Everything we do in life, we do to feel or not feel something.
And I, my dear friends, until reaching my 40s, have been the Queen of using food emotionally.
But now, I have finally begun to feel my feelings instead of overeating and overworking. And as a certified food psychology coach, it’s my joy to teach other professionals and entrepreneurs to do the same.
We spend a third of our lives working, supposedly. But I have spent my entire life striving. Trying to get to a future where I’m a success, and trying to summon the focus and discipline I thought I needed. Trying to cheat the 24 hours we each have, with early morning routines and late nights of overwork, to get ‘there’.
And all the while, I kept myself going with food…
Taking shots of coffee to ‘perform’ when I was in theatre (and every professional role too.)
Taking chocolate to my desk as an incentive to begin a ‘hard’ task, while working from home.
Taking pizza and hiding behind a bookcase to stuff it down, when I worked on the editorial team for a national newspaper.
Taking a large whiskey to bed once the kids were tucked in, to keep me company while I worked late on my laptop.
Procrastination, purposelessness, boredom, anger at colleagues… these have all been reasons to eat. But equally, so have all the positive emotions I wanted to fast-track: reward, relief from responsibility, entertainment.
It was when the whiskey became a daily affair, and I got real with myself and ditched drinking altogether a couple of years ago, that I really saw in stark daylight how I had been disconnecting from my life all along.
I had never fully ‘got’ my overeating: now I could see it. Since childhood, I had been trying to out-run my life. Stringing myself along with little pleasures, instead of digging into the joy of my kids, my current work, my here and now.
We all ‘know about’ mindfulness. We think: “Awareness, yeah yeah blah blah.” But the reality is, our brains keep repeating old habits, locked in stress chemistry and the thrill of adrenaline. We think living fast is rock n roll. It feels invigorating and alluring: like hope, like progress. But that familiarity conceals fear, on the brain’s part, of the unknown. We are conditioned to “try harder”, and to think “I’ll be good enough when I’ve lost weight/make enough money/am recognised”. We buffer our emotions so much with food and drink but we only see our eating problems, not the feelings and thoughts behind them.
The journey of relinquishing cheap pleasures and seeking joy instead – of feeling all the good bad and ugly feelings that make life rich and alive – is easier said than done.
It’s so great if someone can walk with us.
Coaching has changed my life. I’m still a work in progress. Still changing. It’s my privilege to pay it forwards.
Laura is a full-time life and weight loss coach. She is a specialist in the relationship between work and eating. Her experience of working in many different professions and work settings – from teaching to acting, newsrooms to universities, doing shift work, and working from home – allows her to relate to each of her clients’ specific practical and emotional stressors. Laura was a binge eater through her teens and twenties and even laughs about the process of learning to diminish her binges in her podcast. She brings creativity and fun to the process of learning to stop overeating and lose weight. Her writing has been featured regularly on Tiny Buddha, on Positively Positive, and she has guested on the Restorya podcast. She is passionate about habit change and only making changes that you’d like to live for the rest of your life. Laura is a student of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and abides by the General Hypnotherapy Register’s code of ethics.