Posts filed under Habit Changes

“The Way You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything” - Why Healing your Relationship with Food will Affect Other Aspects of your Life

Have you ever heard the quote that “The way a person does one thing is the way they do everything?”  In other words, how one approaches any facet of life can be a good indication of how they approach other facets of life.  

I find resonance with this quote myself. I find that if I’m being a procrastinator, sleeping in late, and missing on my calendar commitments to myself, I’m usually putting of bigger important things that are keeping me stuck.  If my apartment is a cluttered mess, I usually find that my schedule is overcommitted where I’ve spent the week running around feeling chaotic. Or if I’m not following through on my commitment to exercise in the mornings, then this pattern of not keeping my commitments and finishing projects is manifesting in other parts of life like at work, my personal goals, and more.

I love this quote because it reminds me that everything in life is connected.  It also reminds me that even if external results (weight loss, new job, a new partner, etc.) are not directly under our control, the internal choice of WHO we are choosing to be and HOW we are choosing to express that in any moment is within our control.  After all, regardless of the place or situation, you are the common denominator in these experiences. Wherever you go, there you are, right?

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In this same mind, I find that as we prioritize our self-care and healing our relationships with food, this soon spills over to other parts of our life.  One of my recent clients had a relationship food which reflected her overall sense of feeling stagnant in life. This sentiment reflected in her career where she felt bored and unfulfilled and also in her relationship with food where on weekends at home she’d often use food to fill the void.  But after really tuning into what was important to her, she began to develop a habit of follow through and focus as she began to prioritize her healthy eating and exercise. By the end of our work together, not only did she start eating more mindfully, she also asked for and received a raise in a job she was passionate about.

Another of my clients was binging multiple times a week and reported feeling so lonely and ashamed after the occurrences.  In our work together, she began to develop more kindness and forgiveness with herself after her binges. In doing so, naturally the binges began to lessen and she found herself showing up as more open and kind in other areas of life.  In her relationships, she also began inviting people to see more of who she was and get closer in relationship.

So I’m curious what this article sparks in you.  Do you believe that the “way you do one thing is how you do everything?”  If so, where are these patterns in life is this serving you? Where are these patterns holding you back?  Now that you know, what will you choose to do about it? :)

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback below!  Know you are so worth it.



Why I Threw Out My Scale (Plus 3 More Gentle Ways to Measure Progress as You Heal Your Relationship with Food)

Earlier this year, I was reenergized to clean up my apartment by watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up” with Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo.  If you’ve ever spent time decluttering, you’d know that the hardest thing can be getting rid of the things to which we have emotional attachment.

To counteract this phenomena, Marie has her clients do one two things:

1) Pick up the item and hold it in their hands

2) Ask themselves: “Does this bring me joy?”

I love this question because a simple “Yes” or “No” answer helps you bypass the emotional attachment to make a clear decision on whether or not to keep something.

As I picked up the scale that had been sitting in my bathroom for years.  Immediately, I was taken back to the memories I had with this item. For years, when I was dieting and struggling with food, I remember feeling anxious and excited each morning when my my internal dialogue would go something like:

“I’ve been so good this week…. I’m soooo gonna see the numbers go down…. Oh wait, let me pee first so that doesn’t mess up the number”  (If that’s TMI for you, sorry I’m not sorry :P)

From here, one of two things would happen

SCENARIO 1

If the scale went down, I would rejoice!!!  “YES, my efforts are paying off!!”  Then, I’d go through my day feeling proud, confident, and excited.  

SCENARIO 2

  If the scale went up, (which inevitably it would at times due to hormonal fluctuations, water weight, etc.)  I would feel devastated and proclaim to myself: “Why bother?  I’m going to be fat forever!”  The saddest part of this is that this type of thinking would often lead me to eat emotionally.   I was victim to the dieting mentality. Studies do show that dieters can often be triggered to overeat emotionally by having a bad scale day.  What a crazy, insidious cycle!!!

Returning back to the present day, with the scale still in my hand, the clear answer was, “No, this doesn’t bring me joy.”  Since making peace with food and quitting dieting, I also realized that the scale had been collecting dust since I hadn’t even used the scale in a few years…  So into the Goodwill donation box it went...

While the scale can be useful for certain things (weighing your luggage or for people who can be completely objective about the numbers), for me and my clients, it would set off a cycle of self-loathing and sometimes binging.  So if you you are all like me or my clients, I invite you to let go of what’s not working for you and what is not bringing you joy. There plenty of options to measure your progress in a way that is more gentle and useful for the long-term.  

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So if you’re ready to ditch the scale, here are 3 More Gentle Ways to Measure Your Progress

  1. By your choices - Perhaps you decided this week you’d cut your sugar intake in half and did that consistently for the week.  Excellent! That’s amazing progress and will lead to the external results you are looking for. Or perhaps like a client of mine, you practice different mindfulness tools and measure your progress by how often you practice...then soon realize that your binges are getting smaller or have disappeared!

