Are you stuck in a rut of emotional eating? Having been in that situation, I decided to reach out for more support. I came across the book “Eating With Fierce Kindness” by Sasha Loring, M.Ed., LCSW. Dr. Loring is a meditation teacher and psychotherapist. I was interested to see what her take was on changing one’s relationship with food.
Eating with Fierce Kindness is a book all about changing eating behaviors through fierce kindness, self-compassion, mindfulness, loving-kindness meditation, and through a technique created called the RE-PAIR process for reducing emotional reactivity.
Sasha Loring defines “fierce kindness” as “the ability to strongly devote ourselves to changing thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that are ultimately not in our best interest, and doing so out of self-kindness, not self-judgment or criticism.”
The author states that showing ourselves kindness is the first step to changing our body, our mind, & our behaviors around food. Research shows that negative self-talk, or as she likes to call it, “internal harassment” keeps people stuck in old habits that do not fit them anymore.
At some time in our lives, we may have found it necessary to self-soothe our emotions and stories with food. You may be like me, and have come to the realization that you are ready to change that story.
The author encourages me to use imagery to visualize my inner critic, my safe place, and my compassionate part. My inner critic is a manager with a pencil behind the ear, and holds a clip board. He taps it from time to time trying to keep me on task. My safe place is the beach I visited while in Zanzibar. My compassionate part is seen as The Blue Fairy from a fantasy movie I saw long ago. I’m invited to explore my safe place, and to access my compassionate part, when the inner critic starts to bully me. Somehow, stepping outside of these images, helps me develop more objectivity to my inner dialogue.
Meditation is another tool that is helpful when trying to release oneself of impulsive eating behaviors. Breath can allow us to slow down, and simply observe thoughts, and let them pass by like an ocean wave. When an anxious part comes up, by holding that thought, and refocusing on a mantra you have chosen, you have given that part compassion, and still allow yourself to stay present.
The RE-PAIR process is a strategy to help one notice when feelings are triggered. It teaches you to acknowledge the story or message the emotions are telling you, and reduce the intensity that it may bring to you.
RE Recognize ~Locate the emotions you are feeling using a body scan.
P Perception~Hold on to the emotion to honor it, listen to it’s story, & practice breathing, before reacting.
A Appreciate~Use loving-kindness mantras such as “May I Be Well” or “May I Hold My Pain in Compassion”.
I Integrate these practices into your life.
R Renew your commitment to honoring your emotions & stepping back from them, too.
This book is chock-full of strategies, opportunities for journaling, and breath work for you to try. Move toward savoring your relationship with food, instead of missing out on what it can teach you.
In my next post, I’ll talk more about my personal application of the RE-PAIR strategy.