#025: The holidays—carving out more of what you long for

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Create what you’re really longing for so food doesn’t have to be a substitute

Discover a little trick to create more of what you actually want this Christmas.

What’s that got to do with food and eating?

Well, overeating in a way that isn’t enjoyable isn’t usually about the food at all—it’s more likely to be in response to something else entirely.

Food is effective in the moment. It does create a little bit of what you’re longing for … it’s just not the answer you really crave and, when overeating or bingeing become a pattern that’s repeated often, it can really bring you down.

Listen in to hear one simple way to create more of your kind of Christmas magic so you don’t have to rely on food as a substitute.

Click here for your FREE Guide: 8 simple strategies to break the binge eating cycle 

View the full episode transcript

Well food is effective in the moment, right? It does create a little bit of what you’re longing for … it’s just not the answer you really crave and, when overeating or bingeing become a pattern that’s repeated often, I totally know it can really bring you—bring us—down.

Welcome to the YoYo Freedom Podcast.

This is the place to learn actionable, step-by-step tools and strategies to help you stop bingeing or overeating and start feeling relaxed and confident around food, 

so that you can show up for your life on your terms.

I’m Gemma Keys and I know first hand what it’s like to feel out-of-control around food and trapped in the pain of binge eating and body-shame.

There is a way out. 

Keep listening to discover your path to food freedom.

Hello and welcome. This episode is coming out a week before Christmas and it’s the very last one in the holiday series.

Today we’re gonna talk about a little trick to create more of what you actually want to be feeling or experiencing this Christmas—more of what you’re maybe secretly dreaming of or longing for.

Now obviously that’ll be very personal to you. All of our holidays look so different, so this is (yet another!) way you can bring more of what you want—what’s most important to you—-into your every day.

And, “what’s that got to do with food and eating?” you might ask.

Well, it’s because overeating in a way that isn’t enjoyable—-that isn’t actually even about the food at all really—but eating in that out-of-control, compulsive, oh holy smoke I can’t stop even though I know, I KNOW, this leaves me feeling terrible. Well that kind of eating is so often in response to something that’s nothing about the food.

So …. Examples.

Well, here are just three and, of course, there are tonnes more.

  • Number 1: Being irritated and embarrassed by your partner drinking too much at the neighbour’s party and getting really loud and a bit obnoxious, or
  • Number 2: Feeling run ragged as you produce food for the five thousand and long to sit down and put your feet up in a quiet, darkened room, or
  • Numbver 3: Maybe the people you wish you were spending Christmas with aren’t around and it’s a day when that void is especially noticeable or poignant

So with each of those examples, it makes perfect sense to be eating through.

Like, escaping cringy embarrassment by focusing on the food table and maybe unconsciously ploughing through the stollen bites, or escaping upstairs and cramming chocolate in your mouth to just get a break and a moment to yourself, or it might be eating through piles of cheese and crackers to create a sort of comforting internal warmth to try to relieve a feeling of emptiness or loneliness.

And goodness, do those make a lot of sense. It might not be what you’d choose to do, but I wonder if eating to relieve those feelings or the tension or shut down in your body when it just gets too much—sort of as if there’s a flip point where your brain switches off and those old, automatic patterns kick in

Well food is effective in the moment, right? It does create a little bit of what you’re longing for … it’s just not the answer you really crave and, when overeating or bingeing become a pattern that’s repeated often, I totally know it can really bring you—bring us—down.

So, I’m guessing you probably have your own …. Well, let’s say “challenges” around Christmas as well as the parts of it you absolutely love.

In the last three episodes, we’ve covered all sorts of strategies to support you, especially at this time of year.

And today it’s just about one, simple way to actually creeate a little bit more of whatever it is you’re looking for so you don’t have to rely so much on the food as a substitute for those feelings or experience.

Now, I wonder if you’ve ever heard of the concept of having a “Word of the year”?

I mean, I’ve never had one before, but the idea is that you choose a single word that’s meaningful and can act as a focus for the year. Sort of like a North Star to guide and re-center you and create a bit of clarity and direction when all the other layers of life come at you and are muddying the waters.

Well, I’ve found that having one word or one phrase at Christmas time can be a really effective way of sort of bringing you back to yourself and reminding you what you want more of and what’s important to you.

You know, at those times when your brain goes off on a convoluted journey around the houses – well, mine does this – of reading into everyone’s actions and intentions and behaviour and what they’re saying, and picking up the energy of other people who might be emanating nervousness or stress or overwhelm and trying to fix it or at least regulate it.

And, in my experience, many many of those of us who struggled with food and bingeing or just feeling compulsive and a bit out of control when it comes to eating—we tend to be the ones that pick up on other people’s energy and reactions and then either feel responsible or at least want to smooth things over a bit, or even just want to get the heck out of there to get away from those energies and feelings or tensions that feel so full on but are also sort of difficult to explain to someone else and a bit non-tangible. 

You might recognise that feeling as wanting to make things better, get people more relaxed and getting along and having a good time. Or you might notice a tendency to just get exhausted by the whole shebang and sort of withdraw into yourself and almost shut down.

And what better way to do that than with food, right?!