  2. How your clothes feels - Perhaps you have a particular skirt or pair of jeans that is a bit more snug.  You can use this as a more gentle way to check in with how you’re doing in your efforts.

  3. Tune into how your body feels - Weight loss isn’t everything.  After all, have you met people who have lost weight but feel miserable?  After your efforts, do you feel more energetic? More calm minded and centered?  Celebrate those internal wins because they are what will keep you going.  

I’d love to know your thoughts! What tip resonated most with you? Please comment below!

The Connection Between Sleep, Binge Eating & Weight Gain

**BEEP BEEP BEEP**

“UGHH…” I thought to myself… ” After more seconds, my boyfriend then proceeded to climb over me to turn off the alarm that was meant to signal it was time for me to get up.

Even this morning, I had planned to get up early to blog and work on some items for my clients but after realizing the even the caffeine from my boyfriend’s Chai Tea wasn’t helping, I soon realized how sleep deprived I was and that I had been staying up late for combination of things this week, including but not limited to dance classes, hanging out with my boyfriend, watching countless videos on Instagram, and binge watching the entire 3rd season of “Stranger Things” (yes, so guilty here, even coaches have things they can consistently improve upon!)

I know for a fact that when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m less productive with work, make poorer decisions, and find myself in more mind-numbing situations, such as scrolling through Facebook or watching hours of TV.  Lack of sleep just seems to compound on itself… You feel so tired that you’re less efficient, meaning you may stay up later to get something done or get more distracted, and hence continues the cycle of feeling like *SHIT*.  (Also, have you ever thought to yourself, if someone says to you, “You look tired.. That they’re actually saying you look like SHIT?” Anyways, I digress :D ...).

This brings me to my point… I have found that sleep to be one of the keystone habits that set everything else in your life up for success.  Whether you’re cranking it out at the gym, working hard in the office, or taking care of kids, you need sleep. It’s the time our bodies have for rest, rejuvenation and repair.


In fact, when we look at the connection between lack of sleep, binge eating, and weight gain, we find countless anecdotes and studies that show:

  • Lack of sleep increases cravings and and especially for high-calorie foods 

  • Lack of sleep has affects on our mood - which may lead you to overeat, binge, or take it out on your significant other

  • Lack of sleep impacts our effectiveness in everything - our ability to reason, to complete our workouts, and to communicate and be present at work and at home

When I look back on the days, when I personally struggled with nighttime binge eating, I realize how insidious the cycle was.  When I’d stay up late to finish an assignment, I would often use food to keep me company and stay awake. Since my willpower was lower at the end of the day, I would often binge or overeat.  At some point, eating at night became such a habit that even if I didn’t have a good reason to stay up, I would find myself picking from the fridge and (I was embarrassed to say) picking food from my roommates.  Eating late would then disrupt my sleep even set me up to be even more tired and feeling disgusted the next day.

I am so very glad that this pattern is something that does not affect me today.  I would argue that sleep is one of the most important habits to prioritize if you’re looking beat binge eating and improve your eating habits.

So here are my recommendations to improve the quality of your sleep:

  1. Examine your current habits.  Then make your plan to improve your sleep duration and/or quality.

Whenever we want to change something, we first have to understand where we are.  I recommend taking some time to reflect on your current habits. What time do you tend to go to bed?  What are you doing before bedtime? How easy is it for you to fall asleep at night? What time do you tend to get up?  How do you feel in the morning when you get up? Are you energized and alert? Do you wake up without the alarm clock? Or when the alarm goes off do you snooze and roll over?  If it’s the latter, you could use more sleep!

On average, people need anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep; however, we are all different so this would require a bit of experimentation.  I would recommend to start with planning out your bedtime at least 8 hours from the time you wake up, then seeing if after a week if you wake up naturally before or after the alarm clock.  If you find you go to bed at 11, with the plan of waking up at 7 am, but keep waking up at 6:30 am, this probably means your body needs 7.5 hours optimally.

If you find yourself staying up late often and not being able to give yourself the full 8 hours to sleep, I recommend examining why this is happening and what you are doing during this time.  Are you staying up late watching TV, working on assignments for school or work, and/or eating? How is this serving you? Or if it’s not, what might you do to change the situation?

  1. Increase your blue light exposure during the day and decrease it at night.

Blue light is essentially like caffeine for your brain.  The sun is the biggest producer of blue light, so as the sun sets in the evening, it turns on our hormones, specifically melatonin, to signal that it’s time to sleep.  Fast forward to modern day, where we have 24/7 exposure to blue light from our laptops, computers, and televisions, the natural signals that our bodies produce for sleep 

So I recommend spending some time in the sunlight each day to increase your blue light exposure or investing in one of those artificial bright lights, especially if you live in an area with limited sun exposure like Seattle where I currently reside.

