Unlearning habits: How to stop eating once you feel full

One of my biggest WINS since I started dieting is learning how to actually notice when I feel full and then actually taking the action to stop eating.

I don’t remember ever being told I had to finish my plate as a kid, but I do remember even as a child eating till I was literally stuffed and in pain.

When I would binge as an adult it was the same. Whatever I was eating, I would eat so much it would make me sick or feel terrible.

It SOUNDS elementary, easy to just and obvious to just stop when you’re full but for so many of us it’s not.

-Maybe we’re just eating while we work and not practicing mindfulness.

-Or we are eating to numb feelings/cope.

-Perhaps our parents insisted we clean our plate “because other children are starving” so now we feel wasteful not finishing a meal.

There’s a lot working against us on this too.

One thing research shows now, is that bottle feeding formula leads to babies losing their innate sense of when they’re actually full. Parents are looking for that empty bottle at the cue that baby is full instead of noticing their cues like pulling away, eating slower or getting distracted.

We also know that companies literally create food to taste and feel a certain way so it’s harder to put down even when we’re way past full.

Most school lunches these days are about 30 minutes. This is to include the time it takes to go through the line, ultimately leaving kids with like 10 minutes to eat. Now I could fall down a rabbit hole of what other harm this causes but for this purpose it’s not giving our kids the time to tune in to how they feel when they eat. Instead they’re stuffing pizza in their face as fast as they can because they have to get back to class (and for some many maybe that’s the only meal they get so they really can’t waste it!)

Luckily for us we are able to unlearn habits that don’t serve us an replace them with ones that do. I’ve been manipulating my food intake intentionally for about 4 years now and the things that have helped the most are...

  • Eating without distractions- never fails I end up stuffed when I eat in front of the TV

  • Slowing down to eat- I’ve only set an actual timer a couple of times but just the act of slowing down and realizing nobody is stealing your food goes a long way

  • Chewing more- I heard something like at least 30 times is necessary for proper digestion but it’s also helpful to slow down.

  • Taking few deep breathes before beginning to eat- not only does this allow our bodies to actually absorb the nutrients in food better by calming our nervous system, it also helps to us tune in to the meal and be more mindful.

  • Notice body sensations- this one is harder because we spend so much time detaching from our bodies in general but notice what you feel, journal about it, do certain foods make to feel certain ways? Pay attention.

  • Save your food in Tupperware to come back to later especially if you’re worried about waste or hitting your macros.

  • Remember we don’t relearn things over night. Be patient with yourself. Some days will be better than others.

And of course to help set our kids up to hopefully not deal with this as much, consider creating a different environment around meal times. What are the “rules” at your dinner table?

  • Perhaps instead of making everyone finish their plate, we can encourage our kids to at least try and taste everything but if they don’t like it, that’s fine.

  • Try swapping “other kids are starving” with food costs money, time and resources, so let’s be respectful and grateful for what we have.

  • Encourage your kids to put their own food on their plate and start a conversation around only putting on your plate what you actually think you’ll eat to avoid waste. I bet their portion sizes for themselves would look a lot different than what an adult might think they need.

  • Encourage kids to save their leftovers in the fridge for later (bonus, this hopefully gets you out of making more snacks!) Placing them somewhere that’s easy to reach for kids is even better!

  • Never shame your children for not finishing their food.

LOVE,

MEL BELL SHEFF


p.s. I’m not here to shame anyone for how they feed their kids, as long as their fed. Do you, mama.

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Earth Day 2019

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!

In the spirit of honoring our earth and doing our part to make sure it’s around for generations to come, here are some ways my family has been working to reduce our footprint on the plant.

STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS: We love a straw for iced coffee but in order to a) reduce our exposure to plastic and b) reduce our use of plastic going in landfills, we’ve opted for stainless. Amazon sells a pack of 8 for under $10 which is great! And dishwasher safe

REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS: I’m not gonna lie, I like to have a few plastic bags around to use as small trash bags, but they add up super fast, so I like to resuse paper bags and cloth bags. Plus the hold more and mean I make fewer trips in from the car! Farmers carry anyone?

