Autonomy ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ”โœŠ GMB Fitness

Why You're Eating (and why it matters)

September 24, 2020 GMB Fitness Season 2
Autonomy ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ”โœŠ GMB Fitness
Why You're Eating (and why it matters)
Chapters
2:09
The Difference Between Self-Soothingย and Self-Compassion
11:40
Ways to Have Self-Compassion
26:55
Bonus Tip
Autonomy ๐Ÿคธโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ”โœŠ GMB Fitness
Why You're Eating (and why it matters)
Sep 24, 2020 Season 2
GMB Fitness

We've all turned to the tub of ice cream (or whatever your favorite comfort food is) after a rough day. Eating to self-soothe does work. It's a normal and human thing to do. But when we get in the habit of using it as our only way to manage stress or emotions, we can start to feel like we aren't in the driver's seat with our eating anymore.

In this episode, we explore how self-compassion means doing what matters to us, even when we are stressed and uncomfortable. Self-compassion is often very difficult, and involves being with our own imperfections.

We cover:

  • how eating to self-soothe can get in the way of our goals
  • how perfection dieting is the antithesis to eating skills and true progress
  • the difference between self-soothing and self-compassion
  • what self-compassion is and why it's important to both skill-development and getting the results we want


Whether it's training your eating skills or handstand, the same principle applies: whoever is able to get in the most practice makes the best progress towards their goals.

Support the show (https://gmb.io/podcast/)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We've all turned to the tub of ice cream (or whatever your favorite comfort food is) after a rough day. Eating to self-soothe does work. It's a normal and human thing to do. But when we get in the habit of using it as our only way to manage stress or emotions, we can start to feel like we aren't in the driver's seat with our eating anymore.

In this episode, we explore how self-compassion means doing what matters to us, even when we are stressed and uncomfortable. Self-compassion is often very difficult, and involves being with our own imperfections.

We cover:

  • how eating to self-soothe can get in the way of our goals
  • how perfection dieting is the antithesis to eating skills and true progress
  • the difference between self-soothing and self-compassion
  • what self-compassion is and why it's important to both skill-development and getting the results we want


Whether it's training your eating skills or handstand, the same principle applies: whoever is able to get in the most practice makes the best progress towards their goals.

Support the show (https://gmb.io/podcast/)

Ryan:
All right. We are recording. What is up everyone out there in GMB land? Welcome to the Gigabyte Metropolis Bananagram podcast. It just keep getting better every time. Now, the Bananagram, we've decided to step away from Instagram. We've created our own app, calling it the Bananagram.

Josh:
That's what that is.

Ryan:
That's what that is. That's what that is. How you doing Josh?

Josh:
Pretty good man. How you doing?

Ryan:
Great man. Really good.

Josh:
Cool. Cool.

Ryan:
Talk a little bit about food because that's what you do, that's your shtick, right?

Josh:
That's what I do. Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan:
Yeah. Today we're going to be going a little bit deep. We always go deep. Actually going to look at food in relation to how it can help to calm us down, and chill us out, if you will. It's what works for me, especially when you put a little extra stuff in there that you can only get in California and some other places in the United States. I'm not condoning drug use. Okay. That was a joke everyone. Okay.

Josh:
Except in California and other states.

Ryan:
Except in California and Colorado and some other states. But basically we're looking at using food to self-soothe and how that can help in the short term. So we all have busy lives, working hard, taking care of our family, community. And especially during these weird times in the world, sometimes we can have a little bit of stress, just a little bit of stress. And so today we're-

Josh:
Right now?

Ryan:
No. I know it's really hard to believe that, but it's true. There is some stress, especially in the United States and particular states in particular. That's the theme for today. But yeah. We're going to talk a little bit about how the self-soothing though, in terms of food, can actually become a habit and sometimes not a good thing. So let's get right into it Josh. You can learn us. Learn us good.

Josh:
Well, let's get some of that learning.

The Difference Between Self-Soothing and Self-Compassion

Ryan:
Learning. Learning us good. So talk to me about this man. What's up with this self-soothing stuff with food.

