Breaking Up With Binge Eating

Your Overwhelm Management Guide (OMG)

January 07, 2021 Georgie Fear and Maryclaire Brescia
Breaking Up With Binge Eating
Your Overwhelm Management Guide (OMG)
Chapters
Breaking Up With Binge Eating
Your Overwhelm Management Guide (OMG)
Jan 07, 2021
Georgie Fear and Maryclaire Brescia

Heading back to work after a holiday is prime time for a wave of overwhelm. Feeling overwhelmed includes feeling small, incapable, confused, and frustrated. And unfortunately, many of us end up in this state on a daily or weekly basis! A sense of overwhelm might have sent you searching for food in the past, but it doesn't have to. Listen for a 5 step guide to managing your OMG situations, and you'll hear how a real-life client used it in her own success. 

Show Notes Transcript

Heading back to work after a holiday is prime time for a wave of overwhelm. Feeling overwhelmed includes feeling small, incapable, confused, and frustrated. And unfortunately, many of us end up in this state on a daily or weekly basis! A sense of overwhelm might have sent you searching for food in the past, but it doesn't have to. Listen for a 5 step guide to managing your OMG situations, and you'll hear how a real-life client used it in her own success. 

"There’s so much to do, I feel like I’m suffocating. I’m just starting back to work following maternity leave, and I have found myself paying less attention to my meals and eating when I feel like it. I find I’m telling myself the story of “I don’t know how this all can get done” and “I don’t know what needs to happen on this project” and “I’m not sure I’m prepared to do this”. These stories often led to emotional eating in the past and it’s happening again. I think, “I would enjoy a cookie (or four) after a long day and I don’t even have to leave my desk,” so there’s been a lot of overindulgence this week. 

But it’s not just the end of the workday, I’m also offering myself a treat during a long work day or when I was sorting through a rocky day with my spouse. I’m not sure what to do. Can you give me a hand, Georgie?"

If you’ve never felt overwhelm like Talia was experiencing, I envy you. Most of us can relate to the panic feeling of overwhelm. I’d describe it like a strong urge to do something, but at the same time, you feel completely paralyzed. There’s a lot of tension and urgency in the feeling of overwhelm. And it’s one of the emotional states that most effectively scrambles our brain’s ability to think rationally and logically. Overwhelm can lead to us taking rash, impulsive actions, or leave us frozen and stunned. 

Today, I’ll share with you a tool I’ve created called the Overwhelm Management Guide. Appropriately, the acronym is OMG. 

I wrote back to Talia, “Right now food is helping you cope with stress and difficult emotions, but instead of just trying to stop, I would focus first on those feelings and what you want to do when they come up instead of eating. That way you are focused on doing the things which offer more efficacy in feeling better, and don't take you further from your goals. 

The thoughts you identified sound like overwhelm is the key emotion at play. Let’s walk through the 5 step Overwhelm Management Guide. 

1. Let yourself feel the way you do. There's nothing wrong with you for feeling overwhelmed, uncertain or unsure. Those are normal things to feel and lots of people have done things that they didn't feel "ready for". The next few steps are likely to help reduce your overwhelm, but for this moment, accept that being overwhelmed is a normal part of life, and it will neither kill you or paralyze you. It’s just a signal that you’re aware you're facing a big challenge, so let’s gear up for it! 

2. Get organized. Make a list, make a schedule, make a spreadsheet, itemize what you can. Getting overwhelming thoughts out of your head where they swirl and overwhelm and onto paper makes them easier to see and define. The dizzying array of things to do before you move which feels infinite becomes a list of 28 boxes to check, which is much more approachable. Twenty eight is less scary than infinity. 

Most people feel overwhelmed when they sense being inundated with things to do, and not knowing where to begin or when they’ll have the time. If you get organized with a schedule, you can pencil in tasks for certain times. If your schedule fills up, and you can’t find a place to put in one more thing... it’s time to start saying no. 

As an aside, if you have a hard time saying no you are more likely to be overwhelmed often. Consider this emotion a signal that you can feel more at ease by learning to not be afraid of saying no or counter-offering when approached with one more task. 

Okay so you allowed yourself to calmly acknowledge you are overwhelmed, and you’ve gotten yourself organized. Now what? 

Step 3. Focus only on the very next thing. Every complicated project gets done one step at a time. If you don't have information you need, then try to specify what exact piece of information you need, then think of the first step as finding out. Of course you don't know everything. But maybe you can look something up or ask someone. Let’s say you’re responsible for preparing a budget for your business for the next 12 months. But you are lost on what that should even look like. The first step might be "Ask the supervisor who created last year’s budget”. Once you have that name, (let’s say it was Kathy) the next step might be “Look up Kathy’s phone number”, followed by “call Kathy”. 

It’s key to break things down into very small pieces. I like to put looking up a phone number and calling the phone number as two separate tasks. That way each one is smaller, and one clearly comes before the other. 

Which brings me to step 4. 

4. Let the future steps go from your mind. You'll get to them when they are the NEXT step. Often, our feelings of being overwhelmed worsen because we are simultaneously worrying about all the steps of a project or ordeal at the same time. But we won’t be facing all those things at once, so we can address them when it’s their turn. 

5. As needed, pause and de-escalate. When you are working through a difficult job or day, take breathers to talk to yourself reassuringly. Take a lunch break. Put on a song and listen for a couple minutes, then regroup. Get water every hour or so. Do some arm circles. 
The voice in your head might say ‘don’t stop to eat now, dinner’s in just 2 hours’, or ‘don’t take a break, just push on and keep going’. But I hear all the time that my clients routinely push themselves all day in this way, only to collapse into emotional eating or binge eating at night. There’s no award for pushing yourself to the breaking point, unless you think of binge eating as a prize you want. I highly recommend pausing to dissipate fatigue and de-escalate distress throughout the day. It’s well worth it to feel sane and rational at night. 

So there you have the 5 steps to overwhelm management. Let yourself feel the way you do, get organized, focus only on the very next thing, let the future steps go, and as you work through a problem or situation, pause and de-escalate. 

After I created the Overwhelm Management Guide for Talia, she sent me an email. It read, ‘At 10:58am before a series of calls, I felt the emotion of overwhelm come over me. I noted on my phone “Starting to feel overwhelmed, but I can handle this feeling without food during the next set of calls”. And I was able to handle the very next thing in my day.  Progress! :)

If you find yourself relating to the stories in this podcast, you’ll see these are people just like you. If you think you'd like my help with your own success story where you get to be the hero, we've opened our enrolment for our Breaking Up With Binge Eating Coaching Program. Go to http://www.nutritionloft.com/store to check it out.

I’m Georgie Fear I’m always here for you, and I’ll see you in the next episode to continue our journey.