SKIP THE PRODUCE BAGS: Again, reducing your exposure to plastic. But they’re also pretty unnecessary. A) we need to ingest some dirt, B) your produce should probably we washed anyway especially if you’re buying non organic C) what on earth do you think it’s going to pick up on the way to your house that it hasn’t been exposed to on it’s truck ride across the country?!

Speaking of produce traveling across the country to get to you try…

BUYING LOCAL: Nashville has a farmers market on every corner these days especially in the summer. This makes buying local so much easier. Buying local helps reduce the amount of waste creating getting the product to the consumer and the amount of gas emitted through this process.

BUY PRE OWNED FURNITURE: Obviously there’s a lot of waste involved in new furniture, especially if we’re buying from companies that are not eco concious. Obviously this has it’s ups and downs associated, but buying furniture from safe sources that was pre owned is a GREAT way to reduce your foot print.

and in the spirit of pre owned…

VINTAGE FASHION: Good quality vintage fashion is THE way to go. Fast fashion has a lot of terrible things associated with it, including it’s impact on the environment and very very questionable labor. With ebay, poshmark, tradesy and more these days it’s sooo much easier to buy awesome vintage fashion!

COMPOST: Why are we still throwing our food scraps in the trash when it can easily just go right back in the dirt and make our soil more rich anyway? Seems like a no brainer to me!

REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLES: I can’t say enough how much I love my yetis, but thermoflasks are another great stainless steel option. Reduce your exposure to plastic and use of one use plastic by investing in a refillable bottle. Same goes for coffee cups. This is super easy.

GLASS GALLON JUG: If you’re someone who goes through a ton of water, consider grabbing a super durable glass growler to keep with you through out the day and reduce the amount of plastic gallons we’re getting from the store.

WALKING OR BIKING: Trying to get your 10k a day in anyway? Trying walking wherever you can through your city!

These are just a few to start with! Of course we could fall down a major rabbit hole with this but I won’t drag on. These are my favorite options from this year and I hope they’ll work for you too! :-)

LOVE,

MEL BELL SHEFF

West Elm Board Round Up

Is West Elm one of those places that’s always having a sale, or am I imagining it? Maybe I just don’t visit their stores often enough. But whatever. Right now they’re having a sale that includes most of their serving trays, platters and boards. Naturally, I decided it was time for a West Elm board round up so that YOU can find the most beautiful boards to go along with all the tasty treats you’re putting together!!

Here’s my four top picks!

Rattan Round Tray - usually $59 but currently $44

I love rattan anything. I don’t know why but I think it’s so beautiful. You might be wondering how you would ever use this in real life, though, because like, how do you clean it? (by the way, you just spray a soft towel and wipe this baby down…) I would just cut some parchment or brown paper to fit the bottom of the tray and then put any wet foods in bowls. This will be great for outdoor entertaining. There’s a little caddy too, that matches so you can put your sweet plates, napkins, utensils, etc. in too!

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Petrified Wood Cheese Board - usually $79, currently $59

Ok, I’ve actually been eyeing this one for a while now. I love it because of how the black stands out in a world full of white these days. ugh. Honestly, I just drool over it every time. I love this one for a super simple set up.. a couple of cheeses paired with some great honey, olives and toast. mm! Just add your favorite Scout and Cellar wines and you’ve got the perfect Friday night in my opinion. Honestly though.. brb because I’m headed to buy this now.

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Olive Wood Rustic Cutting Board - usually $59 currently $44

This one is such a great basic to have on hand. I love how the food looks and the finish, plus the raw edge let’s it feel a little less… standard. This is one I’d be using in my every day life, wash it, and leave it out on the counter because it looks so good.

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Fishs Eddy Cheese Tray - usually $32.95, currently $24

This is for all my bright, vibrant, colorful friends out there! It’s just so fun. I imagine putting a cheese with each color and then matching the accouterments to the colors for fun. And your cheese knife is like your paint brush!! I love this one for spring and summer!

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There you have it, friends!! Which one will you be choosing?!

LOVE,

MEL BELL SHEFF

But how are you going to do it?

I shared in “20 Questions with Mel Bell” that I’ve always wanted to change the world. There have been many different times and many different ways I have thought I would do that. Some felt more right than others but so far nothing has really stuck. I’ve found myself wondering if I was where I was supposed to be more times than I can count. I always wanted to know if I was doing God’s work, if I was on the right path, and I’ve always felt like something was off.

