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How I am tackling stress eating and have included an ‘ indulgence self care’ night once a week

I know I’m not the only one that will come home from uni/work/school, tired, irritable and HUNGRY ….but wait are you actually hungry? hmmmm…. nope but you're tired and like ughhhhh so you want food. Or you've had a stressful and BIG ass day so as you are watching TV that night, you just want something yummy to snack on too. My favourite is definitely toasted coconut chips, my homemade chocolate or coconut butter. Whatever your snack is (as long as it is healthy), I got your back sista. Truth is, this happens to me sometimes. Once I hit that couch after a seriously exhausting day at uni and I’m stressed and tired, I just want to eat something yummy and nibble-y and crash big time. BUT the problem is, that once I’ve eaten half a bag of coconut chips, I go to bed feeling full and yucky…and worse - I hate myself for doing that! hate myself for doing that! I feel guilty and resent what I just chose to do. SO! I am taking action. Whilst I go through phases of good times, and restricting myself to not being allowed to snack after dinner for 2, or 3 weeks….You just make yourself want it more and when that ‘date’ comes that you said you could treat yourself, you end up going all out….then you feel guilty, and then the WHOLE CYCLE CONTINUES. I have knuckled down on figuring out my ‘why’. That is, finding out WHY is it that I occasionally turn to the snacks after dinner, and HOW I can reduce this.

So, the WHY = stress, tired, grumpy.

and HOW am I going to resolve this? Well with figuring out that stress and being tired are the major culprits, I know that I need to do something that will help to reduce my stress and help me feel more at one with my body and just relax a bit. Thursdays are HUGE days at uni for me. An early start and a late finish so I come home and am ready to eat a horse and chase the rider. This is what I'm doing to reduce that:
  • come home —> legs up the wall—> 5 mins medi (or legs up wall AND 5 mins medi at the same time)—> have a shower before dinner—> have a big dinner, eat mindfully and make sure I leave the table full.
REASONING: Legs up the wall calms your nervous system and helps your body enter into a state of relaxation. It is incredibly detoxifying. My 5 mins medi helps me to calm down, relax and de-stress from my big day. I am able to re-connect my mind, body and spirit and ground myself. My thoughts are clearer and I am more in tune with my body. This, therefore, reduces my want to flop on the sofa and eat coconut chips all night long. Having a big dinner also reduces the need to nibble on anything before I go to bed. If I finish dinner and am not satisfied then an hour or 2 later I’ll want food and then it just goes downhill from there. Filling myself up at dinner with tonnes of veggies and fats reduces any cravings Friday night is my ‘indulgence in self-care’ night or my ‘mindful cleanse’ as I like to call it. While it is my ‘indulgence’ night…I don’t want you thinking I am indulging in fast food or junk. Everything I eat is always doing something beneficial for my body whether I am indulging or not. My ‘indulgence’ just includes something after dinner that I wouldn't normally have and it is more for my mental wellbeing that anything.
After a busy and exhausting week, you deserve to be able to sit on the sofa, watch your favourite show and eat one of your favourite foods without ANY shame.
If you feel as though you can’t do this, then there are deeper issues affecting your relationship with food. Don’t ever feel guilty about what you eat because it is YOUR CHOICE what you put in your mouth and you have the power to make every meal nourishing and those that are not so nourishing, eat mindfully, with ease and ENJOY and SAVOUR it! It’s special! Now, before I dive into my Friday night taste bud party, I have put in place a routine I do when I come home to wind down and again (like Thursday) make more mindful choices around food. Doing these things helps me to stop at one small bowl of toasted coconut chips with a drizzle of homemade raw chocolate, rather than having 3. Plus, I go to bed with NO GUILT for having indulged because I made the decision mindfully and in a clear mental state. I wasn’t stressed, tired or grumpy. I was calm, relaxed and my mind was clear. If I am stressed, tired or grumpy then I don't allow myself to have my indulgence, and I'll have it Saturday night instead. Friday nights: come home—> shower—> legs up the wall and meditate at the same time —> dinner (again have a dinner where I finish being FULL…this means I can fit less of my ‘mindful cleanse’ into my tummy hehe)—-> make snack—> pack up the snack straight after I have finished making it—> tea for the rest of the night Reasoning: Shower - It helps me to literally wash off the day. If bad things have happened, they have been washed off me. It is refreshing and a very calming thing to do when you get home to clear your mind. Legs up the wall/meditate - same as Thursday Dinner- again same as Thursday and by having a big dinner I am less likely to eat more of my indulgence because I am already satisfied from dinner. Whereas if I was to have a small dinner, I then am able to have more of my treat and get carried away Pack up straight after - this is to reduce me going and making more. If it is already clean and tidy I’m less likely to go make a mess again Tea - I love to enjoy tea every night and so after my treat, I’ll do just that! Also, another KEY thing that you must keep in mind. The more you say to yourself “I can’t have that” or “no, I said I wasn’t allow that until next week” or “that will make my fat” or “no I shouldn't have that” you will want it MORE!!!!! It’s human nature for you to rebel when someone says ‘no’. This is including when you say no to yourself. INSTEAD: I want you to say ‘I could have some, but in 5 minutes” (chances are your craving will go away, you'll forget or you’ll get sidetracked” or “I’ll get some in a sec, I can’t be bothered” or “I don't really feel like any” …I find all of these affirmations much more helpful when you know that you have had enough food and are just having an annoying craving (we all get them!) I hope this routine may help you also reduce any stress eating habit you have. Give it a go and let me know! x