This week’s topic is: Best Of: Balancing Our Emotions
I am excited to share more about Balancing Our Emotions. Since 2015, when we started the podcast, we have really expanded our resources around Emotional Well-Being.
As always, our lovely Katelyn is here with me today to help us through our Best Of Series while I am out on maternity leave through July. I truly hope you are enjoying these shows which we specifically choose based on their popularity with the community.
Have you been wondering about this very topic? If you want to know the answer to this question and 3 more sent in by Beauties just like you, listen now to find out!
Remember you can submit your questions at https://mysolluna.com/askkimberly/
Beth – NY
In one of your vlogs you mentioned how our emotions can cause bloating. Can you share some realistic tips on how not to let our emotions get the best of us?
Jenny – Seattle, WA
I recently broke up with my boyfriend and I have been binge eating sweets. It is the only thing that makes me feel better. I feel really guilty since I am gaining weight and don’t have great energy now. How can I satisfy my emotional state but still force myself to have better nutrition?
Ann – Chandler, Arizona
How do I know if I’m stress eating or if my body just needs the food I’m cravin
Dawn – Durham, North Carolina
I feel like I have no willpower when it comes to controlling myself around certain comfort foods. Where do I even begin? I don’t really want to stop but I’ve gained 10lbs?
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Other Podcasts you may enjoy!:
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Kimberly: Hey, Beauties. Welcome back to our Thursday Q&A podcast where our topic is Best Of: Balancing Our Emotions. I am so excited to share about this topic with you guys because back in 2015, I think around that year was when we started the podcast, and since then, emotional wellbeing has become such a big part of our philosophy. It was a big part of my latest book, Recipes for Your Perfectly Imperfect Life. It’s one of our Four Cornerstones, which are food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth, and the more I’ve gone along in my wellness journey and as a wellness expert and teacher, I realize more and more how much our mental health and our emotional side does affect our bodies, our health, our hormones, our energy, so on and so forth, so we really do need to take this holistic approach.
Kimberly: Besides our show today, I also want to remind you if you haven’t yet downloaded our Four Cornerstones of True Beauty ebook, please do yourself a favor and head over to mysolluna.com and get your copy. It’s free. It’s really a rich resource in getting started with this lifestyle, including balancing your emotions, which again, is essential, I think, to true beauty.
Kimberly: As always, our lovely Katelyn is here with me today to help us through our Best Of series. I am out on maternity leave now through July, so I really hope that you’re enjoying these Best Of shows, which we specifically chose based on their popularity with the community, and if you missed my announcement last week, I am so thrilled to share with you that we are bringing back our updated 30 Day Roadmap for Healthy Weight Loss. This program is very comprehensive. It has videos from me, there’s guides, there’s eating plans, there’s shopping lists, and this program is really focused on changing not only how you eat, but how you can shift your mood, balance your life, find more peace and joy.
Kimberly: We know the physical body has such a profound impact on the mental-emotional space, and yes, the goal, of course, is healthy weight loss, but there’s so many other benefits when you take it from this approach, this holistic approach. There’s many ways to lose weight, but you may end up more constipated, more moody, more imbalanced, but I’m really excited about our 30-Day Roadmap. There’s a lot of love in it, and I think it’s a really, really useful and effective program, so if you haven’t yet tried it, now’s the time. Text TRYROADMAP to 5558888 for a special offer today.
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Kimberly: All right, all that being said, quick reminder to please leave us a review on iTunes, which is a great way to support the show, and also to subscribe to our show so you make sure to stay tuned in to all the interview podcasts and Q&A shows. There’s a lot there. All that being said, let’s dive in, K, with today’s show.
Question 1: In one of your vlogs, you mentioned how our emotions can cause bloating. Can you share some realistic tips on how not to let our emotions get the best of us?
Katelyn: Okay, so this one’s good here from Beth living in New York. “In one of your vlogs, you mentioned how our emotions can cause bloating. Can you share some realistic tips on how not to let our emotions get the best of us?”
Kimberly: Beth, thank you so much for your question. I’m so happy that you’re watching the vlogs, which are generally about five minutes, so you beauties that haven’t checked them out, you can check them out over at mysolluna.com. We put them out every week around different health and beauty topics, so another great source of info for you guys.
