For many of us when we think of environment we think of the air we breathe, the city we live in, or the land we live on. We must not forget one of the most important things about our environment, our relationships.
I have worked with many individuals, trying to help them lose weight, gain self-confidence, or just help them feel better. The common denominator for many of the individuals I have helped coach was they were lacking one specific vitamin… Vitamin L for Love. These individuals had faulting relationships with their spouses, boy or girlfriends, and with themselves.
One client I had struggled with binge eating at night. I asked her what her nightly pattern was from the moment she got home to the time she went to bed. This woman was married and had two children. She told me she would get home with her kids, they would all eat some type of snack. Then her spouse would get home about thirty minutes later with some type of fast food dinner. After they all ate she would go into one room to watch TV and her husband in the other room to also watch TV. The kids would be in their rooms, on their computers or on some electronic device. She said she would be watching TV and then find herself going into the kitchen to eat, then she would go back to her show, then back to the kitchen, and then back to her show. Before she knew it she consumed over half of gallon of ice cream, some chips, and some type of drink. I asked her how often this would happen. She said most nights unless her kids had a school sport or event. When the children had an event she found herself thinking of what she was going to eat when she got home. Food consumed her.
This story is all too familiar and I could relate on many levels. The big environmental factor that was impacting her behavior was the lack of vitamin L, LOVE. The lack of love for herself. Lack of love from her spouse. Do you think she would have the same binge eating behavior if when her spouse got home, everyday, she was excited to see him and he was excited to see her? If every evening they chose to visit with each other, or watch a show together, or go take a walk, or even play cards. Then do you think she would be binge eating? Do you think if she spent more quality time with the kids, as a family, would this binge eating occur? My answer is no.
She tried my theory of spending quality time with her spouse and kids every night for one week. She found herself happier when her spouse would take a walk with her, and when she and the kids made dinner together. She started a new nightly pattern!
I share this story with you because, all too often, we get caught up in the mumbo-jumbo of life and when we get home we do what seems easy and relaxing. Unfortunately, this will not be the case months down the road. This is a destructive pattern and if you can relate, on any level, step in, and make a change. The things that seem small now grow into problems down the road.
Pick one new thing you can add in your nightly routine ( ex: a walk, making family dinner, playing cards, etc.) to enhance your relationships. Do this for the next week, every night and report back.
Enjoy the change! -Anna