As a certified holistic nutritionist and health coach, I love helping hard-working, busy moms take control of junk food cravings and mindless eating habits so they can go from out of control to cruise control. I’ve noticed something happening with moms who have a young child at home, or for moms who have gone from one to two or more. I’m curious – do these sound like you?
- “I rarely prioritize self-care or my overall well-being.”
- “I get discouraged because I lack discipline.”
- “I eat when I’m not even hungry.”
- “I rarely choose healthy options.”
If these weren’t part of your narrative before becoming a mom (or before going from one to two kids), then chances are you’re operating in survival mode. You’re stuck in a cycle that was created while you were distracted with trying to just make it all work.
Habits like mindless eating or skipping out on taking care of yourself probably seemed fine at the time because you were waiting for things to die down, but they never really did and now you’re stuck with these habits. It’s a common problem for busy moms, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it.
This is telling on myself a little bit, but it reminds me of falling asleep while watching YouTube. The videos that end up playing are now in your history if you have autoplay turned on in your YouTube account, and you end up finding a watch history of these videos that are not really in alignment with your preferences.
The same thing happens with our healthy habits when we’ve “fallen asleep” and are just going through the motions. We are no longer using our critical thinking skills; we’re doing things that just naturally happen. You end up falling into patterns that aren’t necessarily positive.
There are three steps to snapping out of it so you can take back your life and start to prioritize self-care.
The first step for busy moms is to slow down, hard as it may be. Make the intentional and conscious decision to be present at the moment. When we’re taking actions that are not in alignment with the way we want to be, it’s usually because we’re not fully present in the moment. If we find that we’re misplacing things often or losing our train of thought all the time, it’s because we’re moving too fast. It’s okay – you have full permission to slow down.
Find Yourself Again
Start getting back to who you are. Another reason that we give in to the mindless eating is that we’ve fully thrown ourselves into motherhood and we’re just so laser-focused on that and the household and other things that we’re responsible for. What ends up happening is we start losing pieces of our identity. Once we start doing that, we become this shell of who we really are.
You might be thinking, “Oh, easier said than done” because that is part of the vicious cycle, right? It doesn’t have to be taking a long weekend with your friends or going out for a massage or anything like that. This could be as simple as after you’ve put your child (or kids) to bed, taking 15 minutes before you go to sleep to just chill and do something small that is meaningful to you.
Use that time to get back in touch with who you are as a human. Combined with slowing down and being present at the moment, starting to remember who you are and making sure you’re doing at least one small, tiny thing – even if it’s just five minutes a day or 30 minutes a week – will help with moving off of autopilot and toward the right trajectory.
Take Stock of Your Food Habits
To get a better handle on what you’re really eating on any given day, I want you to do a 24-hour recall of your day. This is something you can do right after putting the kids to bed and before you go to sleep – it takes maybe five minutes.
Sit down and go through your waking hours. What are you filling your day with? Pay extra attention to the times when you eat. Ask yourself:
- What did you eat?
- What were you doing right before?
- What mood were you in before and what mood were you in after?
- What were you thinking leading up to that?
- Why did you choose the food that you did?
Do that for a full 24 hours, or 48 if you’ve got the time. Really look through your answers after you’ve written it all out. Review and reflect to see what patterns jump out at you. It should be pretty eye-opening.
So, slow down, try to be gentle with yourself, and be present in the moment. Start getting back to who you are by doing one small thing that’s just for you. Take stock of what you’re filling your day with. For example, inventory the tasks, activities, how you’re eating, and what your thoughts are throughout the day. That will be a great jumping-off point to help you prioritize self-care and start getting away from mindless eating. Once those things are in place, you will be in a better position to start reaching for healthier options.
If this is something that resonates with you, leave a comment below. If you have any questions, you can comment about that, too, or send me a message.