Take Time for Yourself!

This week, I had a session with my client, Grace. Grace told me that over the past few weeks she has been struggling to stay on track, particularly in the evenings. I asked Grace what sabotaging thoughts she was having in the evenings, and it was usually something like, “You’ve been working so much and had a hard day, you deserve this.” Grace told me that work has been very busy for her the past few months and she hasn’t really been able to take much time for herself.

I realized that two things were probably at play. First, there was some emotional eating in response to being tired or having a low mood because her day had been difficult. Second, it seemed that since Grace was working so much and not taking time for herself, it was likely that she was using food as a source of pleasure because she was otherwise lacking it.

Grace and I first addressed her sabotaging thought and discussed the fact that if she is working really hard and has had a difficult day, she absolutely does deserve to treat herself. But she doesn’t deserve to do so in way that prevents her from reaching other very important goals. Grace wrote this idea on a Response Card. We also came up with some alternative ways she can treat herself in the evening (e.g. trying a new face mask, calling her best friend, listening to music, starting a new book, using her adult coloring book, etc.)

relaxation reading

Next, Grace and I discussed the idea of her using food as a source of pleasure, in the absence of finding it elsewhere. Grace recognized that this was probably happening. We talked about some potential solutions and Grace acknowledged that although she was working most weekends, she didn’t necessarily need to work all weekend. It was possible for her to schedule breaks and take time for herself. In session, Grace committed to going to the movies on Saturday (something she loves doing but hasn’t found the time for lately) and meeting a friend for a walk on Sunday. We also talked about finding pleasure in smaller ways during the week by making time to meet friends for lunch, connecting with her mom and her sister more, and enforcing a rule of not working past 9pm.

What happened with Grace happens often to dieters – they get busy and stop making time for themselves. They still feel the need to find pleasure, but because they aren’t allowing themselves any other sources of it, they try to satisfy the need with food. If you haven’t been great lately at taking time for yourself and scheduling in pleasurable breaks, we challenge you to make the time and do something for yourself this weekend. It’s so important!

What do YOU like to do to treat yourself that doesn’t involve food?

3 replies
  1. Dave
    Dave says:

    This definitely resonates with me! I think the major reasons many of us turn to unhealthy substances is that we perceive them as a treat/reward and they give us pleasure. Unfortunately, the pleasure is very short lived and often leads to negative consequences. I am using this post to challenge myself to come up with healthy treats and sources of pleasure. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Annette Thompson
    Annette Thompson says:

    I enjoy watching my favourite TV show which I have recorded and going to bed early to read. I also remind myself that using food to treat myself is actually punishing myself.

  3. Mary Margaret
    Mary Margaret says:

    When I really want to treat myself, I take a long hot bath with perfumed soap and bath oils. I can feel my muscles relax in the water, I can smell the wonderful scents, and I can add soft music (Debussy is good). No calories, no worries.


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