When I woke up one day and realized that the reason I couldn’t shift the weight, stop emotional binge eating or achieve my goals was because I didn’t have any fun in my life, it was as if the clouds parted and a stream of light shone down on me. It was my big “Aha moment,” to borrow a term from Oprah.
Having fun was something I'd stopped worrying about when I grew up. Kids have fun; that’s all they have to do, other than go to school. When I got busy with university, then jobs, major relationships, moving cities, countries and making new friends, there was no time for fun in any of that! And yet, that's exactly when we most need to focus on the fun, as I've since learned. Because without the fun in these situations, all we're left with is stress … and what good does that do us?
Hopefully you’re now on board with me. But I know you’re still wondering: just how do you have more fun as a stressed and busy adult, and what exactly will change in your life if you focus on the fun?
1. You’ll lose weight.
I know it sounds crazy and kooky, but this is the number one thing I tell clients in my emotional eating program, Life is About FUN, Not Food! If you stop thinking about food, and instead focus on having fun, the weight falls off. We use food as our fun because we’re too busy and stressed to think of creative alternatives. Food is just so darn easy and cheap and available. When we have chocolate or a hit of sugar, the dopamine response in our brain really does feel pretty darn fun, so it’s just as good, right? Except for the added pounds and the unwanted cycle of guilt and shame and the damage all that junk food is doing to our insides … sure.
2. You’ll rediscover yourself.
I say rediscover because you're in there, just waiting to come out. Probably the things you were most passionate about as a child are the best places to start when you look at what you find fun to do. Did you play dress up as a kid? Maybe you love fashion. Did you love to draw, sing, film imaginary cooking shows? Maybe you should join an art class, a choir, or take a cake decorating course. Tap into your inner child and she will reveal more to you than you ever would expect.
3. You'll reconnect with friends.
Who doesn’t want to have more fun? And fun is always better with company. Maybe you’ve isolated yourself a bit from friends lately — that will happen when you stay at home all the time. You have to reconnect with those friends; they make life fun, after all! On this new mission, choose a fun activity that doesn’t have anything to do with food or comparison: go indoor rock climbing together, take a dance class, sign up for a beginners’ photography workshop. Ask for your friends’ input; they may have even more ideas!
4. You'll have something to look forward to every week.
For women who are really stuck in the emotional eating cycle, I like them to have something to anticipate every day. At the risk of overwhelming you, at least look at lining something really fun and different up on the weekend. Catch an amateur theater show or some live comedy, or book a quick 30-minute massage or manicure.
5. You'll rediscover self-love.
Pamper yourself — you use food to treat yourself more often than you realize, and while I love the idea of treating yourself and showing yourself love, I want you to choose an activity that only has positive side effects. Take the time to consider what you find rewarding and luxurious, and do that! Loving yourself is truly the best way to make sure you’re having a blast in this life. So DO it!
For more on my Life is About FUN Not Food! 8-week emotional eating program, visit my site.