Are You an Emotional Eater? 4 Steps to Food Freedom

emotional eatingHello my friends! Today I want to talk to you about a topic that feels a little bit vulnerable to talk about… emotional eating!

Can you relate to being an emotional eater? Do you ever turn to food for comfort instead of nourishment? If so, then this is for  you.

I have had my own share of struggles with emotional eating since I was young. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and remember sneaking cookies and sweets as a little girl, or grabbing a pile of snacks and sitting in front of the TV whenever I wanted to veg out after a long day. As I grew up, I found myself continuing this habit which started to lead to a bit of an unhealthy lifestyle.

What started to happen was that I found myself in this constant pattern of yo-yo dieting. For years, I would either be on a diet or off a diet. When I was on a diet, I would try to be meticulous with my eating and only eat things that I considered “healthy”. And, when I was off my diet, it was a total free for all of cookies, chips, and processed foods. This would continue until I would either notice that I was gaining too much weight, or just start feeling physically ill to the point where I had to stop… and then it was time to get back on a diet!

This unhealthy cycle consumed me for many years, until I became pregnant with my daughter. I suffered from terrible morning sickness during the first 4 months of my pregnancy, and had no choice but to start developing a relationship with my body and listening to it for clues as to what it wanted me to eat. Sometimes this was a cookie or a chip, and other times it was fruit and veggies. For the first time in my life, I started to find balance.

After I had my daughter, my mentality around food had shifted, and I decided that I was never going to go on a diet again. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up with a mother who has an unhealthy relationship with food and is always trying to lose weight! I want her to grow up learning healthy habits from me, and seeing that I love my body and treat it well. I know that our children learn more from what we do than from what we say, and so the only way to teach her to love her body is by loving my own body and treating it with kindness.

I’m proud to say that I’ve stuck with my non-diet mentality for the past 3 years. However, the one thing that has continued to plague me is the instinct to use food as a coping mechanism. When times in my life get stressful, I still find myself wanting to turn to food for comfort. This is something that I continuously have to work on.

Last week, I was talking to my friend Angelle who happens to be a women’s health and nutrition coach. I was talking to her about how I had been in a bit of a slump the past couple of weeks. As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I have been feeling really emotional about my daughter starting school this year, coming to terms with the fact that the baby years are over, and that both she and I will be starting on a new journey this fall.

I started to realize that I had fallen back into my old patterns of emotional eating because I didn’t really want to deal with all of the emotions that I was facing. For the past few weeks, I had fallen back into the habit of using sugary and processed foods to numb out and avoid coping with my feelings.

This in turn, had caused me to fall into a little bit of a slump where I was feeling really anxious and a bit depressed. Angelle helped me see that the food that we eat really affects our mood. When we use unhealthy food to cope with our feelings, it leads us down this vicious cycle where we are eating too much sugar, processed foods, salt, etc… and then the food has a physiological effect where it physically makes us feel even worse… which then leads to us feeling even more anxious and depressed, and going back to the unhealthy foods to try to cover up those feelings!

It’s really a crazy and harmful cycle.

Once I recognized that this was what I had been doing, I started to realize that I could interrupt this pattern and take steps to change it.

Now, just one week later, I am happy to report that I have stopped my emotional eating cycle and am feeling SO much better! My anxiety and depression have completely lifted! I have lost 4 lbs. And, I was able to handle my daughter’s first day of school with grace. I still shed a few tears, but I didn’t feel completely consumed by anxious thoughts as I had been the past few weeks. All of this after just ONE WEEK of eating well and giving my feelings a voice.

If you can relate to this unhealthy cycle of bad food causing a bad mood, then here is a 4 step process that you can use to help stop the cycle of emotional eating:

1) Notice your patterns – Take a nonjudgmental look at the actions that you’ve been taking. Have you been using food as a coping mechanism instead of as a source of nourishment? Do you ever turn to food when you feel sad, down, or anxious?

2) Take stock of your emotions – How are you feeling? Are you trying to avoid feeling difficult emotions? When you are honest with yourself, can you admit that you have been feeling angry, overwhelmed, or depressed?

3) Make a commitment to feeling your feelings – Next time that you find yourself wanting to turn to food for comfort, make a commitment to being with your feelings for a few minutes instead. Get out a journal and write out anything that is bothering you. Give your thoughts and feelings a voice. Let it all out and don’t hold back. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you are feeling.

4) Decide how you will move forward – Now that you are conscious and aware of your emotions, it’s time to decide what to do next. Ask yourself: what will REALLY make me feel better? Be open to new ideas such as talking to a friend, going for a walk, taking some alone time, or getting some fresh air. See if you are willing to take one of these actions instead of turning to food for comfort. If you still want to turn to your comfort food, you can, but this time you will be fully conscious of what you are doing, which will create a completely different experience.


