I got a call from a close friend yesterday. She started the call by saying, “Pardon the noise. I’m outside on a walk. I am so angry. I just needed to burn off some of these feelings”.
I knew all about the situation that had her churned up. It was something we were both facing and could do little about. So, I knew there was a good chance I was also going to feel some anger as she shared an update.
But I was also struck by how she was choosing to manage her intense feelings, in that very moment. Instead of choosing binge eating to stuff her feelings, or doing anything compulsive, she instead put on her athletic shoes and started walking.
Honestly, I’ve never done that. In the past, I have only exercised out of obligation; because I made a plan with a friend or personal trainer and didn’t want to flake out, or I was following through on a commitment to get more physically fit (often, begrudgingly). But I had never, in the moment of intense feelings, said to myself, “I’m feeling some intense emotions here. I think I’ll manage that with some exercise.”
Yesterday, I followed my friends lead and right then and there got on the stationary bike in my bedroom. I peddled while we talked through the issue. It worked! Just the decision to get on the bike signaled my intention to manage my feelings better than I had been; to remain calm about the situation we were discussing.
It really worked! Instead of stirring each other up, further, we both felt better at the end of the call. And I got in some mild aerobic activity and boosted some of my naturally-occurring calming brain chemicals. Yes!
Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-321-4242.