I used to be an emotional eater and would stuff feelings down with hobnob biscuits or bourbon biscuits if my student grant was pretty much used up and pay-day for my part-time job was a little while away.
This sort of self-care with food doesn’t work. It doesn’t make you feel any better. It doesn’t fix things. All that happens is you end up still feeling the crappy feelings with added guilt on top.
When I realised this I became more conscious of what I was eating and why and I began to lean into my feelings and thoughts. Leaning into feelings is what emotional eaters try to avoid.
What got me off the cycle of eating too much and then dieting and over-exercising was eating regular meals and snacks that nourished my body. I befriended my body and realised that by keeping my body fuelled well I guarded against the hollowness that led to the over-eating. My weight went down and became more stable.
I found out years later that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and that this was one of the reasons that I struggled with eating sugar, my blood sugar and my energy levels.
I tried a number of ways of eating to help with PCOS including vegan, plant-based and diet’s with a concentrated amount of protein / Paleo diet. Finally I tried low glycemic load diet (different from low GI) and this seems to be working best for me at the moment.
I eat three meals a day and two to three small snacks. The food I eat is nutritious and allows me more energy for the ballet workouts I do six days a week and all the work of being a mummy and running my home and my own business.
Now when I eat or prepare a meal I do it with the intention of caring for my body or of caring for the health of my family. I eat sitting down and think ahead if I am going to be out of the house at meal times or snack times. In these cases I try to take something with me or aim to have a low GL meal when I am out and about.
Sometimes it’s not convenient, sometimes it means extra work getting prepared, but it is a key part of what I do to care for myself. It means picking the thing on the menu that isn’t the cheapest, not ordering take-aways and cooking from scratch at home with fresh ingredients.
If you are interested in finding out more about low GL, Patrick Holford’s books are a good place to begin, particularly ‘The Low GL diet made easy.’ The food is unfussy and family friendly. (not an affiliate endorsement)
Whether you have PCOS or not it’s really important that mums find a way of eating that fuels all the work they do and gives them the energy to enjoy life.
Here are 5 tips for a health yummy mummy:
1. Eat a nutritious breakfast.
2. Balance your blood sugar with a low GL diet or a diet low on sugar and processed foods.
3. Lower the amount of caffeine or alcohol you have. I’ve chosen to cut these out as they were not great for my hormones. When you have PCOS the aim is to balance your hormones and your blood sugar levels.
I do sometimes have some green tea and have been having Twining’s Cherry Bakewell Green Tea this week, but prefer yogi teas without caffeine.
4. Get to bed at a decent hour. When you are tired the temptation is to eat more.
5. Work on your relationship with food and with yourself. This or this book are good places to begin.
None of this is medical advice or is what you should do. Recognise that what put into your body is a key part of your self-care as a mother.
I’d love to hear from you, do you see what you eat as being part of your self-care as a mother? Let me know in the comments below.
If you’d like a 15 minute pitch free mini-session to help you with nourishing yourself as a form of self-care then sign up here. We can meet together by phone or Skype and you’ll leave with one tip tailored specially for you to help you to a life that feels lovely.