April 2011 E-News Contents:
- From Dr. May: Embrace Emotional Eating
- Jeannette's Story: The Missing Puzzle Piece to her Emotional Eating
- Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Retreat
- Links to Dr. Oz segments and latest articles
Reading the Clues to Your Feelings and Needs
Do you eat for emotional reasons? Of course you do—everybody does! Soon after birth we develop powerful emotional connections to feeding, eating, and food. We eat to socialize, nurture, express love, have fun, soothe a hurt, and reward ourselves for a job well done. In our food abundant environment, eating is a readily accessible way to add pleasure to our lives.
Emotional eating only becomes a problem when it’s over-used to cope with or avoid feelings. Jeannette remembers the moment she began to turn to food to deal with her emotions; she shares her story below.
If you feel your emotional connection to food is causing problems for you, these suggestions may help you bring emotional eating back into balance.
From Emotional Eating to Emotional Understanding
- Avoid labeling yourself (or your client) “an emotional eater.” Labels become self-fulfilling prophecies. Instead, identify the behavior since unlike personality characteristics, behaviors can be explored and changed. Examples: emotional eating, eating when I feel stressed, using food for comfort, eating as a form of entertainment, etc. .
- Get back to the basics. To identify emotional triggers, ask “Am I hungry?” whenever you feel like eating. If there are no physical signs of hunger, it’s likely that the urge to eat was triggered by environmental or emotional cues.
- Leave judgment at the door. Guilt and shame feed the eat-repent-repeat cycle and close the door on learning.
- Have compassion for yourself. When you eat for emotional reasons, you are simply trying to take care of yourself. What could you do that might work better?
- Respond instead of react. Realize that a “trigger” is just that—a coping mechanism that you can choose to pull or not. Choose how you'll respond to your triggers instead of reacting automatically.
- Read the need. Your desire to eat when you aren't hungry is a doorway into your underlying feelings and needs.
- Cravings can be clues. The food you crave may give you insight into the underlying emotion or need, i.e. comfort food.
- Avoid labeling emotions as good or bad, or positive or negative. All emotions are information that you can use to better understand your interpretation of an experience and help you recognize your true needs.
- This too shall pass. Ride your emotional waves as if you were floating on a raft. All emotions come and go. It is futile to resist the ones that feel unpleasant; resistance only adds to your discomfort. Likewise, it is pointless to cling to the emotions that feel pleasant; just enjoy them while they last.
- Create a self-care buffer zone. Caring for your body, mind, heart, and spirit builds resilience to the stresses of life. When you practice regular self-care, you will be less likely to turn to food to manage your emotions.
- Ask for help when needed. Reach out to a counselor, coach, pastor, or Am I Hungry? Facilitator to help you understand and cope with emotional eating.
Healthy Emotional Connections to Food
Over the years, I’ve learned to heal the emotional connection to food that wasn't serving my highest good. I've also learned to embrace my healthy emotional relationship with food. When I’m craving chocolate even though I’m not hungry (and sometimes when I am!), I’m probably bored of working at my desk or I'm feeling overwhelmed and in need of a break. I also love the emotional connection of cooking with my chef-husband, dining with my friends and family, and savoring a fabulous piece of chocolate—simply for pleasure!
Eat Mindfully, Live Vibrantly!
Michelle May, M.D.
P.S. This is one of the many topics we’ll explore during our Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Retreat in August. Please join me! Details below.
Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Retreat
Nourish your body, mind, heart, and spirit! Join Am I Hungry? founder Michelle May, M.D. for workshops, mindful eating experiences, mindful movement, and time to relax and restore.
Thursday, Aug. 25 to Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011* at the beautiful Historic COD Ranch in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona.
Read more and register. Space is limited!
*Special Facilitator Track begins Aug. 24th for Am I Hungry? Facilitators and Facilitators-in-Training!
Jeannette's Story: Discovering the Missing Puzzle Piece to Her Emotional Eating
Known as Twiggy throughout high school, Jeannette remembers "the moment I began my struggle with emotional eating. I received some very traumatic news and it felt like a switch was flipped. I began using food for comfort. But I ate when I was happy too. I’d eat two rows of cookies and feel so ashamed. I even started hiding my food.” Read more about how Jeannette discovered the missing puzzle piece to resolving her emotional eating.
Dr. May on Dr. Oz and in other news
Watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 or Book Excerpt
Health Magazine: Emotional Eating
Parent's Magazine: Separate Dinner and Dessert
Maryland Family Doc: Non-restrictive Weight Management
Now@9: Doctor answers questions
Good Morning Arizona: Mindful Eating
More: Dr. May's Press Room
Subscribe to this E-News and read this or past issues online: http://amihungry.com/enews.shtml
Connect with Dr. Michelle May
Press Room: http://www.michellemaymd.com/press-room.shtml
Make Your Meeting Meaningful and Memorable
Michelle shares her powerful approach to creating sustainable healthy lifestyles with health care professionals, corporations, associations, and organizations across the country. She delivers her crucial and timely message with passion, energy, humor, and insight that transforms the way people view eating and physical activity.
In addition to her keynotes and workshops, her popular facilitated mindful eating experiences engage and inspire your participants to make lasting changes that support a vibrant, healthy life.
Please visit www.MichelleMayMD.com for her preview video, keynotes, workshops, NEW Community Keynote Program, and spokesperson or sponsorship information.
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|Where is Michelle?|
April 30, 2011
Valley West Community Hospital Mindful Eating Experience
May 10, 2011
University Physicians Hospital Residency
AAFP AIM-HI Presentation
May 12, 2011
Pennsylvania Bankers Association
Boca Raton, FL
May 14, 2011
1st Annual Applachian Health Summit
May 19-21, 2011
Million Dollar Round Table 2011
June 6, 2011
General Practioners CME Meeting
Rotorua, New Zealand
June 10-13, 2011
National Speakers Association of New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
June 14, 2011
Montana Academy of Family Physicians
Big Sky, Montana
June 24, 2011
AAFP National Conference for Residents and Medical Students
Kansas City, Missouri
July 29, 2011
Cornerstone Working Women
September 19, 2011
Missouri Academy of Family Physicians Conference
November 11-12, 2011
National Eating Disorder Association
Phoenix NEDA Walk
Phoenix Zoo, Arizona
February 26, 2012
Workshops starting soon:
Long Grove, Illinois
St. Louis, Missouri
Durham, North Carolina
Cumberland, Rhode Island
Lake Stevens, Washington
Anywhere by Telephone
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