Kimberly: Now, emotions can definitely cause bloating and I want you guys to think about what bloating really is. It is an energy of blockage, right? It’s sort of like in a river, if a bunch of big boulders are tumbled down the mountain and clog the flow of the river, so to speak, right? It’s an obstruction and physically what happens with food is if the food doesn’t flow in an efficient way through our GI tract, it’s meant to go from our stomach to the top of our small intestine called our “duodenum.” It’s meant to go into our intestine and we start to pull nutrition into our bloodstream. If they get stuck in our stomach for longer than it should be in there, it starts to ferment prematurely, it starts to break down, it starts to petrify, and gases start to become released, and that’s really bloating, is that inefficient flow.
Kimberly: We know that dairy and gluten and certain foods can cause bloating, but back to your question, Beth, about emotions and again, when we talk about the Four Cornerstones, they’re so interconnected that there is a flow between all the four corners. If we think about an emotion like guilt, a little bit similarly to what Patty was talking about in the last question, or shame or body shame, saying to ourselves over and over again, “Hey, I’m so fat. I’m so dumb. Why did I do that? I should be doing more in my day,” we are creating a stuck energy, a blockage, a loop pattern, a circular thought pattern that isn’t flowing through. We’re sticking with an emotion, right?
Kimberly: It’s the same kind of thing like the rocks that block the river, it creates a stuckness, and that stuckness isn’t just in our mind, it starts to translate physically because energy transfers on all levels, so what happens is our body starts to tighten around that loop, that thought pattern, and it can influence our hormones. We go into fight-or-flight mode, our sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive, and when we are in fight-or-flight mode, automatically our digestive system slows down and bloating can occur and our adrenals get exhausted and stress hormones like cortisol gets secreted and all sorts of physiological changes happen in our body from our emotions.
Kimberly: When we understand that, we pay more attention to our emotions, just like we pay more attention to food as we go down the wellness journey, and to your question, Beth, the second part about how not to let our emotions get the best of us is to pause and really feel the emotions instead of thinking. Now, what I mean by that is, and this is the letting-go technique that I talk about in Recipes for Your Perfectly Imperfect Life, my last book. I didn’t get this for a very long time because I would think through what to do and how to respond and what email I was going to say and justify why I was right and this person was wrong or they messed up and that just keeps the energy there.
Kimberly: Thinking is a very small part of our energy. It’s the surface part of our brain, right, and so all the yogis, Yogananda, modern teachers like Eckhart Tolle talk about this idea of going beyond thought and the way we know we let our emotions pass through is we let them be deeply felt, which lasts about, according to Dr. David Hawkins, 10 minutes or less, so we feel that anxiousness or that resentment or the anger or the sadness or whatever it is, and by letting ourselves really feel it, instead of thinking of the justifications or distracting with YouTube or Instagram or alcohol or a cookie or whatever it is, we feel it, and then it’s like pulling out a thorn or ripping off a Band-Aid. It comes out, it goes through, and then we can more calmly respond versus react and we move forward.
Kimberly: Now, sometimes in the moment, it’s just like a 10-second pause is all you got and that’s going to be take a breath before you really respond, but then the things that linger, if your friend did something that didn’t feel good, or whatever, your partner, or something is sitting with you, try to take some time, whether it’s at lunch or in the afternoon or before bed, whatever it is, and really feel into what happened and stop the thoughts. Don’t go to the thoughts, go to the feelings that are arising in your body and let those be felt. I have to say from personal experience, since I started doing this practice a couple of years ago, I cry sometimes by myself. It doesn’t always feel so great in the moment, but it does process through and it does help me move forward and I think it’s one of the most powerful things we can do to heal on a deeper level and to not let emotions cause physical breakdowns and physical issues in our body.
Katelyn: Hmm. So many of us, too, I think, are conditioned to stomach what we’re feeling or we resist the emotions and we don’t want to accept it’s happening.
Kimberly: Exactly, it becomes worse.
Katelyn: Yeah, and it does make it worse. I think that those are really great tips to bring up because a lot of people don’t even know where to begin with that, or maybe even that they’re doing it, so I think it’s great to bring awareness around that and just ways we can try to work with our emotions as opposed to fighting against them constantly.
Question 2: I recently broke up with my boyfriend and I have been binge-eating on sweets. It’s the only thing that makes me feel better. I feel really guilty since I’m gaining weight and I don’t have great energy. How can I satisfy my emotional state, but still force myself to eat and have better nutrition?
Katelyn: This next question comes from Jenny and she lives in Seattle, Washington and she writes, “I recently broke up with my boyfriend and I have been binge-eating on sweets. It’s the only thing that makes me feel better. I feel really guilty since I’m gaining weight and I don’t have great energy. How can I satisfy my emotional state, but still force myself to eat and have better nutrition?”