First I was going to change the world through music and writing. Or that’s what I thought as a kid.

Then it was going to be through becoming an adoption counselor and becoming the person who lead me when I was in need.

Then maybe I was going to work with women who had experienced domestic violence and help their children find some normalcy.

Then maybe I was going to help kids love being active and learn to move properly so we were going to change the world through children.

Then maybe it was nutrition…

Then birth…

And would you look at that, we’re right back to adoption.

Sometimes I wish this calling would either leave me alone, or just show itself so I could get on with things.

But I’ve been so disconnected for so long that I couldn’t truly figure out what it was that was calling me. I’ve been barking up these trees but nothing has been right. I felt out of tune with what the universe needed from me.

Recently, I’d say I had a bit of a break through. Eh, I don’t know that that’s the right wording. More so, I’ve just been seeing the same phrases and themes over and over and over again. One is women.

The concept of womanhood won’t leave me alone. It comes up over and over and over again. Female empowerment, the future is female, babes support babes, raising your sisters up. Women are a mother fucking powerful force, man. (DISCLAIMER: not that men aren’t. I’m not anti man, I’m pro person, specifically women, ok? Can we just leave it at that?)

Trauma is another. For a long time I didn’t have the language to put around this. Honestly, I still don’t. Here’s the basics, my family wasn’t the most normal (who’s really is though, right?) My dad was a drunk, I was pregnant at 14, you can imagine the scene for yourself, right. So while I’d say we weren’t on the far end of any spectrum, there was still some shit going down. Anyone who grows up in any home with any number of uncertainties will experience trauma. Over the last year or two I’ve learn so much about how our bodies hold on to that. Personally, I didn’t understand what I was experiencing until recently. There’s a REASON I don’t trust my own body in weightlifting (more on that in the “How a bad training day lead me to therapy” post), there’s a reason I experience physical and emotional symptoms of stress even though I’m years removed from those situations.

Breath/Exercise bringing up the rear here. These two I put together. I would not claim myself to be athletic in any sense nor am I a yogi. As a kid, I hated playing sports but I always did. Since then, it’s been about 6 or 7 years since I found Crossfit and never looked back. Crossfit led me to BIRTHFIT and to Olympic Weightlifting and to Chiropractic care, and to the notion of using your breath for power (i.e. stabilization during a lift, or connecting to your body during yoga or meditation). Maybe feeling powerful is more the theme here, now that I think about it. So much of why women stay in negative and dangerous situations is because of the loss of power (money, physical power/strength, job security, job position, or simply being believed). That’s why my mom stayed married to my dad so long, she didn’t have any power. These women escaping domestic violence, someone else had taken power over them. When my mom taught me to shoot a gun, I loved feeling powerful. When I clean and jerk a heavy barbell, I feel powerful. When I walk away from a person or situation that’s not serving me, I feel powerful. When I connect with my breath, I am powerful.

So these things just keep coming up and coming up and over the last few years I’m all out in space looking for what I’m supposed to be doing in life while the universe is basically trying to knock me down with what it needs from me and I’m just missing it. hahaha It’s funny to think about, actually.

One of the more recent times the puzzle pieces started to come together for me was during the BIRTHFIT seminar. I realized how much trauma can take place around birth - it’s a lot.

Then these books, The Big Let Down and Active Birth basically fell in my lap and I learned even more about how certain populations specifically are experiencing more interventions during birth, are being marginalized and under cared for and how that’s leading to a whole domino effect of negative consequences for mom and baby.

Then thanks to Gabby I’ve learned about epigenetics and how we carry all the experiences of our ancestors and how we were literally in our grandmothers body living all the things she was living and that allllllllll of that will very literally effect how we as person will interact with the world. (Stuff You Should Know Podcast also did a great basic episode on Epigenetics.)

Thanks to my time getting to work for undeserved and at risk populations, I understand how all of these things are effecting them on the daily yet, often we don’t have the understanding or tools to deal with it. Cue BIRTHFIT and breath work.