I hope that you find this process helpful!

The thing about these 4 steps is that they are fairly simple and straight forward, but they are not always easy to do when we are feeling stuck in old patterns or deeply entrenched in a vicious cycle.

If you would like some additional support as you navigate your relationship with food, then I have a really great program to share with you!

My friends Angelle and Jill at the Nourish to Flourish Society are running their seasonal 14 Day Reset this fall!

This is a program that I do every year to help me get back on track with healthy eating and set myself up for success!

The 14 Day Reset includes:

  • 14 day meal plan including recipes, prep lists, shopping lists, & seasonal fall food chart
  • Full menu plan including – smoothie guide, breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, eating out guide, and no recipe needed, simple & easy meal ideas
  • Daily emails with soul practices and self care strategies to support you on an emotional level
  • 2 live coaching calls on how to handle cravings
  • Group support via a private FB group for community, encouragement, and inspiration from hundreds of other women who are going through the program with you

I love this program so much and will be going through it for the 4th time this fall! If you are ready to get to the bottom of your emotional eating for good and stop this negative relationship with food from taking over your life, then I hope you’ll join me!

After my first two times going through this program and noticing how different I felt, I decided to become an affiliate because I found it to be so well rounded and helpful. As I mentioned before, I am not at all into starvation cleanses or fad diets, and I find the 14 Day Reset to be a really holistic way of taking care of our bodies as well as our minds. If you need help in this area, I know that you’ll love this program as much as I do!

Click here to learn more about the reset and sign up!

I am wishing all of us a year full of good health and happiness!

Be well,
Ambar

 

3 Steps to Bust Through a Bad Mood

How to bust through a Bad Mood

Through the years, I’ve learned many different ways to relieve stress, decrease anxiety, and cope with the stressors of life. You might think that I’m walking around in a little happy bubble all the time, but that’s not the case. I have challenging days just like everybody else, I get into bad moods, and sometimes I have trouble snapping out of them. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the times in which I am feeling particularly stressed or anxious are usually the times when I am most resistant to doing the things that I know will make me feel better!

Things like taking an hour long yoga class or going in a quiet room to meditate are my go-to ideas for getting out of a bad mood and feeling better. But, they are not always conducive to my life. So, I’ve developed a simple 3 step process that I use to clear my energy and bounce back quickly whenever I find myself in a bad mood. The whole process does not take very long, and when I take the time to do it, I find myself feeling better immediately. I wanted to share with you, so that you can give it a try too!

3 Steps to Bust Through a Bad Mood:

1) Breathe

Many times when we find ourselves in stressful situations, our breathing gets shallow. When we are not taking big, full breaths, it sends a panic signal to our brain, that makes us feel even worse! Whenever I am feeling stressed or anxious, the first thing I do is bring my attention back to my breathing. I take deep belly breaths and imagine that my belly is a balloon that I am filling up with air. I breathe in and out slowly, counting to 5 on each inhale and exhale. Bringing the focus back to our breath is the simple first step to feeling better.

2) Feel

When we are in a bad mood, there is usually a reason behind it. It can be a simple irritation or aggravation, or result from weeks of pent up frustration. Instead of trying to forget about the things that are bothering us, it’s best to allow ourselves to feel them out. Take a few moments to try to recognize what you are feeling and try to give a word to it. It might be anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety, or something else. Notice what you are feeling and let yourself feel it. Sometimes I end up crying when I sit with my feelings, and other times I just breathe into them. The important thing is to give them permission to be there and actually FEEL them. (I have another blog post on How to Feel Your Feelings that you might find helpful if this is something that is difficult for you).

3) Move

Now that you’ve focused on your breath and given yourself space to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling, it’s time to move! Our emotions can get stuck in our body and make us feel worse if we don’t do something to get them out. Doing some sort of physical activity is a great way to move that negative energy out of your body. If you have some time at hand, this would be a great time to go for a long run or take your favorite exercise class. If time is limited, I might put on an upbeat, high energy song and have a dance party in my living room. (June and I have made dance parties a part of our regular routine for this very reason!). It’s almost impossible to stay stuck in a bad mood when you’re dancing like a maniac to Pharrell’s “Happy” or Katy Perry’s “Firework”. Other quick ways to move the energy out of your body might be to do 20 jumping jacks, jump on a mini trampoline, or even just hit a pillow. A few minutes is usually all it takes to get things moving and flowing through you.

And, there you have it; 3 simple steps to help you bust through a bad mood. Next time you are feeling a little bit off, I encourage you to take a few minutes to Breathe, Feel, and Move your way to feeling better! Please let me know how this goes for you in the comments below.