Kimberly: Jenny, thank you so much for writing in. We give you a big virtual hug.
Kimberly: Sending love. This is tough. I know. You know, K.
Katelyn: Yes, very tough.
Kimberly: Relationships are complicated and these parts of life, sometimes we just need to let ourselves cry and feel and work through these transitions. In the beginning, if it felt like you just needed some treats, you just needed that extra comfort, that’s okay. This is not a normal everyday experience and it can be very shocking to our worlds and to our familiarity and what we know and our safety, so first of all, I want to say it’s okay and we give you a hug and time will heal all. This, too, will pass. I will say, though, because you are writing in, subconsciously and consciously, there’s part of you that says “I’m ready to move past this particular behavior now. I used it and it worked and now I’m ready to try something else that will feel good.”
Kimberly: There’s two words, though, that stuck out to me in the way you worded your question, one was “forced” and one was “guilt,” so again, just what we talked about, really, there’s no need to feel guilty. You were going through a hard time and you were using food to help shift your mood and now you’re ready to try something else and that’s just a journey, so there’s no guilt necessary. It doesn’t help anything. You can just give yourself a hug, too, and say, “Hey, I was doing my best and it was traumatic for me and that was an easy out and it’s okay,” so guilt isn’t necessary. We just need to shed that, soften that, melt that away.
Kimberly: The second thing is force and I don’t think we ever need to force ourselves to feel like we need to eat healthier, to get more nutrition. I would rather think about an approach of just wanting to experience feeling good, having higher energy. That word came out in your question as well, so it’s not about forks. I definitely believe as we start to go forth and make different decisions and we experience lightness and energy and clarity and focus, then naturally, we keep going that way, so it doesn’t have to feel like this big force and this big pushing.
Kimberly: Along those lines, I will say, Jenny, just walking. Walking is really, really a great way to shift your mood and something I’m really into right now. You can listen to music that makes you feel good or you can just listen to the birds and the sounds wherever you are, getting outside, breathing while you’re walking is great for digestion. It does shift your mood, it doesn’t feel heavy or strenuous. You don’t have to build up all this motivation to go out for this crazy workout or the spin class, you can literally just go for a walk. It gets you in tune with your body, it gets you into your, like I said, your breath, it gets your brain, it can reframe your thinking. There’s oxygen and blood pumped into your brain. I just think it’s a really powerful practice.
Kimberly: It also gets you up. It lifts you from where you are into feeling power: “Hey, I can get up and move instead of sinking on the couch and just eating sweets all day,” which we know isn’t going to feel great longterm. It served its purpose, but I would say, just go for some more walks, Jenny. Get outside, or indoor walking, if it’s raining in Seattle, or being in the mist, in the rain can be okay, too. Just walk, just go for walks. Walk, walk, walk. I think there’s so much healing in walking.
Kimberly: I would also say touch is really healing, so at this point, it can feel really good to just give yourself a treat, invest in some massages or go to some of those Chinese Asian places where you can get a foot massage or give yourself a massage or dry brushing, just touch with your skin can also help to shift your mood and bring you into the here and now. It can feel so nurturing beyond food.
Kimberly: And giving yourself the space to journal, which is something I’m also really into, as you know, K. I write in my journal now every day, every morning. Just pouring out your feelings and just giving yourself that safe space to feel and to acknowledge these feelings and when we repress and suppress and try to rush to feeling fine when we need to process something, that’s when we need these Band-Aids of food and sweetness, alcohol, whatever it is to numb, but if we be, we stay in that state of just letting ourselves feel and go through it, even if it’s not pleasant, I just feel like that is how we process through. We have to feel our feelings and so these are all ways, Jenny, that we can nurture ourselves.
Katelyn: Hmm. I love hearing all the tactile tips that it doesn’t always have to be around food. I was thinking of, “Oh, yeah, when I was dry brushing, it felt good.” You don’t even think that it correlates, so that’s such a nice reminder for the community of different ways that they can be supported.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).
Katelyn: Okay, Beauties, with that, we are going to let Kimberly take a short break and then she’ll be back to answer the last two questions.
Kimberly: Okay, Beauties, we’re back from the break and we have a few more questions for you guys to share around this ever-important topic of balancing our emotions.
Question 3: How do I know if I’m stress-eating or if my body just needs the food I’m craving?
Katelyn: We have Anne from Chandler, Arizona: “How do I know if I’m stress-eating or if my body just needs the food I’m craving?”
