Many of us have developed unhealthy relationships with food. Some turn to it as a coping mechanism for stress, while others force themselves to live without the nutrients they need to function healthily because of how much guilt and shame come with indulging.
When it's that time of the month, the hormones that maintain homeostasis in our emotional landscape are thrown out of wack. Thus bringing on the widely known symptoms countless women experience during PMS (premenstrual syndrome) such as mood swings, abdominal cramps, and arguably the most annoying: irregular appetite tendencies and cravings.
Binge eating be like
We've all been there; it's 10 pm and instead of laying down to get some shut-eye before an early morning ahead, you're up binging a whole series of a new tv show and stuffing your face with ice cream and hot cheetos. Then even the slightest hint of satisfaction you might feel is consumed by the shaming and guilt-tripping that follow.
It's a vicious cycle we chain ourselves to that represents unhealthy ways we've been taught to think about and interact with food. The good news is, there are things we can do to tackle the conditioning we've received and build healthy practices we can use to keep our balance instead.
Build healthier habits
- Keep a food journal. If your eating habits are causing you a lot of stress, building awareness is the first step to challenging them. If you're used to writing in a journal each day, make this a part of your reflection practice. Otherwise, there are plenty of apps that can help you keep track of what you consume on the go.
- Don't skip meals. Schedule your meals into specific parts of your daily routine so you never find yourself running on E. When we let ourselves get hangry, that's when we start to feel a loss of control over our behavior.
- Find dupes for your guiltiest pleasures. Swapping out a candy bar for a pack of trail mix, or trying kale chips instead of your favorite potato chips. Putting your burger on a salad instead of a bun. There's always a creative way to switch or alter your favorite comfort foods in a way that's beneficial for your body.
- Exercise. Even if it's just a walk around the block, it's important to move your body every day, beyond rolling out of bed and onto the couch. Regular physical activity helps your appetite develop at a healthy pace to avoid feelings of either overindulgence or emaciation.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Your body does its housekeeping and maintenance work when you're sleeping. Therefore, if you're skimping out on sleep, you're also robbing it of its ability to calibrate. This can increase cravings for high-calorie foods.
- Practice self-care. Managing stress is essential for tackling emotional eating. After all, it's when we're stressed that we turn to food for comfort or to cope.
- Use your support system. Invite a therapist, trusted family member, or friend into the conversation to help you process and unpack what comes up for us when you're feeling emotionally unstable.
The relationship you have with food is largely based on the health of your psyche. It's important to be kind and give yourself grace if managing day to day stresses of life is a struggle. Know your experience is not an isolated one. However, improving your habits requires you to challenge the ideas you have about what food means to you, and doing what you can to cater to other health factors that foster emotional resiliency.
Ladykind's women's wellness products contribute to each of the above tips by working with your endocannabinoid system to regulate mood, appetite, stress, sleep, and pain.
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