Triggered by Christmas!

So my focus in the last week or so has become- why am I triggered, or what about the Christmas season triggers me to eat chocolate (because it IS the go to food for me in this situation) to the extent that I do?

I’m not going to go into details about what or how much I eat (it’s less than you may think, but more than what’s good for me, or that I want to be eating). That’s not important to what’s going on. There can be so many reasons why this happens, why I am triggered, every Christmas season. I believe most of the reasons are connected to my childhood. There is also the emotional component. I get triggered, emotions are activated, and in order to cope with or avoid those emotions I reach for chocolate.

We all recognize that the Christmas season is probably the most difficult season for so many people. There is such hype, such frenetic energy, such high expectations around it all that even without our childhood experiences that have been reinforced by repeated similar incidences, we are often overwhelmed and over stressed by it all. If we do add in the emotions triggered by earlier events (which we ALL have recorded in our subconscious) then it’s no wonder that we do things that are not what we would choose to do on the logical conscious level.  Remember, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts that our subconscious remembers EVERYTHING we have ever experienced, felt, tasted, touched, seen, learned, etc. That is our programming. Also remember that our subconscious’ main and most important job is to protect us from danger, be it real or imagined; and our subconscious has a broad definition of the word danger. For example, if as a child I didn’t feel loved to the same degree that I perceived my siblings to be loved, therefore causing me to not feel safe then my subconscious mind would take steps to have me do something, or not do something to make me feel safe. For some people it might be comfort eating with food (that’s been my defense), others may choose drugs or alcohol, still others may act out in ways that bring attention to them even if it’s negative attention. There are many ways; those are just a few examples. To our logical, and quite often to our grown up mind, those defense or coping methods don’t make sense; but remember two things, 1) the conscious logical mind doesn’t understand or deal with emotions and 2) these methods were developed by a younger, less knowledgeable, less experienced mind. Our subconscious did the very best that it could with the information and skills it had at the time.

When working to change the way we act or react to stimulus that triggers us, we need to be able to change our perception around those triggering events so that we can act or react in a way that best supports and benefits us as the people we are now, with the skills, knowledge and experience we have now. It’s also important to recognize, be thankful and grateful for the coping methods we did develop because they were the best we (our subconscious) could create at the time. They are just not serving us in the best way anymore.

I’m going to list what has come to mind so far as to what I believe are some of the reasons, experiences or events that may have created the triggers, or are the triggers for me. On the logical level they may not seem relevant or make sense but remember we are ruled (mostly) by emotion (or more specifically by the emotions attached to experiences). In no particular order: my father was a nasty alcoholic; I am the youngest child; I often felt left out, alone, lonely as a child; events happened to others in my family that I didn’t have the experience level to deal with when I witnessed them; I don’t know if food was scarce but there is a feeling of not getting enough/not getting my share; there is also a feeling of not getting enough love/my share of love; in an alcoholic home there is little sense of safety or stability; activity levels/fun/physical experiences; and boredom. There may be more that comes forth as I continue to work through this. Recall too that all of those early events have been compounded and reinforced over the years by similar events/experiences. We continue receiving our programming our entire lives until we die. We can make changes (to our programming), permanent ones, on the subconscious level though with hypnosis and other techniques.

I’m also remembering and working my beliefs and training in regards to the importance of words – we don’t like loss, so don’t look for [weight] loss, look for health, vitality, energy. That what we focus on is what we get more of; so if we’re focusing on not eating chocolate, we eat more chocolate. If we’re focusing on how difficult something is, it becomes more difficult. I need to focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. We all do!

The biggest step that is helping me to begin to change my perception and react differently right now is being aware! Aware that I’m in that season (and state) of being vulnerable, aware that out of sight out of mind is helpful right now, aware that even though I am only a bit busier than normal it does not feel like enough right now, and that’s ok; and aware that I have the power to make the changes I desire.  We all do!

I’d like to leave you with these words:

things-wont-get-better, and thinking better requires consistent repeated practice!

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Happy Easter of the Chocolate Kind

Whether you celebrate Easter this weekend based on religion or the Easter Bunny, I thought I’d post a blog about the benefits of DARK chocolate to help you indulge a little guilt free! Chocolate is identified as dark if it has a cocoa mass of at least 55%, but the higher the percentage the better it is for you, keeping in mind the other ingredients like fat and sugar. Remember to read your labels and go Organic!.

I used to eat 70% dark regularly but now I eat 85%, and yes the greater the percentage the more bitter it will taste, but your taste buds will get used to it. I didn’t start out at 85%, I worked my way up to that. Now I find 70% or less to be too sweet for my liking.

1) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Heart

Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

2) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Brain

Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.

Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, a mild stimulant. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee. And remember, few of us drink only one 8 oz cup of coffee!

3) Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood Sugar

Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

4) Dark Chocolate is Full of Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.

5) Dark Chocolate Contains Theobromine

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike most other sweets, lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice proper dental hygiene.

Theobromine is also a mild stimulant, though not as strong as caffeine. It can, however, help to suppress coughs.

6) Dark Chocolate is High in Vitamins and Minerals

Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!! Enjoy this fabulous weekend.