So choosing a word or a phrase to come back to at this time of year — something that really rests within you as being the truth and quietens down all that background noise (whether it’s real, or it’s those pesky thoughts that gallop around and around your head telling you things that don’t make you feel good at all) — that word or phrase becomes a point of contact, a touch-stone almost, to come back to over and over, whenever you need it.

So the idea is to take a quiet moment—before the holidays start if you can—and to decide what you’d like it to be like this year.

What would you like to experience more of? How would you like to feel? What would you like to bring to this time of year that might sometimes get lost but it’s what you really long for?

It could be something like appreciating a person—even just slowing down to watch a special person or people in your  life.

It could be to revel in the extra sparkles of tree lights and decorations and fires in the hearth on these long, dark, winter nights. Of course, it’s not winter for all of us — I just tried to organise a birthday delivery in NZ and hadn’t realised that Wellington pretty much shuts down at the end of December and for NY cos everyone’s going to chill at the beach. Nice eh?! But anyway, that’s getting a little off track …

So you might long for the opportunity to have a little break and a rest and the opportunity to slow down.

Or to focus more on nature and really taking a moment to breath it in and the trees and the sky and the birds and animals work their magic in calming your system and creating a sense of awe and beauty.

What is it for you? What would you like to bring more of into your life this year?

And once you’ve identified that one thing, choose a short word or phrase to encapsulate what you’ve come up with.

It might be a word like, “Breathe” or “peace” or “connection”.

Or a short phrase like, “Be in the moment” or “Find what’s beautiful” or even “Aren’t people fascinating!”

Like I said, I’ve never had a word for the year, but it’s seems to be niggling at me and on my mind right now, probably just as a new idea, and because a fresh year is about to start.

And it ties in so beautifully with the concept of setting an intention for the next couple of weeks.

So I’ll use myself as an example and really hope it’s helpful for you too. Now, because I’m someone who has a default reaction to get quiet and withdraw and sort of back off from other people when I feel uncomfortable, the word that particularly appeals right now is something along the lines of connection — of looking for things in common and that are shared between me and another person and just seeing if I can uncover them and notice them more.

I mean, we’re all human, right, and we have all sorts of things in common! But for me, going into interactions with that slightly different shift in perspective will, I think, allow me to be more curious and just looking for what links me to other people, rather than the scared and nervous little part inside me that defaults to wanting to armour up and back off. I know that young and little part that reaction like that pretty well now, and I totally understand why she does what she does—it just comes down to wanting to feel safe and protected and secure rather than vulnerable and open to conflict or rejection. And, at the same time as appreciating it makes so much sense, and especially did in the past, I also know I can support the part of me that holds those fears and concerns — I know I can support myself as a much older, grown up adult — so that those ingrained or automatic responses don’t have to take me over in such a full on way.

So something like that — adopting a word like “connection” or an intention like, “looking for things we have in common” will be a way to create a real shift, a new focus. You can probably imagine that, instead of awkwardness and withdrawal, it’s more likely to lead to openness and curiosity through perhaps striking up a conversation or asking more questions or just looking at other people through a different lens.

So the question you might like to roll around in your mind as we approach Christmas this year is, “What would you like to experience more of?”

What word or phase encapsulates that intention? — something simple that you can come back to multiple times a day, as often as you need it.

It can be super-simple, like finding something to smile about.

Or it could be to come back into your body and notice all the sensations you’re feeling in a moment.

Or maybe to let the people do what the people do.

Or a special something to focus on that you love — like lighting a fire in the evening, or snuggling up for a Christmas movie, or revelling in the view from your top window.

Or perhaps it’s something like mine—looking out for connections and things you have in common with people, even and especially the ones who seem so bemusing or differnet from you.

Or even to notice the energy around you but not necessarily absorb it as your own.

Give it a try. 

When you set a simple intention for this time of year—and (most importantly) remind yourself of what it is when the Christmas-crazy gets here—it means you’re naturally drawn to creating more of what you’re looking for.

Those little glimmers of joy or enjoyment or a smile or noticing something beautiful—whatever it is for you.

And I’ve seen and had so many people tell me that can be an absolute godsend when it comes to side-stepping the compulsive feelings around food that are so very familiar to people who struggle with overeating and bingeing.

Sending you so much love from me this Christmas time.

I’ll be back a couple of weeks into January with the next episode because all my family are coming to my house this year. 

I’m really looking forward to the chaos and the people-ness that it’s absolutely sure to bring AND I’ll definitely be setting an intention and finding ways to come back to myself and create more of the feelings I want to be feeling, no matter what’s going on around me, that’s for sure.

And remember, if you haven’t got your copy yet, go to the show notes wherever you’re listening to this episode, or to https://yoyofreedom.com/24 to download your FREE guide, 8 simple strategies to break the binge eating cycle.

You’ll find something in there—even if you choose just one of the 8 techniques—that, if you’re willing to give it a go and to keep going, really can make a difference in changing your relationship with food.

That’s it for today’s episode. Thank you for listening.

I hope you’ve found this episode helpful. Subscribe to The YoYo Freedom Podcast for more insight, tools and support as you pull back from bingeing, overeating or yoyo-dieting and step into your most authentic, vibrant life.

And, if you liked what you heard, it would be wonderful if you’d take a moment to rate this podcast on whichever platform you listen on.

Thank you so much! And Bye-bye for now.

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