that you or your loved one are leaning on food as a crutch or using it in, an unknowingly abusive, way to your body by consuming too much or at times, even too little.
Eating when we are not physically hungry is called emotional eating and each of us experience it to some degree. Put another way, “emotional eating is eating in response to something other than hunger. Often times people eat out of stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and happiness. “ (https://www.sharecare.com/health/emotional-eating/what-is-emotional-eating) For example, we go to a birthday party and enjoy a piece of cake or we feel extremely happy about good news we received so we decide to treat ourselves - despite feeling hungry or not - with a yummy bite. In this sense, emotional eating can and does happen to each of us.
While this habit and behavior is nothing to be ashamed of it is one that is usually brushed under the rug to not really be discussed. I am writing about this subject in part because I am quite familiar with it meaning I have dealt with it and from time to time, I have needed to remind myself the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. Whether eating to feel “social” (whatever that means!) or eating because you simply are distracting yourself from how you are truly feeling, I have experienced it. Another reason I bring this topic to light is to help you bring awareness to your own habits and behaviors for I am a firm believer that in sharing what we have learned in our experience, including during our struggles, we can help someone who might be going through the same thing.
Looking at the table below, The Eight Traits of Emotional Hunger, it becomes quite clear what is Emotional Hunger versus what is Physical Hunger. If it is something you want to remind yourself of, I encourage you to take a few minutes to study it and familiarize yourself with it. Again, we are focusing on the awareness and having awareness of when we are feeling emotionally hungry and physically hungry - we are not creating judgments in this space!
When we can recognize the difference between the two, it becomes much easier to distinguish what our feelings are and more specifically, what emotions we are experiencing. Reaching for food or fueling our emotional hunger might seem like the easiest choice in the moment but we each know it really does not further our true ambitions and desires. When we are not tuned into our physical needs, we might be eating the healthiest ingredients and/or dish on the planet. However, it is still a response to emotional hunger and not physical hunger.
In challenging you to become aware of your emotional and physical hunger, I also challenge myself to stay awake, aware, and tuned into all of the emotions that come and go throughout the day. By doing this it becomes easier to recognize what we are experiencing and feeling. Even if you are feeling desperate for X (whatever your specific craving might be), remember that you have tools at your disposal to utilize that will help you become more aware so that you are not pushing away from or even avoiding certain emotions when choosing to eat in response to emotional hunger versus physical hunger.
Tools to utilize:
Follow your breathe. In the moment, this might seem like the last thing you want to do but try it out. Give yourself the space and time to breath deeply - inhaling and exhaling - for ten counts.
Make yourself a cup of tea. Boil the water. Prepare the tea and make a ritual out of. Holding the cup in your hands, feel the warmth of the cup. Inhale the aroma of the tea.
Write down how you are feeling. This is an opportunity to become extremely intimate and honest with yourself and it does not need to take much time. Simply take a scrap piece of paper and write exactly how you are feeling. Are you feeling tired? Do you need a break? In writing, your feelings will be shown to you and then you can understand the thought process behind wanting to reach for X.
Take some fresh air. Excuse yourself from wherever you might be and go outside or to an open window to breath in some fresh air. Giving yourself these moments of fresh air can be invaluable especially when you are on the cusp.
Get moving. If possible, go for a short walk. Sometimes a brief change of scenery is just what we need.
I concede that the following five tools are not completely comprehensive. However, I believe them to be extremely useful when, after cultivating an awareness about habits and behaviors, we are learning ways to alter our experience and not emotionally eat.
Do let me know by commenting below if you have experience with this and the best way you have dealt with it.
Love & light!
Having been exposed to a bit of our beautiful planet by plane, train, ship, canoe, kayak, car, bike, or solely my legs, both personally and professionally, I have learned a few tidbits that might make your journey a bit more comfortable and even save you from having to spend unnecessarily.
While I do not claim to be an expert or know everything when it comes to healthfully transporting myself and my belongings, I was recently bestowed the title “professional traveler” by a dear friend of mine. So this one is for you, B, as well as anyone who is curious about ways to ease travel professionally and personally and infuse their next journey with a few of my favorite practices.
Carry an empty glass or stainless steel water bottle with you so that you can fill it up once you pass security. In the airports I typically depart from I have a routine where I usually go straight to the water fountain after I pass through security. This saves $$, time, as well as can be said to be more environmentally friendly as you are not purchasing a plastic water bottle but are instead refilling your reusable bottle. Remember, if you ask politely the flight attendants will more often that not fill up your bottle if you get low during a flight.
Wear/pack your most comfortable walking shoes. If you will need to dress up during your trip either for a business function or for an event, make sure to pack comfortable "fancy" shoes that can withstand more than the few steps you anticipate taking. Wearing uncomfortable shoes can most certainly be in the way of staying completely present and enjoying your new surroundings, especially if you will be walking a lot. It might not be the time to try out your “cutest” uncomfortable new shoes. This almost always leads to frustration, blisters, and discomfort. Not to mention it might be annoying to your fellow travel companions as they will hear about it from you!
Invest in compression socks. It might sound a bit cuckoo but they help increase circulation in your legs, reduce the risk of swelling, and in the prevention of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and blood clotting especially when you are flying longer than three hours. If anyone takes a second glance at you putting them on, smile and feel good knowing you are helping your circulation.
