I look back at my life and can see how I was conditioned by others to believe and behave in certain ways. I was conditioned to eat the way my cultural and socioeconomic status taught me to eat. I was conditioned to believe in certain ways about others who I did not even know. I was conditioned to reward myself in unhealthy ways and to see things through the lens of someone else’s history. I was raised by people who grew up in a depression and a world war. And I love the one’s who conditioned me in these ways SO DEEPLY because I know that they were conditioned to be the way they were too. It was all they knew and if you understand the human brain, genetics, conditioning, and coping you understand how it can be extremely difficult to overcome lifelong struggles with unhealthy habits and addictions. I did say difficult not impossible. With the resources available today, chances of overcoming lifelong struggles are much better than when my parents went through their struggles. Please begin to see how you may have been conditioned and locked into certain belief systems, unhealthy reward behaviors, and destructive coping skills. Take one day at a time and focus on making the best choices you can for your physical and mental health. Set boundaries with food, manage stress with fulfilling outlets, and give full energy and focus to how you can be successful. Honor those who came before you by learning and improving. Start over every day. If you need help seek it. I did. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!
If you were to look on internet search engines for the term Boredom Eating, you will find pages and pages of listings for why it occurs and how to overcome it. According to Merriam-Webster.com, the dictionary definition of boredom is, “the state of being weary and restless through a lack of interest.” Boredom is simply a lack of internal motivation or interest. So if you lack motivation and/or interest to do WHATEVER IT TAKES morally, ethically, and in a healthy manner to achieve the wellness that you desire. Planning your mealtimes and snacks, being mindful of your emotions, exterior and internal triggers, and staying focused on the benefits and consequences of good and bad health choices will help you to overcome the issue of boredom eating. Knowing that each individual will need to discover his or her own way to overcome this common issue of boredom eating, please complete the following exercises. As always, communicate thoroughly, honestly, and “dig deep” to find your own answers.
Exercise: In the space below, list at least three occasions where you may find yourself engaging in boredom eating.
- I engage in boredom eating after a long day of work when I get home. I turn the TV on, and eat mindlessly while watching my favorite shows.
- I engage in boredom eating at work. There are times when there are no customers to assist and/or duties to conduct, and I find myself “automatically” reaching for the bag of chips and candy.
- I often engage in boredom eating during my college class. The lectures do not interest me at times, and I find myself “automatically” reaching for the candy in my purse and even bring chips into class sometimes to “prepare” for the boredom about to occur.
- I am a homemaker who spends hours at home alone every day. I do what is needed around the house, run errands for the family and prepare meals. I find myself engaging in boredom eating when everything is done for the day and I am waiting for my family to get home.
- I am an educator and get extensive time off for breaks and holidays. Although I still have lesson plans, grading and other duties to conduct, I find myself engaging in boredom eating when I complete the tasks I have to do in the day.
Now it is your turn:
Exercise: In the space below, please list how you may overcome the issue of boredom eating based on the answers that you listed above. Please communicate thoroughly and honestly. Make the answers reflect your own personal needs to reach your goal of wellness and a healthy weight. Please list at least five.
- To overcome the issue of unhealthy boredom eating after I get home from work, I will have a plan to eat a healthy snack before I sit down to watch TV. I will also dispose of ALL unhealthy food options in the house to eliminate the temptation to eat in an unhealthy manner.
- To overcome the issue of unhealthy boredom eating at work, I will only bring healthy snacks to work and stay focused on my goals of wellness and a healthier weight by writing my goals daily, understand the impact that healthy and unhealthy choices have on me and the ones who love me, and ask my best personal trainer to hold me accountable for my food choices at work, home, and in social environments. I will be honest with him or her about all of my food choices.
- To overcome my unhealthy practice of classroom boredom eating, I will bring only healthy snacks to class. I will write my goals of wellness and bodyweight and use them as wallpaper for my college laptop, and ask my school friends to challenge me in a respectable way to make good food choices.
- I will overcome the unhealthy practice of boredom eating while waiting for my family to get home by increasing my exercise. I will recognize when I am “automatically” about to engage in boredom eating and put an exercise video in the DVD player and do the workout. I will also go for a walk, read, or call a friend who can challenge me in a respectable manner to eat healthy.
- I will overcome the unhealthy practice of boredom eating after my school duties are completed by going for a ride on my bike. I also like to knit, read, and complete projects in the garden and around the house. I will recognize when I am automatically engaging in boredom eating and distract myself with other, healthier activities that I like.
Now it is your turn:
I hope this helps you if you suffer from boredom eating or other forms of overeating. Please take care of your health today. There is nothing more important. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!
“Being the richest man in the graveyard is not the goal.” Tony Robbins There are many reasons to care for yourself no matter your age. Research shows that you will feel more confident, happier, and perform at a higher level in your job and other vital areas of life if you take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. More research demonstrates that people who take care of themselves will experience healthier relationships, boundaries, and fulfillment more than someone who chooses to work hard and live an unhealthy lifestyle. And that is just the beginning. People who care for their health will spend less money on health care and be independent and higher functioning as they get older. If you work hard to earn a good income and cannot enjoy the fruits of your labor because of lifestyle choices, you have done a tragic disservice to yourself. A lot of great people with wonderful hearts of gold cannot enjoy the retirement they have earned because they did not take care of what helped them to earn the money; their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Please do your best to take care of yourself. Manage all levels of stress with healthy outlets and projects. Eat food with boundaries and maintain your physical strength with resistance training and aerobic activity. Learn yourself and manage it well. Begin as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!
