I love being able to fix things. There is something so satisfying about repairing things that aren’t working well. Therefore, it probably wouldn’t surprise you that I have a toolbox. Actually, I have two toolboxes. One toolbox is in my garage and the other is in my kitchen. The second toolbox I use far more often - this toolbox is for intuitive eating.
My intuitive eating toolbox doesn’t look like a standard toolbox. It is a bit smaller, cardboard, and decorated with cutout magazine pictures. I had such fun making it, since I love being creative, but there is no rule for how to decorate your toolbox. It could be a favorite Tiffany box or something papered with your child’s coloring artwork. It just needs to be something that makes you smile. However, the outside is just frosting, what really makes it special is what is inside.
Before I tell you what is inside I must digress a bit and explain that I used to be really great at stress eating. On a bad day I would catch myself with my phone in one hand and a cookie in the other, standing in front of the pantry amidst a stressful conversation! This process could happen so fast that I wasn’t even aware of it until the cookie was long gone. Cookie eating was one of my favorite ways to deal with stress. If I was eating I was distracted from the hard thoughts or emotions of the day. So, you might ask, how is this related to my toolbox?
Inspired by my desire to deal with stress eating, my toolbox was born! It works so well I wanted to share the story of how it works with you.
When I got to the point in my intuitive eating journey that I was ready to deal with stress eating I felt a bit lost. I had learned on my intuitive eating journey that I ate in the afternoon to “reward” myself for a day’s hard work. However, I was rewarding myself even if my day’s hard work only consisted of walking downstairs in my pajamas and taking a nap in the afternoon!
How did I break this habit? I needed to reward myself in a non-food way. What did that mean to me? I started by making a list of what I like to do: read, dance, journal, and laugh to name a few. Knowing that visual reminders work for me, I tried putting things I love into the kitchen so I had them ready to try instead of eating. But when I found myself tripping over yarn and getting food on my coloring book pages I realized that this particular format wasn’t going to work. However, I wanted a visual reminder to help me break my stress eating habit. So I made my toolbox! I put it in the spot of my kitchen close to where I normally stand – on the counter by the pantry. Inside, I put things that would positively remind me of my goals, inspire me, make me smile, and suggest things I could try instead of food. I have some personal goals written on papers. I have inspirational quotes that make me feel understood. I have pictures that make me smile. I have comic strips that make me laugh. All together, my toolbox makes me happy. I get to deal with my stress and issues later when I have time but in the moment it reminds me that I have other things that make me happy in my home besides food. It only takes a few moments to look in my toolbox but that is distraction enough for me to remember to get out of the kitchen and go find the other things I love to do in my home. That is my reward. To make my soul happy – my body doesn’t need to be fed. My soul wants to be happy.
Here is a picture of my toolbox.
What would your toolbox look like? What would you put in your “toolbox”? What makes your soul happy?
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,