Josh:
So food actually works really well for self-soothing which is why people do it, right? And it's one of those things where a lot of folks get in the habit of self-soothing with food at a pretty young age. A lot of times we're taught to self-soothe with food, and in the worst case scenario it becomes our only way to manage stress and emotions and procrastination and all these other things. And so the trick is, it works sometimes, we probably don't want to use it all the time. We probably want other things. And there's a conversation that shows up a lot of times between dieting versus self-compassion. And people are like, "Is self-compassion, self-soothing? Does that mean that I eat to manage my emotions? Or how does that work?" So it can be super useful to look at the distinction between deprivation and restriction, versus self-soothing versus self-compassion, which we're going to frame as this thing that's actually in the middle. And it's distinct from self-soothing and it's also distinct from never having some food to chill.

Ryan:
All right. I'm going to interrupt you right there. So let's give some examples of what you're talking about. So if we're talking about... And I'm sure this probably makes sense to everybody out there, but in case you're still kind of like, "All right. Self-soothing. What are you talking about?" Give some examples of where this happens. For example... Well, I'll let you do it. This is your thing.

Josh:
Let's say you're stressed out at work, you're having a bad work day, whatever that thing that happens that's hard for you, whether it's your boss yelling at you, or a customer yelling at you, or the project deadline gets moved up. You get something, you're stressed out, right? So the dieting approach would be like, "I cannot have anything because it does not fit my rules," right? Self-soothing approach would be like, "I feel terrible. I'm going to make this feeling go away immediately with some food." And maybe that chocolate chip cookie actually does really work to mellow out and chill out a little bit. And everyone's had some version of that. And it could be existential crisis late at night before you go to sleep and you have... I mean, it could be a lot of different things, but it's some version of, "I'm going to need some food to chill."

Ryan:
Yeah man. That tub of Ben & Jerry's is screaming at me to be eaten.

Josh:
Right. I keep coming back to the fact that it works because especially people that have been through a lot of diets, they're always like, "Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep doing this?" And it's even a function of when people say that they're addicted to sugar, right? Or they're like, "I just can't..." The majority of clients that we've worked with that have been like, "Oh, I'm addicted to sugar." Or, "I can't resist the tub of Ben & Jerry's." Almost without exception, what it really comes down to is, they have no other coping strategies, and so of course it feels irresistible. You've got nothing else, right?

Ryan:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Josh:
So we should talk about self-compassion, which is a different thing.

Ryan:
Yeah. So it's interesting, I've been lucky, I guess, maybe that I haven't really gravitated towards food. I'm more along the lines of just as long as I can choke people out on a daily basis, I'm good.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Yeah. So anyway. I just thought it through a little bit in there. But-

Josh:
Unconscious people in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it just makes you feel good.

Ryan:
I feel great. I go home. I'm like, "The day's great and I can sleep now." Self-compassion, let's talk a little bit about self-compassion.

Josh:
So self-compassion. The way that we look at self-compassion and the way it shows up in certain kinds of research. And the way we teach it in the course is, self-compassion is being able to be with your own imperfections, and be with your own ups and downs, and moods, and be able to be with your stress and still being able to take actions in line with your values right? And the thing that's really messy about that is that it's context dependent, right? What could be a value to action is different in different contexts. And so that means that sometimes the thing you do might be having some food to self-soothe, but other times it might be doing some deep breathing, or it might be going for a walk, or it might be calling someone that you love, or it might be hugging a pet. It could be different things in different situations.

Josh:
Like that time that you got stressed out in the middle of your work day, you might not have the option of going for a walk or hugging your pet. But at night at home, you maybe totally can, right? And then you could also look at levels of like, "Oh, here's the worst thing that ever happened to me. You know what? I am going to crush a pizza." Or, "Here's the thing that stresses me out every single Thursday because I've got this stressful meeting," maybe we need some something else. And so self-compassion would be, let's look at how to deal with those feelings. And let's look at things that we can do for you. Realizing that you are a human that has these feelings, but they also don't need to be fixed always, right?

Ryan:
Yeah. And as I mentioned in the very beginning, the start of the Bananagram podcast is that... We're going deep today. And so these aren't things where it's... And I'm not saying that these are easy, but what I mean is they're not easy things like, okay, you need to look at particular skills, like plating your food, eating every four to five hours, like that. We're talking some psychological things happening here. And so I think self-compassion, extremely important, we both agree on that. Obviously it is extremely important. I think that really though, one thing that we both talk about a lot is that awareness and understanding when that happened.

