Do you binge mindlessly only to want to kick yourself afterwards and feel guilty and have feelings of self hate?
The key is to find what triggers you? I know anxiety and stress trigger me… and another HUGE trigger is trying to eat too little.
Awareness is the key to improving the quality of your decision making, and a mindful pause can help you achieve it. Because it creates a gap between the impulse to eat and actually eating, this tool can help you:
•become aware of the moment of decision,
•tune in to what you’re feeling and your hunger level, and
•calm down, so that you can make a clearheaded decision.
Many people find it difficult to keep calm because they try to intervene at the cognitive level – that is, they direct themselves to “just calm down”. It’s more helpful to prevent your body from shifting into fight-or-flight mode, which raises your breathing and heart rate. Pressing PAUSE tricks your body into thinking you’re calm by actively and intentionally slowing down your body, which gives you the opportunity to make an insight-driven choice.
You can use the PAUSE formula whenever you are about to eat, if you are struggling with the decision to have a second helping and to identify when you’re stressed out and you feel the urge to stress eat.
Here’s the PAUSE formula:
P: Perceive. Stop for a moment. Tune in. Identify this very moment as a moment of decision.
A: Allow at least ten seconds for that awareness to sink in.
U: Understand your feelings. First, sum up whatever you’re feeling in two or three words (sad, mad, happy, frustrated). Next, ask yourself if your thoughts are being driven by insight or emotion. Finally, tune in to your body. Is it offering any clues about how you’re feeling (clenched fists; slumped shoulders; rapid, shallow breathing)?
S: Stay in the moment. Do the focused breathing exercise featured in the book. Notice any urge to push your emotions away (I don’t want to feel this!). “Lean into” the feelings instead of away from them, asking yourself how you can use them to guide rather than push you.
E: Entertain your options. Give yourself at least two. They may address eating specifically (option A: eat another helping; option B: skip it; option C: one more bite) or provide an alternative to eating that calms your body (a walk, a kickboxing class), your mind (a computer game, a crossword puzzle), or your spirit (meditation, prayer).
Another huge reason for bingeing is not eating enough – are you eating all your meals or eating less because you think less is more? Don’t fall into this trap! Less is NOT more when it comes to weight loss. You want to fuel your body not starve it.
Love coach K