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How to Create a Healthier Relationship with Food

How to Create a Healthier Relationship with Food (even when work is chaotic)

By Kirbie Be

Founder & CEO of VetViveWellness

Feeling overworked and under-appreciated? Having trouble staying consistent with nutrition and fitness because of your practice’s demands? Wondering if you’ll ever be able to find time to achieve the body and health you want? This is for you.

Putting others’ needs before your own? For lots of women in veterinary medicine, it’s an everyday reality.

Whether you’re a DVM, a mother, a caregiver, a partner, a worker, a daughter, a friend, or all of the above and more….

….if you’re in veterinary medicine, you’re asked to do a lot.

Many veterinary professionals spend their days putting out fires, handling to-do lists, managing difficult clients (and their owners!), meeting deadlines, and making sure other people and pets are fed, safe, and happy.

Here’s the thing…

We’ve gotten to know a lot of women in veterinary medicine through our VIBRANT Health Coaching program. And we’ve learned that most of them enjoy — and thrive on — that impossible list above.

They like rising to the challenge of supporting others and getting stuff done.

That is, until their energy runs out and they realize they don’t have any left over for themselves.

And slowly, after months or years of putting other people first, multi-tasking, and wrangling that epic to-do list:

  • They’re drained mentally and emotionally.
  • The time they used to invest in self-care has disappeared.
  • The clothes that used to fit… feel a little (or a lot) tighter.
  • The sugar and junk food cravings seem much stronger.
  • The exercise classes/workouts are postponed, then canceled.
  • The bathroom mirror and scale are avoided. (Along with the bed.)
  • The stress of yo-yo dieting starts up again.

With putting so much time into caring for others, and juggling all their responsibilities, women in veterinary medicine end up neglecting themselves.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can feel healthy, fit, and good in your own skin.

You can regain control of your schedule and your body.

You can overcome emotional eating and cravings.

You can show love and take care of others while still taking care of yourself.

We’ll show you how.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The biggest obstacle that women in Vet Med face when it comes to getting healthy and staying in shape.
  • How to overcome these obstacles to get the body — and life — you want.

Oh sure, you think.

“Maybe some women might find this helpful…but my life in vetmed is different”

That’s exactly what dozens of other women thought before they started Vibrant Health Coaching.

They also felt frustrated, lost, and confused, struggling to manage their eating, health, and bodies. They knew they wanted to feel better, and they were trying hard, but they weren’t sure how to make it all work.

And most often, it all came back to their relationship with food.  Luckily, we understand the problem and we have a solution.

The Problem:

“I want a better relationship with food so I can manage the chaos.”

At some point in their lives, many women in veterinary medicine struggle with overeating and emotional eating. We love the chocolate and treats in the staff room or whatever our “I-deserve-this” or “I-need-a-freaking-break” treats are… but they don’t always love us back.

Once the “food rush” wears off, we’re left with the very same stress and problems we started with — plus now we feel guilty, ashamed, and maybe even out of control.

The cycle often looks like this.

  • Feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Overeat.
  • Feel guilty and ashamed for overeating.
  • Feel more stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Vow to “do better”.
  • White-knuckle a new diet, and/or make rigid “rules”.
  • Feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Overeat.
  • Repeat the cycle.

(Believe me, I know what it’s like).

Solution: “Break the chain” exercise.

Simply notice, observe, and record what happened leading up to any food cravings, emotional eating, overeating, and/or any other times that feel “out of control” with food and eating.

Because here’s a secret:

Those feelings and behaviors didn’t come out of nowhere. They aren’t random. Something led to them.

Now you get to be a detective and figure out all the links in the chain.

To help you put this exercise into practice, download a printable version of our Break the Chain exercise, or think through the exercise below.

1. Start with any recent food or eating-related episode that troubled you.(For instance, eating too much, eating foods you didn’t want, feeling out of control, etc.).

2. Write down all the stuff that was happening around you just before that episode happened.

For instance:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Who was with you?

3. Now see if you can go back even further. 

Maybe a few hours. Once again:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Who was with you?

Try to capture as much detail as possible.

4. Now look at your data. Are there any patterns?

If you don’t see any connections right away, no worries.

Try this exercise a few times, and then start looking for links between what was happening in the days or hours before you had a serious food craving or emotional eating episode.

5. If and when you find patterns, be curious about them.

Don’t worry about fixing them right away. Just notice them.

“Hm, that’s interesting. Every time I work a shift with “that” co-worker, afterward I want to hit the chocolate.”

“You know, I actually feel fine most of the month, but the week before my period hits — watch out.”

“It’s been a long, stressful week at work. Give me that wine before I stab someone.”

6. You might notice solutions right away.

“OK, I’m going to go for a workout after “that” shift, to get some of that energy out.”

“I’m going to mark my PMS days on the calendar so I know about them in advance.”

“I’m going to walk home on Fridays, to unwind.”

Or you might not notice solutions. You might feel stuck at step #5, noticing the patterns but not sure how to change.

Either way, that’s OK.

The important thing is: Now you’re aware of what’s happening.

(Reminder: You can download a printable version of our Break the Chain worksheet here. Use it to practice working through the above steps.)

The kind of change you want is possible.

No matter where you’re starting.

No matter how you’re feeling right now.

No matter how much stuff is on your plate.

It’s possible.

Our clients have done what some women in vet med didn’t believe was possible : 

  • They achieved optimal health and performance despite the chaos in the clinic.  
  • They created a better relationship with food and themselves.

Our clients are all women in veterinary medicine, just like you. And here’s how they ended up… after integrating simple, do-able, progressive habits. The difference is astounding. 

Now, imagine your life one year from now.

  • You are still dedicated to Vet Med, but with a different awareness of yourself, your needs and your relationship with food.
  • You have created sustainable healthy habits so being healthy doesn’t feel like so much work, it’s just how you LIVE.
  • You feel strong in your body, you recover faster and you don’t worry about time off for injuries.

VIBRANT is our 6 month Health Coaching program for women in veterinary medicine.who want to feel healthier and more energized so they can thrive in their career. If you are ready to develop the skills you need towards a healthier relationship with yourself, we can teach you the most important aspects of creating deep health. 

We are launching on September 17. Reverse your space here.