Ryan:
You brought something up that I think is wonderful, that we could talk a little bit more about, and that is knowing that something is going to occur, and making sure that you understand that because you're aware of it, and therefore having a plan of action. And so the example you gave is every Thursday, knowing that there's going to be a particular meeting that really stresses you out. Good. Great. That's where you can start. You know this is going to happen. Therefore, looking at what is the worst thing that can happen. And then looking at that worst thing, being aware of that and saying, "This usually happens to me, but in this case I will instead focus on my breathing or something."

Ryan:
I mean, that's a very stoic way of doing it. Stoicism, something I really love, and that's completely different topic. But what you're just talking about really jumped out at me because that is something that we can control. We know this is going to happen, we're aware of it, but what usually happens? Well, I get angry or... Pardon me. We have this meeting at Thursday, I get super stressed out, can't do anything at work. So the first thing I do afterwards is I go and I end up X, okay? Well, if you know that's going to happen then how can you actually reframe the situation so that you're being compassionate to yourself because let's be honest, what usually happens in the end is, we're triggered by an event or something, we do something and then we feel bad because we did it.

Ryan:
And so I think really the heart of the matter, really, is that's what you're saying is that self-compassion is just saying, "All right. Taking in notice of what's going on here and then handling it appropriately by being compassionate towards ourself for the outcome." But yeah. That was just something I was thinking about because there's so many different forms, that it's not just eating, but it could be an alcoholic, could be anything really. Taking it out on your spouse, having a bad day-

Josh:
It could also be smaller things. It could also be numbing out on Facebook.

Ryan:
There you go. Great. Or Bananagram. Exactly. But yeah. Let's bring this back in and I would like for you to talk a little bit more about that. And for example... Go ahead. Go ahead.

Ways to Have Self-Compassion

Josh:
What I love about what you just said, and I just want to highlight it again because it's so useful, is that's such a easy way to make it concrete, right? To look at your week and to plan ahead of time. And to say, "You know what? Thursday is going to be really hard. What can I plan to do? And also, how can I look at ways to be with it?" And so it could be a matter of, "I know it's going to be stressful. Could I plan in some time to go for a walk at lunch?" Or, "I come home starving. I come home with the experience of feeling really starving because I'm super stressed out after that every time. Can I make sure that every Thursday night I've got either something super easy to prep or it's prepped ahead of time, right? And then, so-

Ryan:
Yeah. Setting yourself up for success. Sorry. Yeah. Yeah. Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Yeah.

Josh:
Oh, so just like the if-then planning of the logistics, and then the other thing that I love that you said is kind of looking at the experience of how bad it could get. Because really the biggest issue people have with stuff like that is actually, did they get caught flatfooted over and over again? They're continually surprised by actually the same stuff. And it's one of those things where we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives, we're just not really aware. And so you really can look at your week and go, "Okay. I need some extra self-care. I actually probably can't put it in right when I need it, but maybe I can put it in either on the weekend or the night after or whatever.

Josh:
And then the other aspect is... We can't forget this. The other aspect it's always normalizing it. The clients that we get in Eating Skills tend to be people that have jobs that have stress, and they've got families and they... I really want to frame it inside of the fact that they've got really cool jobs, and they do really important things. And they've got a bunch of kids and they've got all these really good things. And sometimes all those things collide in a way that's a lot for their schedule and a lot to manage. And we really have to get to that the stress that they feel is normal, and it's something that anyone would feel with that much going on at that time. And the self-compassion is, it's not about being some kind of a super robot, it's actually about recognizing this is actually a lot to handle right now, right?

Ryan:
Yeah. And you said this before, but understanding that we are human and not beating yourself up for it. We all make mistakes, okay? It's allowing yourself to be human. But then also understanding that, we were just talking about, that by taking action and being aware and understanding that there are, like I said, things you can control because you know about them, and you can start in trying to set you set yourself up so that you won't come down hard on yourself later for something that you could've controlled.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan:
So yeah. Yeah. Let's kind of shift here a little bit and look at dieting versus the self-compassion.