Kimberly: Anne, thank you so much for your question. Sending you love out there in Arizona, where I’m sure it’s getting quite toasty these days. A food craving is a pretty complex mix of emotions. There’s definitely a psychological component to it. This is something that I studied and researched and got into a lot of detail and depth in my third book, which is when we met, K. It’s called Beauty Detox Power, so I just want to say off the bat, if you guys are interested in learning more about the difference in the top nine food cravings and what they mean psychologically and physically, please, check that particular book out. As I define it there, as I discuss it there, cravings tend to be chronic, so it’s like we feel that addiction, that pull to that bag of chips or to the cookies or the ice cream or whatever it is. It tends to go on and on and it feels addicting. It feels like we need it. We need it. It feels in the mind.
Kimberly: The difference is if you tune into your body, and I do encourage this, this is a practice that I do now is before I eat, I listen to my body. I ask my body first, I say, “Hey, what do you need right now? What do you want to eat?” and if you sit there and you close your eyes and you can even put your hands physically on your belly, over time, you will start to be able to tune in more. Sometimes, my body will say, “I don’t want a raw salad right now. I need a nice, hot bowl of soup,” or especially now that I’m pregnant, “I need some substance, I need more protein right now,” make a protein smoothie or whatever.
Kimberly: It’s in your body. Your body will tell you answers, but we have to make an effort to connect more with our body, whereas a food craving, again, it can often repeat itself and it feels like this addiction in the mind, and a lot of times, if we start to track it, if we keep some kind of food journal, you’ll notice the connection between something that preceded that in wanting the food, like “I just heard a piece of stressful news,” “I was on the news,” or “I’m feeling really lonely right now,” or “I’m just over this quarantine,” just feelings that you’re having because often with food cravings, we rely on them to shift our mood, so sugar gives us that… Something like ice cream or a cookie makes us feel like a hug. It’s sweet, it’s a mood-shifter. Something crunchy helps us get out stress, so if we just heard some stressful news or we haven’t confronted somebody, we may often want that chip to help release.
Kimberly: If we start to notice patterns, that awareness is very powerful as well and then we can start to do things instead of relying on the food, so if we need to shift our mood, if we’re feeling stressed, maybe we go outside, maybe we incorporate some aroma therapy, or we call a friend, or we do a five-minute walk, or a five-minute meditation, or whatever it is, but awareness about patterns is really important when it comes to dealing with cravings.
Kimberly: When I started to understand that my pretzel addiction was because of stress I was holding in my jaw and I had to learn to deal with that stress in a deeper way than just eating chips, that’s when I started to heal the craving, and then I started to also implement this practice of asking my body what it needed, which it feels very different. It’s a deeper sense than, “Oh, my god, I need that. I need that food, that very surfacy thing that continues to repeat.”
Kimberly: Those are two things I would say is track your patterns and start asking your body what it needs to establish a deeper connection to your actual needs and over time, hopefully, that distinction becomes more clear for you as well.
Katelyn: So helpful. I know for me, what I tend to do is I wait too long to eat and then I’m really hungry and nothing’s ready and then I’ll just snack, so I think that being prepared can really help, so I’ve started doing some meal prepping so I have healthy food in the fridge so that I could just warm up versus being like, “I’m just going to grab that bag of popcorn,” or chips or something.
Kimberly: Yeah, that’s true. Good point.
Katelyn: There’s a lot of layers for cravings, as you know. You wrote extensively in your book about it.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).
Question 4: I feel like I have no willpower when it comes to controlling myself around certain comfort foods. Where do I even begin? Especially right now, I don’t really even want to stop, but I’ve gained 10 pounds.
Katelyn: All right, guys, we have one here from Dawn living in Durham, North Carolina: “I feel like I have no willpower when it comes to controlling myself around certain comfort foods. Where do I even begin? Especially right now, I don’t really even want to stop, but I’ve gained 10 pounds.”
Kimberly: Hmm. Dawn, sending you a big hug in North Carolina. Sending you a lot of love, Beauty. There’s a couple of things that immediately come to mind when I hear your question. Number one, and this is the way I approached it in Beauty Detox Power, where there’s the immediate steps and then there’s the longer steps where we get more to the root. In the short term, shall we say, we know this is a challenging time, we know this is a different time where we’re home more than any other time, so you want to make the best environment for yourself so you don’t have to just rely on your willpower and then if you “mess up,” you feel bad about yourself, your body feels bad, you get bloated, you feel like you have low self-esteem.