I am sure it is a shock to those who know me best but I am very susceptible to responding to stress with tremendous anxiety. Historically I have become very nervous in tight financial situations, sports, public speaking, some relationships, and traffic stopping me from making an appointment on time. I have watched family members before me have many of the same reactions I do when stressed. Research reveals that we have genetic and learned responses. Although I cannot change the genetics I have with my hair loss, I can change or alter the genetic I have with the way I respond to life situations. It is some work and discomfort sometimes but I am learning that I can manage the way I internally feel about a situation. I can calm myself and understand the only thing that I can control in life is the way I respond, never the events of an external nature. Staying present or mindful of my emotions, being intentional with my words, and regular introspection is helping me to manage my internal responses to all external events. Anxiety overused leads to poor health outcomes. Heart disease, cancers, diabetes, brain and other disorders are at least partially affected by the way we process life. Please know the impact you have on yourself in the long term if you respond impulsively and without control to life events. Begin today to be present with the way you are internally responding to life and see some good things in your day. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!
There are lots of reasons to care for your health as you age. Whether you are 19 or 60, what you do the next 10-20 years of your life with the health choices that you make will matter more than what you did the last 10. And I am not just speaking about your physical health. How you care for your emotional, mental, and spiritual health will also matter. There is more and more research listing the importance of self-care in today’s world of stress and unhealthy temptation around every corner. The pressures of career, family, and education can be overwhelming at times. I work with many clients that have high pressure 60 hour a week jobs, others who are working on their PhD’s., and many others who combine work, school, and family commitments into a weekly calendar. We all know of the consequence of stress on the body. High blood pressure, heart issues, and other unhealthy outcomes are the result of stress not handled in a healthy manner. Depression also causes us physical problems if not addressed in a healthy way. The outcome is similar to stress on the body and will eventually lead to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Stress, depression, and anxiety can even increase some people’s chances of developing dementia and other mental disorders prematurely. Thankfully there are healthy options to help those who are suffering from too much stress, depression, and anxiety.
Not Being Judgmental
With my background in mental health, I fully understand that people have different issues in life. I watch people with “great jobs” that are under a tremendous amount of stress who know the importance of self-care. I work with people who have experienced tremendous trauma or loss in life that are happy in all areas of life. Really? Yes really. I have also studied extensively self-care practices and have found that people who respond in the healthiest ways are similar in many of their daily practices. I have compiled a short list of what I have discovered.
- They all exercise. You do not have to work out with the latest insanity program to practice self-care with exercise. Moderate strength training, walking, hiking, yoga, bicycling, swimming or any other form of healthy exercise can have benefits for the brain, the body, and the physical impacts of stress, anxiety, and depression on the body. Try to get 20-50 minutes of exercise daily and see it as beneficial and you will have a healthier physical response and quality of life as you get older.
- They all do things unrelated to food, drink, or television that bring pleasure. Reading, playing with pets, gardening, helping others, creating something and spending quality time with friends and loved ones will lead to better health in response to life’s stress. Be proactive about doing things that bring you pleasure and you will be healthier in the long run of life.
- They all continue to move forward. Ruminating on past negative life events will serve only negative health consequences. I am not trying to downplay past traumas. There is research where as many as 85% of us have suffered from some sort of trauma. That is almost all of us. Whether you need professional help or are able to accept those portions of your life that have been difficult to go through, it is healthier to move past the things that have happened to you and “give energy” to the present and how you can be successful with good health and happiness for the future.
- They all are resilient. Everyone that I have witnessed respond to life in healthy ways all understand that things happen in life that we would not like to happen. People who are the best with self-care continue to “get back on” no matter how many times they have fallen off. And you can too.
If you continue to struggle in areas of your life that you wish to change for the sake of happiness and health then I beg you to do so beginning today. What you do today can affect you in a positive or negative manner when it comes to your health. Your health impacts those who love you and how happy you will be as you age. Treat yourself with care and your physical health will respond with the quality of life you deserve. And you do deserve to BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!
For those of you that are unfamiliar with my business, I own a fitness training and health education company that works with multiple demographics and fitness levels. I have been training people for almost 20 years and I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Both have taught me how educate and help people through barriers and struggles in and out of the gym. One of the barriers I see in the gym and in life situations is how much energy and thought many of us give to what weakens us. I often ask my clients to lift heavy weights because of the vast amount of evidence as to its’ health benefits. Most of my clients know I would never do anything to hurt them but when I ask them to “go heavy” I often see an immediate “oh no” facial expression followed by sinking of the shoulders, and an exhale. When I ask them to do the weight, I know that they are strong enough and I sincerely believe they can do it. From a physiological perspective, when we give thought and energy to I can’t, this is too much, or I am not capable, the muscles tighten and hormones are released in the body that actually make us weaker. When we look at the challenge as something we are capable of and say to ourselves “I am strong enough,” muscles become looser and hormones are released in the body that actually help us to be stronger. Whether its’ weights, food, people, or the weight of the world in life, it is important to our recovery to give total energy, thought, and focus to what empowers us. The more we do that, the more we’ll realize that we do have the strength to lift that heavy weight and cope with life in a healthy way. Please continue to move forward with your strengths and know you are capable BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!
I and many that I work with have always struggled with something. Depression, addictions, binge eating and healthy weight management are just some of the things that I have battled in my life. I used to think that I was getting a raw deal in life because of those battles and I often felt like everything was against me. What I had to learn is that there will be many things against me in life and life will sometimes be unfair. My early adulthood years lacked the skills to deal with those unfair times and the struggles were the result. If you struggle there is hope. Please become determined to change what you struggle with and improve yourself by developing the skills necessary to deal with life in a healthy way. And healthy includes happy and fulfilled. Give all energy, thought, and focus to how you can be successful in the change or growth you seek. Learn instead of giving up when faced with challenges and know that resiliency and perseverance are the keys to it all. Keep at it and never give up. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!