Josh:
Yeah. So dieting is always like a game of perfectionism, right? It's always like, "Here are the rules and how close can I get to perfection?" Self-compassion is literally the opposite of that. It's a game where we know that we're human, and we know that we're not perfect, and we know we'll make mistakes, and we're going to take actions in line with our values anyway, right? And once people get there, then they can actually do anything that they want. If you don't have to be perfect and if you're allowed to make mistakes, you can get in so much more practice, right? And more practice always wins, right?

Ryan:
Absolutely right.

Josh:
Right.

Ryan:
Yeah man. Yeah. Right there. I mean, this sums up so much stuff what you just said. And looking at... Well, there's two things. Sorry to interrupt.

Josh:
No it's great. I love it.

Ryan:
But looking at not comparing yourself with others, okay? That's a huge one. Because any time you see it's just diet out there. It's unfortunate that the word diet has changed, going from the nutrition that we put into our body to losing weight and being ripped is what we see in the media. And end up comparing with other people. And then the other thing is that practice portion of it, and letting yourself just, not be bad, but like I like to say, embrace the suck, understand that you're going to be bad in the beginning, but also something else is taking a look at good is good enough, and what does good mean to you? Again, people misunderstand what we're trying to say. It's not that we're trying to be perfect. We're just trying to say, "Okay. In order for me to just be good, what does that mean? And be good, not as a good person, but in order to look at my nutrition, "Do I really need to count calories all the time? Do I need to try and hit my macros? And if I don't, I'm a bad person sort of thing.

Ryan:
We're saying, probably not, okay? It's more about those habits and the skills and practicing those skills and habits, more than trying to have a diet that's more along the lines of a bodybuilder or somebody else instead of looking at your lifestyle and saying, "I've got this job. I've got my wonderful kids and my family. And therefore, that's probably not how I should be doing things." And I'm not saying that this is going to be for everybody. But again, that's self-compassion and coming back to that without the comparison, without trying to be like somebody else, without thinking that it has to be a particular way, you got to find what's good for you, right?

Josh:
Yeah. Man, there's so much in what you just said. There was so, so, so much. One of the first things that jumped out at me was so... Well, actually two things jumped out to me. One was comparison and the other one was, inside of my life with all these things that matter to me, do I have to count calories, get it perfect, everything like that. And so the first thing we have to handle is, the diet industry creates a superstition that that's what it takes to get results, right? So if you tell people that nutrition is super fragile, and if you don't get it perfect, that they won't get any results, then of course, they're going to feel an enormous pressure to do that. So we have to realize that nutrition isn't that fragile. It's not even close. And it's one of those things where you can practice the skills and guidelines and... We have a lot of clients that will practice them, 12 meals a week or 15 meals a week.

Josh:
They're not doing every single meal and they're still getting the results they're looking for, right? And they're still getting more autonomy around food. They still feel like, "Oh wow. I'm not emotional eating. That's working. Oh I'm not having seconds just out of habit. That's working." They're doing all these things that actually fit inside of self-compassion because they're actually aware of what's going on. And it actually works. And so the perfectionism, it's so superstitious and I feel really bad because people are trained that way.

Josh:
And the other thing that you said was about comparison. And the thing about comparison is we have to realize that we're, again, taught to compare in a lot of ways, but nothing could be clearer than the research on comparison and how much it lowers our wellbeing, how much it reduces our connection to others and how much it reduces the amount of practice that we do, right? Because we don't feel like we measure up and so we end up doing less practice. And again, practice is what gets us what we want. So the thing about that though is, again, it comes back to self-compassion, realizing that we have been taught those things.

Josh:
You don't need to make those thoughts go away. You're going to have thoughts about perfectionism. You're going to have thoughts about dieting. You're going to have thoughts about comparing yourself to other people because you've had those thoughts for decades. They might lessen, they might dim, they might have less control over your actions, but realizing that, "Oh. That's a diet thought. That's comparison thought. That's something that my parents said. That's something that a kid told me in PE class." We can recognize those and have them there and still take actions in line with our values, and do our practice and do things that matter to us. And that's really key because a lot of people think that they have to make those go away. That's one of those things where, have a little bit self-compassion and realize that you've been kind of programmed. And it's okay to have them show up and know what they are and still do what matters.