At night, turn off you electronics 2 hours before bed time.  You can also look into certain applications that turn off the blue light on your devices.  Lastly, I’m personally experimenting with blue light glasses, which you can put on at dusk to limit your blue light exposure.  (Now that Stranger things is done… I myself will be putting this back into practice)

2.  Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed time

Many people feel uncomfortable and are unable to sleep well if they are too full from eating.  I recommend refraining from eating within 2 hours of bedtime. Some people prefer to go to bed a “little hungry,” while others (including myself) prefer a neutral state (“I’m neither hungry nor full, not really thinking about food”).  Plan out your meals so that you can honor your bedtime.  

If you struggle with night time eating, it’s time to take a look at your eating habits during the day… Are you getting enough food earlier in the day or are you starving yourself and then reaching for whatever you can find in the evening?  

3.  Get moving!  But not too close to bedtime

Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve sleep quality and duration.  However, for some people, exercising too close to bedtime can lead to disrupted sleep (this includes yours truly).  In general, aim to end intense exercise at least 2 before sleep and experiment to find which activities you can do more close to bedtime (perhaps yoga) vs. would be better for earlier in the day.

4.  Create your winding down routine and make it a habit

I find that certain activities riles me up, while others calm me down.  If you’re having issues with getting to bed on time, perhaps it’s time to examine what you’re doing leading up to sleep.  My personal favorite is something I picked up from another coach, which is to read fiction in the evening. I find it’s a nice way to escape the day-to-day care and relax before bedtime.

I’ve also found that meditation at night is a great way to calm my chattering mind down.  In fact, before I discovered meditation, I would often struggle with sleepless nights where my brain was chattering loudly.  Apps like Insight Timer offer free meditations that you can use to calm your mind.

6.  Seek professional help if needed

Seek help from a qualified doctor, therapist, or coach if needed.  You deserve a good night’s rest!

So if you or anyone you know has ever uttered, “Sleep is for the weak!” I think it’s time to challenge those beliefs.  Sleep is for the powerful and the sexy. It sets everything else up for success - so why not sleep your way to the top?  Also, if you’re looking to change your eating habits and beat binge eating, the first steps may just be to get a good night’s rest tonight!


How Loneliness & Isolation Perpetuates the Binge Eating Cycle

 Just as physical hunger is the signal for us to eat, and thirst is the single for us to drink water, loneliness is a signal for us to seek connection.  Unfortunately, what keeps so many people stuck from seeking the connection and support they need is shame.  Shame is the belief that inherently there is something wrong and broken with us and therefore we are unworthy of true love and belonging.  This differs from guilt, which is a signal that we have acted out of alignment of our values. While guilt says we’ve done something bad or wrong (that could be changed), shame insidiously tells us we are bad or wrong.

The cycle so often goes like this for food and so many other addictive-type behaviors:

Feel intense loneliness and shame —> binge eat —> isolate oneself and feel more lonely and shameful —> continue binge eating

I’ve seen from my experience and that of my clients that feeling out-of-control with food in itself is painful.   Add on top of that feeling like you’re alone and the only one struggling with the issue and the experience can be excruciating.

A Brain Science Perspective on Binge Eating + How to Break Free from the Habit

I’m sitting her in a coffee shop where I just enjoyed some tea and a cupcake (gluten-free for me ;), having fully enjoyed experience of eating.  To think, in the past I feared cupcakes and would avoid them at all costs…

Flashback to 2013….I remember a particular morning I woke up, feeling bloated and disgusted with myself.  I had binged the night before going completely mindless with food. For me, binge eating started as an occasional occurrence in middle and high school, but once I started my first year of college, it had become an daily nightmare.  I was in my 4th year of college at the time, which had been incredibly stressful with the number of classes I was taking, trying to balance my extracurriculars and social life, and uncertainty about my future career.

I look back with compassion on the writings of my younger self.  I wish someone could have told her that overcoming binge eating wouldn’t always be a linear process.  There were some days I would learn a new concept or tool and do really well my eating.  “Yes!!! Finally!  I’d tell myself… this is the answer.”  Inevitably, the new “diet high” would wear off and I would be back to where I started.  Then I’d beat myself up and wonder if something was wrong with me or even binge to escape the sense of unworthiness I felt.

Looking back, I wish someone had told me to be gentle with myself.  After all, I was doing my very best.  I wish someone had told me that change and healing isn’t always linear.  At the time, I think it’s something I understood theoretically but didn’t fully embody especially having come from a culture and expectation of “Straight  A’s” all the time.

So let me tell you this, if you struggle with the dieting-binge eating-repeat cycle, there is nothing wrong with you.  You just need a better understanding of yourself and your biology.