Be well,
Ambar

5 Must-Have Essential Oils for New Moms & Babies

5 must-have essential oils for new moms and babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential oils can be a lifesaver for new moms. Have you been curious about the best uses of essential oils for new moms and babies? Then this post is for you. 🙂

I first started using essential oils when my daughter, June, was about 2 months old. Since then, they have become a part of our daily lives. I talk to a lot of new moms who are dealing with challenges that can be helped by implementing an essential oils protocol, so I wanted to share my most recommended essential oils for new moms and babies.

You can get an in depth overview of what essential oils are in the first post of my essential oils series, 5 Must-Have Essential Oils for Families. In short, essential oils are a quick and effective way to get the therapeutic, emotional, and physical benefits of plants. Much like you might drink a cup of tea to get the medicinal properties of certain herbs, you can use essential oils in a similar way. However, essential oils are much more potent and concentrated. For example, one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea. This makes essential oils extremely effective.

The following are the top 5 oils that I used with June as a new mom, and would recommend to other moms:

1) Orange – If there is one thing that new moms need, it’s energy! Orange essential oil is very uplifting and helpful for a quick energy boost. I like to rub a couple of drops between my palms and take a few deep breaths whenever I feel my energy starting to slump. It also works great in the diffuser! Orange has a very clean and refreshing scent and is super helpful in uplifting mood and energy levels. Its uplifting and energizing properties make it one of the best essential oils for new moms.

2) Lavender – As much as new moms need energy, we also need adequate rest… and so do our babies! Lavender essential oil is the perfect oil to start using with babies in order to promote sleep and relaxation. This is the oil that initially got me started with essential oils… the first time I tried it with June, she took her first nap in her crib and slept for hours! This was a significant change for us, because up until that point, she would only nap while I was holding her. Lavender is very calming and relaxing, and can help promote peaceful sleep. To this day, we diffuse lavender essential oil in June’s room every night as part of her bedtime routine. On nights where she is extra fussy, I dilute one drop of lavender with coconut oil and rub on the bottom of her feet. I also add a few drops to my pillow, and apply to over my heart when I am feeling stressed or anxious.

3) Digestive Blend – Most of the popular essential oils companies make a digestive blend. This is a must-have to have on hand with little ones. Many young babies tend to have digestive troubles such as reflux or colic, since their digestive tracts may take awhile to build up. The digestive blend can help soothe an upset stomach and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating. Whenever I notice that June’s stomach seems to be bothering her, I mix 1-2 drops of the digestive blend essential oils and apply directly to her tummy. It also works great for adults! I have been known to use this blend after overindulging and it provides instant relief.

4) Melaleuca – Melaleuca is better known as tea tree oil and is a great oil with many different uses. Melaleuca helps promote healthy immune function. I like to dilute it with coconut oil and apply up and down June’s spine whenever she is going to be playing with other children to give her immune system an extra boost. It’s also great to diffuse throughout the house to freshen and purify the air. Another great use for melaleuca is to add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and use to wipe up baby spit-up or as a natural cleaner for the surfaces in baby’s room. I also like to put a few drops on my nails after showering to keep them looking healthy. After having my baby, my regular manicures stopped happening as frequently as they used to, so having this trick on hand helped keep my nails healthy and felt like a simple and doable DIY spa treatment.

5) Balance Grounding Blend – I often jokingly refer to Balance as the “oil of motherhood”. I mean seriously, what mom doesn’t need more balance, right?! Balance is the perfect oil for moms. It helps promote tranquility, balance emotions, and bring harmony to the mind and body. These qualities are essential for new moms. After having our babies, our physical bodies are trying to recalibrate and recover from pregnancy and childbirth, while our emotions are trying to process all of the big feelings that new motherhood brings. The grounding blend of Balance can help support our bodies in promoting calmness and tranquility during this transitional time. I like to start my mornings by applying a few drops of Balance essential oil to the bottom of my feet. It is part of my morning routine and helps me start my day feeling great! I also like to  diffuse in my daughter’s playroom in order to create a soothing and calming environment, and apply it to my wrists and back of neck to help ease anxious feelings.

I hope that these suggestions help you start to see the many benefits of essential oils for new moms and babies.

Do you use essential oils for yourself or your little ones? Which are your favorites?

If you are not yet using essential oils, but are wanting to start, I invite you to learn more and shop directly from my doTerra website here: www.mydoterra.com/mamabirdwellnest.

If you have any questions or want individual help choosing which oils might be right for you or your family, please fill out the contact form below or send an email to mamabirdwellnest@gmail.com. I would be happy to support you in using these oils that have been so beneficial for me and my baby!

Have a happy and healthy week!