Ryan:
There. And that's it. And do what matters and what does that mean to you, right? So what matters to you really? And that's that self-compassion you're talking about. You're listening to us right now. It's GMB. You know that that's what we're after. Just because I show you a particular skill or a trick doesn't mean that it's necessarily good for you, to be perfectly honest. It needs to fat... It needs to fat. Goodness, gracious. It needs to fit. It needs to fit within your goals as well as your values. And that's the other big thing too, right? Because it's going to be different for everybody and just what's good for me or other people doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be good for you right there. And so this is great. Yeah. Self-compassion, right? Values. Taking actions with your values and figuring out what matters to you.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ryan:
Lots you talked about. We can keep talking on forever, forever. I'm going to kind of wrap this up a little bit. Yeah. Lots of different things that you talked about in there. We're just trying to feel better. Really. That's all it is. And just try and say, "Okay. Is this making me feel better?" Not right now necessarily because if you do something. And the example was to sit down and eat a pint or gallon, whatever, of ice cream. Yeah. You might feel better at the moment, but how's that going to make you feel later? And really looking beyond that, and doing the things that are good for you, even when you feel bad, like you said. And I think that kind of comes down to that. And awareness. So setting yourself up for success when you can, knowing that things are going to come up. Something that I do suggest, and you have, everyone do this as well, is journaling if you can. I always think journaling is a fabulous thing.

Josh:
Absolutely.

Ryan:
Writing your thoughts down. And again, very deep. Some of you might think it's kind of woo woo stuff, but to be perfectly honest, it works. Go ahead. What were you going to say?

Josh:
Oh. I was just going to say that that's actually a very concrete thing that a person can do in the moment. You feel bad. You feel stressed. You feel whatever you feel. And you're like, "Oh, I need to eat something to fix it," right? Journaling, if you just blah all over the page what you're feeling. It's actually called cognitive defusion. But it creates a little bit of separation where people are.... So this is one of those things that's mind boggling. People are better at handling an emotion with any coping strategy. Any coping strategy they use will be more effective if they actually distinguish what they're feeling and thinking. And so just the act of writing it down, whatever you do to manage it, will be more effective.

Ryan:
That's super cool. That's really cool.

Josh:
Right. So anyway. I just want to highlight that because it's really powerful and it's a thing you could do. You can take 90 seconds to write down what you're feeling and you'll be more effective.

Ryan:
Yeah. Yeah. And to bring this also, that's why we also have Ponder. That's at the end of all of our exercise sessions. And you know I don't like to say exercise, but our sessions that we have in GMB is ponder. And that's another way that you can look at this. And where you can do it in the moment, and you can also look at it as, for example, after you perform your elements or whatever exercise session that you're doing, but also you do encourage people after meals, for example, to do that. Different ways to do that.

Ryan:
So thank you so much. This was great. Very deep. I love talking about this, you know I do. But practice. Practice. Focus on those skills. Focus on those skills. I do encourage you, if you haven't checked out Eating Skills, if you feel this is something that you're interested in, and if you've really looked at diets and with the lens of dieting, then if you're listening to this, definitely go check out Eating Skills and just read what it's about. Because I love it. And just before the podcast, by the way, I was telling Josh about some things that I've done just simply by being here on the podcast with him and listening to things, that's really made some huge differences for me. Huge. And just focusing on those habits and skills. And wow. Yeah. Maybe that's something we can talk about later. Quick, to finish this up a bonus tip for us.

Bonus Tip

Josh:
So I had a bonus tip that I was going to give. I don't think it's as good as the, when you feel bad write it down for a minute.

Ryan:
Cool. I love that.

Josh:
I think that's just super useful. I kind of want to leave it there.

Ryan:
Yeah. I like that man. I love it. Journal. Write that stuff down. Write that stuff down. So thank you again. Josh looking forward to talking to you again. If you have any questions, of course, just leave a comment. You know where to find us, GMB Fitness anywhere on the socials, on the interwebs, anywhere you can find us. Leave a message, we'd love to hear from you. And until next time. Be kind to yourself. Later everybody. Bye bye.

Josh:
Later everyone.


The Difference Between Self-Soothingย and Self-Compassion
Ways to Have Self-Compassion
Bonus Tip