Be mindful of your tummy. In the past when flying transatlantic, more often than not, I would arrive to my destination with so much joy and excitement while at the same time quite uncomfortable with an unexplainable bloated belly and the need to lie down. It was a bit embarrassing to say the least! Although I experimented numerous times, I never ate the same thing therefore I could never isolate what was hurting my tummy until one time I ate quite light, I semi- fasted, and I arrived feeling great with no bloat and need to be horizontal. What a relief! While recommending to fast during a long journey might be a bit much with your individual circumstances, I do recommend tuning into your body and seeing how best you can support yourself throughout whether with lighter food, more water, less caffeine, etc., etc.
In continuation of number four, always be sure to pack plenty of snacks that you like! You never know whether or not you will be delayed at an airport and if so, for how long plus airports tend to be quite pricey. Also, remember that most airlines give you the option to request a vegetarian meal if that is what you would like. Just remember to file your request prior to 24 hours of your departure time. I have found the following snacks easy to transport and munch on:
Protein bar (no or low sugar!)
Instant miso soup (ask for hot water at any coffee shop for a warming snack)
Move as much as you can. Planning ahead by choosing the aisle seat or having a long layover sets you up for many opportunities to get moving. Whether you walk from terminal to terminal or you get up on the airplane to stretch, make sure to do it. Your entire body will be relieved and will silently be saying “Thank you! It has been a while since I moved around!” When you land at your destination, if at all possible, try to aim for at least a 20 to 30 minute walk outside. This will help you feel a bit calmer and “grounded” so to speak. Also, feel free to pack an exercise mat with you, especially if you will be on the road for a few days. It feels so good to stretch out after a long day of being on the go. Light weight and easy to transport, I recommend this mat for travel.
Make sure you pack a cosy scarf. It is even better if it can be worn with the majority of your outfits. This habit has been cultivated over the years and is one that one of my older brothers always giggles and comments about. He doesn’t laugh about the scarf per se but what can be done with the scarf! Tee-peeing or making a teepee with your scarf to ensure that you are blocking as much light as possible so that you can comfortably fall asleep and rest en route is essential. If you forget your scarf, an airplane blanket can do but it is always recommendable to have a scarf especially when you feel a little cold at a business function and/or event.
The above are but a few ways I continue to move about both professionally and personally while supporting myself in feeling my best! How do you stay well and at ease while traveling?
Studying for the bar? Join me this Saturday, see your invitation just below.
This presentation focuses on the non-black letter law essentials for passing the bar and I will be talking about the importance of the following:
- practicing self-care,
- stress management,
- mindfulness, and
as you continue to study hard and prepare yourself for the bar exam.
Together with the ICE Foundation, and, specifically, G.C. Murray we are creating a lively, light, and fun space to discuss the above topics (which also happen to be extremely close to my heart). Practical tips will be shared and I will speak a little about my experience preparing for the Florida bar - yes, all three times - and I am certain it will bring a smile to your face :)
So I invite you to take a little study break, make yourself a cup of tea or a smoothie (coffee - anything you like!), and tune in!
I look forward to seeing you there.
All of these pictures were taken directly by me during and throughout my prep experience.
Self-care is an essential practice in my life day in and day out. To me, it encompasses my habits, attitude, activities, and the way that I carry myself. If I feel run down or overwhelmed I am careful to amend my schedule or take time for myself so that I can recharge and show up my best.
While more and more self-love can be cultivated from self-care we must be mindful of our attitude towards ourselves. Whether we are internally criticizing the way X looks or comparing ourselves to others, we must be mindful and not judge ourselves when we are having these thoughts. We must recognize them, like clouds in the sky, and direct our attention towards something else, something that will make us feel confident, strong, and happy.
The mind and body are inextricably intertwined - even in ways that we fail to yet understand! Despite being aware of that connection, however, this internal connection sometimes becomes blurry. We might feel that our heads are running the show 99% of the time and our bodies 1% of the time. No matter what your individual ratio is at the present moment and from day to day, I am an advocate of “continual maintenance” i.e. touching base with your beautiful self daily by following your breathe, feeling the sensations in your body, and also tuning into your tummy. Together they can say so much and, properly directed, will bring positive results for your overall wellbeing!
The following practices will strengthen the “pathway” between the mind and body and will naturally leave you feeling more at ease and at peace in your mind and body.
1. Find a quiet space. If you are at work, take a few minutes and find a space outside in the fresh air or, if you are to able, even a forward bend in the bathroom stall will work! Find a place where you will not be easily disturbed or disrupted and come to a seated position with your legs and arms uncrossed. Take a deep breathe in and fill your belly and keep your eyes open or closed. After the inhale, pause at the top, and then slowly exhale. If you want to really let go – exhale through your mouth, counting to 10. Repeat, ideally, for 10 breathes. Imagine your breathe entering in your nose and going down into your belly and alternatively, flowing up your body and out through your nose.
2. During the day - even if you are busy and especially if you are busy – find a moment to ask yourself: How am I feeling in my body? Am I tense? Am I relaxed? Am I impatient? Regardlesss of your answer, take a moment to reflect on what actions, thoughts, and/or behaviors took your body to this sensation or feeling. Be sure not to make any judgments about what took you there - good or bad. The point is to cultivate awareness so that the more you ask yourself/touch base with yourself the easier it is for you to learn by experience and then you will be able to make adjustments in your thoughts, actions, and behaviors so that you can maintain a calming and peaceful presence.
3. Do a few forward bends. Start by reaching up toward the sky, your fingers leading your entire body up, including your gaze. Stretch through your fingertips. Once you have reached as far up as you can, slowly bend forward, exhaling as you release forward. Hang there - noticing your breathe and all sensations in your body. Place your hands on alternative elbows and slowly rock side to side. Let your head relax completely.
I hope these simple and loving practices will bring your mind and body into a continuum of calm, peace, and tranquility as they have for me.