NO! You will not take my picture

It is time to get serious. Down to business. I need to ensure my physique is in optimal condition.

Why?

As I develop my website and business – I need to do a photo shoot.

Why?

Because I am the product I am selling. Not because I want to be – but because that is how it works.

I hate pictures

Some of the difficulty with this is that I am incredibly self-conscious. I hate pictures in general – let alone a photo shoot?!?!?? I am not concerned that the camera adds 10 pounds, but I do want to look fit. Okay I lied, I want to look ripped. But I also want to look real. So do I put on my game face or do I smile and have fun? Regardless, I am concerned with my arms looking muscular instead of fat. I want that definition. I want to present an image of a strong woman. A healthy physique but still a real woman.

Will my muscle intimidate? My mass is natural with my activity. There will be no bare stomach in my pictures – not my greatest asset. Would showing my weak spot increase my vulnerability and make me more marketable – I ask myself?

Opportunity for personal growth

Everyday is an opportunity for personal growth. Every day is an opportunity to tackle fear. Building a business – designed to guide others through personal growth – is growing me in unimaginable ways. I had not given thought to the fact that I would be marketing myself in pictures and videos. However, I believe this is a healthy step forward in my self-acceptance and breaking my self-consciousness.

How do you grow from day to day?

The bottomline

I am conquering another fear, of sorts. Along with this, I have provided myself with an amazingly powerful motivator to help me combat my desires to binge. I prefer to have something to work for – that extrinsic motivator keeps me on task.

How do you tackle fear?

What motivates you?

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When foods are triggers

I believe we all have them – we just may not be aware of them: Trigger foods. These are foods that lead us to eat mindlessly, to binge or simply overeat, to eat without ever feeling satiated (or satisfied), or to restrict eating. I became aware of a trigger food for myself last week: Starburst Jelly Beans.

Danger!

I have known that I LOVE Starburst Jelly Beans. They are the only jelly beans I like and they have become my favorite springtime treat. When I saw the Fave Reds in the store – I just had to pick some up. The problem? I am not able to eat them in moderation. The jelly beans – I know now – are a trigger food for me. (I should know that red means danger!)

Emotional eating triggers

Not the topic of this post but worth mentioning are situational triggers. These are the triggers we are most familiar with and most often encouraged to identify. Examples of these triggers include:

  1. A bad day at the office or at home
  2. An argument with a loved one or friend
  3. Tiredness/exhaustion
  4. Not feeling physically well

Identifying trigger foods

It is not always as easy as it may seem to identify trigger foods. Sure, some of us know it is chocolate, or chips. But what about dairy? Or how about coffee – do you always need something sweet in addition to your hot coffee? This might be a trigger.

In order to manage your triggers (food or situational), you first have to know what type of eater you have become. There are several types of eaters: Mindful eaters, mindless dieters, mindless over-eaters, mindless under-eaters, and chaotic eaters. This is a commonly used checklist to help you identify what type of eater you are.

Check all that apply:

Mindful Eater
All foods in some moderation. Flexible about eating
Student of nutrition.  Aware of nutritional needs. Able to meet body’s needs
In touch with physical body and body’s needs—hunger, fullness
Eats when hungry and stops when full
Nonjudgmental of self, redirects thoughts to positive thoughts, accepting of body
Understands the impact of food on health and well-being
Enjoys food but not obsessed
Only eats mindlessly on occasion
Recovers quickly when mindless eating does occur
Mindless Dieter
Has tried multiple yo-yo type diets.  Fad follower
Spends money on different diets
Feels really guilty when eating poorly
Ignores that taste of diet food—it is eating that matters
Has a ”hard to obtain” body image and feels bad about not having it
Studies food labels and tries to follow “food rules” (not nearly 100%)
Mindless Overeater
Yo-Yo Club Star Member
Ups and downs in weight
Eats until miserable.
Aware of being full but keeps eating anyway
Picks at foods without true enjoyment
Feels out of control and unable to stop
Has intense food cravings – gotta have it!
Tries to eat alone—feels embarrassed
Uses food to comfort self
Uses food to maintain pleasant feelings
Specific food cravings
Often eats alone
Mindless Undereater
Skimps on nutritional needs
Obsessed about calories, fat grams, and other single components of food
Worries a lot about weight
Has high self-image when hungry
Isolates self instead of eating with others—has an excuse not to go to lunch
Fears loss of control
Desires perfection—always trying to obtains
Eliminates certain food groups to save on calories
Mindless Chaotic Eater
May purge to compensate for overeating
Has major swings in weight
Will make large purchases of food and will restrain from eating—perceived binge
Make over exercise to make up for overeating
Thinks critically about self
Uses food to cope with negative self-image
Uses food to “tune out” or “numb out”
Feels empty or lonely a majority of the time
Eats while multi-tasking
Seldom feels full

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is critical to identifying triggers. Are you prone to bingeing only on chips? Chips may be a trigger food. This could be ANYTHING for anyone. Trigger foods are usually sweet or salty – as these most significantly effect the rewards center of your brain.

Need help with mindful eating? I recommend tracking your food and I especially love the Recovery Record.

The bottomline

Yes, undesirable eating behaviors – undereating or overeating – are often preceded by emotional situations or triggers. But sometimes, the foods themselves can be a trigger to start eating and not stop. It is also important to note that these are not always unhealthy foods. For example, peanut butter is a trigger food for me and I must be incredibly mindful when I consume it.

