I overate this weekend. Here's what I learned.

A lot of the women that I talk to tell me that they feel totally out of control around food (or fear becoming out of control around food). Oh man, have I been there. 

I used to feel serious panic around food at basically all times.

"I can't go to that party. I know there will be food everywhere. What if I overeat on chips and brownies? And in front of everyone there?!"
"If I don't get enough protein at breakfast, I'll 100% binge later tonight. I'm not hungry for protein but I'll have some anyway."
"If I'm going out to breakfast tomorrow, I'll skip dinner tonight, that way I can save up my calories. I really want french toast but I should probably stick to an egg white omelette..."

Sound familiar?

If you're nodding your head along to any of this, it's important for you to recognize that you're not alone...because I promise there are other women reading this doing the same thing!

This past weekend I majorly overate, and it was an awesome learning opportunity for me. Here's the setup:

A big Shabbat (that's a Jewish holiday) dinner with friends on Friday night and enough food for an army. I'm SO excited to be with all of these lovely people and eat some super yummy food together. Before I know it, I've eaten a chunk of Challah bread followed by samplings of just about everything- even though I was full after finishing about half my plate. THEN, we all ate dessert. I didn't really like the chocolate cake that my friend brought but I ate it anyway.

Years ago, I would've beaten myself up, thinking, "Ugh, Kyla! How can you keep doing this? What's wrong with you? Those abs are getting farther and farther away under that chubby belly. Okay, tomorrow hit the gym in the morning and then CLEAN EATING ONLY!"

These days, things are different. 

I sat with my friends after dinner with my bloated tummy and thought to myself about what had happened just before I started eating. What was going through my head? I realized I was feeling uncomfortable, a little sad, and I was sitting at the end of the table, which made me feel removed from the group. Plus I was with a bunch of people I'd never met before, which makes me nervous because I'm so introverted! 

I immediately knew: I was just eating to gain a little comfort. To get some grounding. It's perfectly understandable to want that when we're feeling out-of-sorts.

See that? No judgement. No hate-talk. No scheming to restart my diet the next day. Just compassion. I've learned to deeply trust my body to balance me out day by day. The next morning, I wasn't hungry for several hours after I woke up, and my body craved a lighter breakfast, so that's what I gave her.

Of course, eating isn't always the best coping mechanism in the world. But that doesn't mean I have to beat myself up because that's the coping mechanism I chose for that moment. 

I walked away from dinner knowing this: It's helpful for me to take a few deep, grounding breaths before eating so that I can be fully present to the beautiful meal and beautiful people around me. I'll be less likely to overeat and leave myself feeling too stuffed to be present with what's going on.