I mean HELLO MELISSA HOW HAVE YOU BEEN MISSING THIS FOR SO LONG!!!

Anyway, I’ve been rambling for a while here. I guess my point is just that… we can fix this. We can positively change the experiences of generations to come (aka change the world!!).

When we advocate for ALL women that they have the birth they desire and that is ACTUALLY safest for baby and mom, we are able to have a positive impact and reduce risk for both in the future.

When we help a women connect to her body after she’s been shut off from it for so long because of sexual abuse, we are able to have a positive impact for her and her potential children.

When we HOLD SPACE for women to connect and share their voice and their story we allow for a community to be built and support systems to come together for each other.

Recently, I’ve been reaching out to local non profit agencies in the Nashville area who serve women. I want to be the beginning of something great. At this point, I feel so strongly about the good that we can do that I would work for free to make it happen.

Saying these things out loud or typing them for the world feels like a force leaving my body. It feels strong and powerful but also heavy because this work needs to happen. Thank you for holding space for me in this journey by reading these words. You may not agree, and that’s ok. But if you do, I hope you’ll join me in this journey to create a better world for our children and the women in our lives.

LOVE,

MEL BELL SHEFF

How a bad training day lead me to therapy

I had been to therapy before. My parents…errr my mom dragged me as a 5th grader. She dragged me and the rest of my family too when my dad was having a particularly difficult time reining in his alcoholism. I probably should have been going to therapy for like a long time before this but I wasn’t. It’s not that I was ever against it, I just never really made time for it or felt like I needed it. I thought I was like… normal - p.s. what even is normal? Another conversation for another day.

At some point, I found CrossFit which lead me to Weightlifting. I love weightlifting. Have I said that before? Well, I do. And eventually I started actually caring about my numbers and getting stronger so I got a coach to help me. If you know me, and have ever seen me snatch you know how much I can struggle when I start counting the numbers. I just am such a freaking mess about it. I start imagining myself dying. I’m literally imaging throwing the barbell, elbows buckling, and the barbell dropping directly on my head and killing me. That’s terrible, huh? So I’ve just always really struggled to have faith in my body and my ability and gravity, too, I guess. hahah At meets, I never know the numbers. Just recently, have I been able to know my approximate openers.

So because of all of this, I snatched the same number for a very very long time. 3 years I think. At least. Finally, I don’t know how but I went through a phase and made some progress. I accidentally made it past some mental blocks and I was feeling pretty good about things. Then of course, I came across a new block.

I’ll never forget the day. I had already coached that morning. The numbers to hit had been in my spreadsheet since Tuesday and here we were on Saturday and I’d been stressing about them ever since I saw them. I warmed up, felt great, built to about 85% and started missing and freaking out. I pulled the same numbers over and over and over again. Dropped the weight, built back up again. Over the course of probably two or 3 hours. It wasn’t heavy but I was terrified. Finally I called it quits after not getting anywhere near to what I was supposed to hit. By then, I was so dead and frustrated, I couldn’t even clean and jerk or squat as scheduled. I was so defeated. To top it off, someone at the gym I was in decided it was great to make comments on my weight and body composition… can we just say, a) inappropriate, and b) terrible timing!! So I left in tears.

My coach and team were all out of town at a big meet. Unreachable. And I’m just over here having a melt down over some stupid snatch numbers.

I went home and ate my feelings and then began the search for a sports psychologist. I didn’t want to ever go through that again. I had goals and things to accomplish. I did not have time to stand in front of a barbell afraid. I was in her office the next week working on things.

It’s funny, though because from being in her office, we unearthed some other pretty gnarly things that I’d been burying and not addressing. I’d say from there, that lead me to seeing Gabby and doing all the work we’re doing now. If you’re lucky to know Gabby and what she does, you know it’s as intense as it gets… in a good way.

Who would have ever thought that something silly like snatching would lead me to finally deal with some trauma from childhood and my young adult life? Who would have thought it would encourage me to show up the best I could in my marriage and in motherhood?

I guess, my point is that sometimes when it’s time to make a change it’s not the obvious thing that the universe uses as your cue. Sometimes it’s something totally unrelated. Sometimes we learn the most from the smallest thing in life.

LOVE,

MEL BELL SHEFF