Do you have trigger foods?

Recovering from binge eating

I am a recovering binge eater. I say recoverING rather than recovered because it is a weekly – sometimes daily – battle. I believe it will be a long battle. I have been shrugged off and disregarded when sharing this fact with others – being told that I am fine and there is nothing. Please know, this rejection is the worst reaction you can ever have to someone who is forthcoming about such behaviors. Luckily, I am excessively independent and this didn’t effect me in anyway other than temporarily reducing my desire to increase my interdependence (which is critical to becoming a highly effective individual according to Stephen Covey).

Coming from a long ancestral line of addicts known for episodes of binge drinking – I am genetically susceptible to addiction. This is not an excuse, this is a heightened awareness of what to watch for. After a period of binge drinking – and developing a fear of becoming an alcoholic – I eventually replaced alcohol with food. You might say, but you are not overweight. I once was. Further, my binges did not occur every day (though there were periods of consecutive days) and I maintain an incredibly high level of physical activity (often compensatory).

Food = comfort

My most frequent binges occur when I am under the most stress. I eat for comfort. I eat because it was one thing that I still had complete control over when I feel like everything else around me is falling apart. I eat because food tastes good. I eat to stay awake to get through work demands. I eat for the temporary benefits of increased energy and improved mood. Some individuals might now say that I have shifted to finding comfort with coffee – I may assess this at a later date! I did come to realize that I binged for comfort and I was not satisfied with this behavior, not at all.

Do you eat for comfort? Is it excessive?

Awareness

How do you stop an undesirable behavior? First, you need to be aware of the behavior. Second, you have to want to change. For a long time, I had no idea that I was bingeing – because in today’s society binges have become a norm and many individuals even binge at every meal. It was when my mind began towards thoughts of compensatory behaviors – specifically purging – thatI knew something had to change. I sought professional help – while this may not be necessary for everyone and I am not promoting it as such.

Are you aware of existing problematic eating behaviors?

Environment & triggers

My most dangerous times are periods of sadness. Specifically when I am disappointed in myself or life. Sometimes this is the result of comments other people make – but more often than not it is the result of my negative self-talk. Therefore, it is critical to catch these negative thoughts early, before they can dwell in my brain and set themselves as real. I use a dysfunctional thought record (DTR) to monitor these thoughts on a semi-regular basis.

Another trigger for me is hunger – I cannot let myself become hungry. This is one reason I tend to gain weight when training for endurance running – it makes me hungry. If I allow myself to reach the point of stomach grumbling, it is likely that I will excessively eat.

Do you know your triggers?

Self-monitoring

I tell all of my clients – log your food. Write down everything you eat. EVERYTHING. Often times, writing down everything you eat can be enough to increase your awareness and ultimately change problematic eating behaviors. It can be enlightening to see on paper exactly what you eat. Other times, simply writing it down is not enough.

There are numerous additions and modifications that can be made to a food log. Struggling with compensatory behaviors? Begin tracking the engaging in and thoughts of performing these behaviors within your food log – it is important to know the time it occurs and what you may have eaten as either or both can be triggers.

I like hand writing my food log – as opposed to using an app or online system – because I can add whatever I want. I astrick any consumption that I feel is excessive. I highlight anything that I perceive to be a binge.

Other things to monitor include but are not limited to:

  • Context – where did you eat and who were you with?
  • Mood (& feelings) – what was your mood prior to eating?
  • Thoughts – what were your thoughts prior to, during, and after eating?
  • Physical pain & illness – did you have a headache, sore muscles, a cold, etc?
  • Weather – Sunny or cloudy? Warm or cold? Humid or dry?

I recently wrote about the Recovery Record app, which allows you to track all of these factors and more! I find this app to be one of the best and most useful I have ever seen. And best of all, it does not track calories (unless YOU do it independently). I do not promote tracking caloric intake nor expenditure.

The bottomline

Often times, what you eat is not the determining factor of weight loss or maintenance. When and how much, along with your psychological state, can significantly effect digestive processes and your ongoing psychological state. External and internal stressors have a powerful impact on our eating behaviors.

Further – you cannot spot a binge eater. They come in all shapes, sizes, and socioeconomic backgrounds. There are more of us out there than you may suspect. Be kind to those who express concern with eating – because more than likely there is something going on inside.

For those who may suffer from binge eating – you are not alone. This does not make it easier, but it is always nice to know when you are not alone.

Yours in health,

Becca Rose

Make peace with food – GOAL 4

I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I have tendencies towards emotional eating and binge eating. I cannot tell you the last time I had a serious bingeing episode – it has been more than six months but less than a year. But I work at it! Distractions, such as reading my Bible or other texts, appear to work the best for me. Unfortunately, emotional eating – such as gravitating towards unhealthy comfort foods or mindless munching – is a regular occurrence.

GOAL 4 – Make peace with food

In 2013, I will increase mindfulness and implement the use of old or new habits in place of emotional eating behaviors. I will find comfort in life! Certainly not the most well thought through of my goals, and I will work on that. One strategy will be to utilize real-time self-monitoring to track not only my dietary intake; but also, my associated thoughts and feelings.

Any suggestions? I’m all ears!