Be well,
Ambar

How to Beat the Winter Blues

How to Beat the Winter Blues

I’ve heard it said that February can be the most depressing month. The holidays are long gone, winter has settled in with full force, the days are short, and warmer weather seems to be light years away. Many people start to feel a little down this time of year, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some simple tips to help you support yourself so that you can fully enjoy this time of year.

1) Get outside

One of the main reasons for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is that during the winter months, we tend to get much less natural sunlight. Natural light is important because it helps keep the natural rhythms of our body in an optimal state. Make sure to take some time to get outside each and every day, even if it’s cold out. Bundling up and going for a quick daily walk can do wonders for your mood. Make sure to dress appropriately and take time to look around and notice the winter sights as you breathe in the brisk air.

If you spend a lot of time indoors at a desk, using a light box can be extremely helpful in replicating the effects of the sun. Light boxes have been known to increase happiness and promote an overall feeling of wellbeing.

 

Lastly, it may be helpful for you to take a Vitamin D supplement. Our bodies obtain Vitamin D naturally from being out in the sun, so taking a vitamin may help make up for any deficiencies you may experience from not getting enough sunlight in the winter months.

2) Go within

As much as it is important to make time to get outside each day, it is also important to honor the natural rhythm of winter by taking time to turn your focus inward. Winter is a time for quiet contemplation. Animals hibernate during this time of year in order to rest and prepare for the season ahead. The trees and plants start doing their deep work underground. We can take a cue from nature and do the same.

Journaling is a great way to connect with your intuition by doing some quiet reflection and introspection. Take some time to journal about the things that you need to let go of. What anger, resentment, or frustrations are you holding onto? Make a choice to let them go. Let go of old grudges. Decide to forgive someone that has hurt you, maybe even yourself. This time of year is the perfect time to have these difficult conversations with yourself. It is important to allow yourself the quiet space to make peace with your past and release all that is no longer serving you so that you can start to move forward as your best possible self.

After you have let go of the things that are weighing you down, it’s time to shift your focus to the future. Winter is the perfect time to start to focus on your desires and create a vision for what you most want from life. Set some goals and decide to go after your dreams. Get clear on your vision, create a game plan and decide to do something you’ve always wanted to do.

3) Warm yourself from the inside out

Since the temperatures outside are so cold during this time of year, it is important for us to learn to build heat from the inside out. Exercise is one of the best ways to do this. Find a form of movement that works best for you and make a commitment to move your body everyday. Take a hot yoga or vinyasa class, try a new pilates studio, start a weight training program, or begin training to run a 5k. Physical activity gets our inner fire burning and releases natural endorphins that make us feel good!

Another way to start to tend to your inner fire is by drinking and eating warm foods and drinks. This is the perfect time to experiment in the kitchen and try some nice, warm stews and soups, hot toddy cocktails, or soothing teas.

These three strategies may seem simple, but if you start to practice them consistently, you will notice a major difference in your mood. The key is to be gentle with yourself. It can be challenging to start new habits, so start slow. Pick the activity that seems the easiest for you to implement, and start there. Once you have made that a habit, you can start to incorporate the others little by little. Remind yourself that in order to feel better, you need to do the things that will help you make that shift. “If you do what you always did, then you’ll get what you always got.” Take good care of  yourself by deciding to do things differently this winter.

Wishing you a happy and warm week ahead.

Be well,
Ambar

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Get Grounded

get grounded

Have you ever noticed how great you feel after spending a day at the beach? This could be in part due to the fact that you’ve spent some time barefoot! Grounding, or earthing, is the practice of making direct contact with the earth. The earth has a positive, grounding energy that can be extremely beneficial to our health and wellbeing.

Our ancestors spent their lives deeply connected to the earth. They walked around barefoot, grew and harvested their own crops, and even slept on the ground! In modern society, we have grown very disconnected from the earth. We wear rubber soles on our feet, have tile flooring in our homes, and can go weeks or even months without connecting to the earth below us. The earth does so much to support us… quite literally! It has natural healing properties that can be very beneficial to us when we take time to connect to it.

These are some of the many benefits that grounding can have on you:

  • Better sleep
  • Increased energy
  • More positive mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Less chronic pain
  • Stronger immune system
  • Feelings of wellbeing in your mind and body

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This may sound a little strange to you if you’ve never heard of it before, but it’s such a quick and easy way to improve your health that it’s definitely worth a try!

Dedicate some time each day over the next week to make direct contact with the earth. Go for a barefoot walk on the beach, kick off your shoes and run across the lawn, lay out on the ground and sunbathe, sit on the grass and meditate, or work on your garden with your bare hands. The summer is the perfect time to practice getting grounded. Give it a try, and then comment below and let me know if you notice any changes!

Be well,
Ambar