Kimberly: The first thing I’ll say is because you’re not eating out right now, or you’re home, make an effort to not keep all those comfort foods at home. It’s as simple as that, when you go food shopping, when you order food, do it in a space where you’re very clear and very focused so you don’t go to the grocery store and buy 10 bags of cookies, but you really stick to a shopping list. I think a shopping list is a really great idea and it doesn’t mean that it’s only fruits and vegetables, but maybe in a clear space, you’ll get one tub of coconut ice cream instead of 10 tubs of full-dairy ice cream. I think it’s important how we set up our home so that we don’t have it all lying around. I mean, it sounds quite obvious, but sometimes…
Kimberly: Chips are my thing and I have been on this path for a while, but the other day, my husband brought home a huge bag of corn tortilla chips and I ate a lot of it because I just was in that moment and I just did, but guess what? If he didn’t buy the bag, it’s not so easy to just run out anymore, we’re not going to the grocery store that much, I wouldn’t have eaten them, so I said, “Hey, could you not buy that right now?” Because I am home a lot, there’s a lot going on, so I’d just rather not have it in the house.
Kimberly: I say, Dawn, on a practical note, make a shopping list based on what you want to put into your body, what recipes you want to make and what feels good, and then do include some treats so you don’t feel like you’re obsessing, you’re missing out, it’s too divergent of a split. I think if we vacillate between the extremes, it’s very hard to find balance, so if it’s chocolate you love, get some high-quality dark chocolate. If it’s ice cream, like I said, get some organic coconut-based brand like NadaMoo! or Coconut Dream or something like that, so find whatever comfort foods you have but a better version and go shopping when you’re in a strong, clear, focused mindset, not when you’re feeling really low and you may end up buying all this stuff around your house that doesn’t feel good to you.
Kimberly: I’ll also say the same thing that I was saying to Mia about the Four Cornerstones: Comfort foods are a way to feel comforted, to shift our mood, to soothe us, so we need to look at our overall lifestyle. We talked about the food already. Body-wise, even though you are home over there in North Carolina, can you stick to your morning practice? Can you incorporate a morning walk? Can you get outside, wear a hat, put a little-non chemical sunscreen on, go for a walk, get some sunlight on your skin? Can you breathe? Do a home yoga practice, take your SBO probiotics, build up your gut health, which will help with cravings. It will help cleanse your body will help keep you on track.
Kimberly: Emotionally, another huge reason we go to comfort is because we’re avoiding our feelings and we’re not processing them. Join the Solluna Circle, start journaling. Fourth is spirituality. Start meditating, start finding a way to connect in. If meditation isn’t exactly your thing, maybe it’s just doing some breath work or sitting in nature, listening to classical music, just calming your mind, connecting inward. I think if you work on all these little steps or pick one or a few in each of the cornerstones, you’ll start to, over time, not feel so reliant on food.
Kimberly: Back in the day when I was in high school and I was bulimic, it wasn’t until I started to get into the emotional wellbeing side and spirituality that’s… Around that time is when I just started yoga and the beginnings of my yoga practice and breathing and being with my body and overcoming shame and all these different things. I was able to heal that dependency on food, so it wasn’t, “Oh, I need to strengthen my willpower and I need…” No, it’s not that, per se, just working on that same cornerstone, but I think it’s looking at the balance of where else in my life am I not nurturing myself. Again, for most of us, it’s emotionally, mental health-wise, spiritually. How can I give more energy there instead of trying to have more willpower with the food, which in my experience doesn’t really work that well because we still feel over-reliant on food until we find another deeper source of nourishment?
Katelyn: It’s funny that this came up because earlier today, I was actually reading an article and it was talking about willpower and people that are maybe more successful than others in staying on track and they were talking about a study that basically said, it’s what you alluded to earlier, just backing it by science that they said it’s people’s environment, because the temptation is always there, basically people that perform better with that have less temptation in their environments, so yeah.
Kimberly: Exactly, exactly, so it’s like the practical step is just don’t keep it around, and then the longer solution is seeing where else we can get the nourishment that we need. To me, food cravings, comfort food is a calling out for help from ourselves, from our bodies, “I need nourishment,” but guess what, guys? The nourishment does not come just from food. Again, the emotional side, feeling connected, feeling connected to community, feeling connected to yourself, meditating, these are the most powerful forms of nourishment, so when we have more of that in our lives, the food cravings really start to lessen, and I can say this from firsthand experience, this is 100% true.
Kimberly: All right, Beauties, thank you so much for tuning in today. I send you so much love. I’m so grateful for our connection and that we can support each other on our journeys. We’ll be back next week for our next episode, which is Best Of: Beating Bloat. As always, take care and stay safe. Sending you a huge virtual hug and see you back here soon.