Tuesday 29 June 2010

Marrying alcohol and intuitive eating

"What about alcohol?" It is a question we are often asked by women who are experimenting with the Beyond Chocolate principles. Many women find that they tend to overeat when they've had a glass of wine or a cocktail too many: both in the moment, as a result of a reduced awareness of their hunger and satisfaction levels, and the day after when large amounts of fatty and stodgy food seem to work wonders in countering the effects of a hangover. So what's the solution to eating intuitively whilst enjoying a tipple? 

Well, obviously, if you feel that you have a problem with alcohol, Beyond Chocolate can't help. There are many organizations out there that provide excellent support for anyone who feels they have a 'drink' problem. But what about those of us who simply seem to lose the plot with food a bit after an enjoyable meal with good wine or a trip down the pub?

As usual, at Beyond Chocolate, it's about being your own Guru and experimenting, finding out more. Tuning in is a simple and effective way of gathering information about what happens to your eating when you drink. Next time you find yourself in a situation when you know that you will be drinking more than normal have at go at this:

Step 1. Tune-in BEFORE you start drinking. How do you feel physically? Are you aware of any emotions? What are you telling yourself about the fact that you are going to be drinking?

Step 2. Tune-in at SOME POINT when you find yourself overeating. (You may need to find a way of reminding yourself to do this as the best intentions can go pear shaped after a few too many! If you have one you can trust and who understands, make a deal with a friend to remind each other or set a more discreet alarm on your mobile - whatever works for you). What do you notice about how your  body responds to alcohol? Are you hungry? How is the alcohol impacting the way you gauge your hunger? How are you feeling emotionally? Has your emotional state changed since you started drinking? Do you think the alcohol impacts the way you feel? How are you talking to yourself about the food you are eating? Are you aware of an internal dialogue, of how you chose what and how much to eat or is it just radio static?

Step 3. Tune in again AFTER you've sobered up. How do you feel now in your body? Can you identify a particular feeling linked to drinking and eating this way? What are you telling yourself about what and how you ate when you'd had a drink (or 3)?

Food for thought
So, what information did you gather? What did you find out about yourself and how drinking impacts what and how you eat? Does alcohol make it more difficult to make choices around food? Now that you know more you can choose to experiment and do things differently - just once. What would it be like NOT to drink next time, or to drink less? What difference would it make to the way you eat in these situations?

We welcome hearing your thoughts on this subject. Use the comments box to let us know what you think!

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