What the hell effect

Hello everyone, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ok, now that we experienced that day of indulgence and gratitude, let’s be conscious of what our physical and emotional chemistry could be creating in our body and mind. After a day of indulgence, do you become more critical, beat yourself up in your mind and control your food intake or do you practice self-compassion, let it go and head back to your natural eating patterns?

I can still hear those very strong voices in my head that wanted me to eat perfectly. If I didn’t eat perfectly the voices would begin to obsess if I was going to keep indulging or if I was going to begin controlling every morsel I put in my mouth. Psychologists call the first option the “What the hell effect.” And the second option I call “not trusting myself and being in a constant state of fear around food effect”.

There is ONE thing we can do to stop both of these options.

A study referenced below** asked a group of women to eat a doughnut within four minutes, then drink a glass of water so they would feel full. After eating the doughnut, some of the women received a message of self-compassion encouraging them to not be so hard on themselves for indulging. The other group did not receive this message. In the second part of the study, the women were presented with bowls of candy and were invited to eat as little or as much of the candy as they wanted. The women who had received the self-forgiveness message ate only 28 grams of candy compared to the 70 grams consumed by the group that didn’t get the message.

As it turned out, self-forgiveness didn’t give these women permission to eat more; rather, it turned off the flow of guilt and prevented them from overeating the candy.

People who are especially kind to themselves should be less critical when they break their diets, thus reducing the need to cope with negative self–thoughts by eating or other coping mechanisms and distractions. When people react in a self–compassionate manner when they “fall off” their eating plan, they should experience less negative emotional reactions and a lower motivation to escape from self–awareness. Most of my clients are scared to let go of control because they fear they will never stop indulging. What if it is this control that is feeding the fear?

What do you do to escape from self-awareness? Shop? Facebook? Over-work? Pretend being busy? Is it difficult for you to be quiet with yourself?

5 ways to add in the most important ingredient for your life: Self-compassion:

  1. Observe your thoughts: Do you know the feeling of watching an emotional tennis match in your head? For example, you are ruminating if you should have a second piece of pie. You spend 15 minutes compulsively thinking if you really need it, say screw it and just have it to stop these thoughts. What can you do differently? I LOVE my schtick: Take 5 deep breaths with your hand on your heart and tummy, ask what you are really hungry for? Journal this emotion and desire. If you do decide to eat the pie in this state you are more relaxed and less in a reactive state where your stress hormones flare, and have a way better chance of digesting.
  2. Eat Chocolate!: Yep! For the next week or so you may be having a bit more sugar cravings due to extra sugar, maybe some family stress:), less exercise, hydration and time alone. To calm this have some amazing healing chocolate on hand. I recently went to a cacao ceremony and was sold on how it made my body feel. I purchased this cacao from my amazing friends of Wild Playground: CHOCOLATE! (If you are a savory person, have some wonderful kale chips or seaweed chips on hand:)
  3. Speak to yourself like you would speak to a friend or a child: Shift those ruminating thoughts that can be offensive towards a dialogue of how you would speak to your friend or a child you cared for. We all strive to be more loving and understanding. If you want to take a step further with compassion cultivation, check out MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and if you live in San Diego and want to practice in person, visit Compassion It
  4. Allow more openness versus judgment: So you ate the donut. How much energy do you spend on judging yourself? The more we minimize the judgment on ourselves and others the less often we will have compulsive, unconscious behaviors. I am an advocate for anti-food shaming. Some people believe their way of eating is the only right way. I disagree, we are dynamic beings and change is constant. Knowing your own body is ongoing and we aren’t done until we are done.
  5. Journal what meals don’t cause any bloating: These meals are your go to meals. They may shift a bit every few months. When you eat a meal when you are truly hungry you should feel light and satiated. If you feel bloated and heavy that meal may be a bit more taxing on your digestive tract. Even if you journal the meal on a scale of 1-5 to keep track of your tract:)

If you are ready to practice a new type of nutrition program where you not do anything wrong and can ONLY be self-compassionate, the Intuitivarian 22 day process is ready. You can begin on your own now, or standby for January 2nd (Tuesday evening calls for 3 weeks) and join the group process led by me with some star guest presenters.

Click here to sign up! And let me know if you are going solo or joining the group.

You can go at your own pace for this program and you have access for 90 days.

Look out 2018 here we come with a new mindset and a compassionate approach,

Heather Fleming, C.C.N.

P.S. If you are a nutritionist, health coach or share nutrition advice with others, email me privately to learn more information on becoming an affiliate for the Intuitivarian 22 day process. This can be used as a tool for you to support you clients with a comprehensive, self-aware nutrition approach. I look forward hearing from you.

**PROMOTING SELF–COMPASSIONATE ATTITUDES TOWARD EATING AMONG RESTRICTIVE AND GUILTY EATERS CLAIRE E. ADAMS Louisiana State University MARK R. LEARY Duke University, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 10, 2007, pp. 1120–1144

Related Articles