CBR Bingo – Self Care
50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food is a helpful book by Susan Albers to assist those of us who overeat from stress, emotional difficulties, loneliness, or other reasons. I chose this book as my self-care Bingo book as I am in the process of losing weight and I am a big-time stress/emotional eater. I needed some guidance on how to handle my issues without automatically turning to food. Food is indeed a pleasure and can be used for comfort, but too much of that pattern can have an adverse effect on your health.
Alberts categorizes her suggestions this way:
Mindful meditation techniques
Change your thoughts, change your eating
Soothing sensations to calm and relax the body
Soothing yourself with distractions
Soothing yourself with social relationships
Soothing emergency help
As you can see from this list, self-soothing techniques and mindfulness are key to having a healthy relationship with food. Albers states that we should have an approach of gentle curiosity and compassion about our motives, feelings, and actions. There is nothing didactic or punitive in the book, nor are her suggestions facile or quick-fixers. Instead, Albers encourages patience, positive self-talk, and thoughtfulness. She also recommends some fun things like popping bubble wrap or skipping stones. There are all kinds of techniques to suit any personality.
I found this book very helpful as I try to lose weight in a healthy way. Just the breathing exercises alone have been useful. I particularly liked her encouragement to move away from “Zebra thinking”—thinking in the extremes of black and white without embracing the grey. I recommend this book if you would like some concrete help with impulsive/compulsive eating. It doesn’t replace professional care, of course, but it is a good adjunct to any attempt to improve your relationship with food.