the feeding window

When you go through a drive-through, you know what it means to be told to “pull up to the window”.  You’re gonna be paying hard earned moolah and then receiving a bag of something to eat which resembles food.  I am all too familiar with the fast-food window experience from start to finish; however, this isn’t about fast-food, or even “good food quickly“.

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m talking about intermittent fasting.  Everywhere you turn, this concept has been showing up in some form or another for a few years now.  It’s almost a bit faddish.  I’ve read quite a bit on it in the past couple of years and it seems there is actually some value in shortening one’s daily “feeding window”.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of this before, the feeding window is a set number of hours when one eats their meals.  Outside of that time-frame, you abstain from eating (also known as fasting).

It really is a pretty simple concept with several modes of execution.  Personally, I prefer the 16:8 method.  Since there is a plethora of information online and in books, I’ll just share my personal experience.  I attempted to try it out last year and managed to get in several solid weeks of consistent 12-16 hour fasting days.  While I didn’t drop significant weight (probably because I believed that I could eat anything during my feeding window and still lose weight), I learned three things very quickly:

  • the first few days are the hardest
  • choose a “window” that will work the most consistently with your daily routine
  • I slept better and had more energy once my body adjusted to the window

Fast forward to 2020… Eight days into the new year, I decided to do the Green Smoothie Girl Detox (which was mostly a good experience that I’m sure I’ll discuss later). Intermittent fasting is recommended during the detox and I followed it almost to the letter for 26 days.  Most days my fasting window was around 15 hours.  During this second experience I learned something else:

  • shortening your eating window AND cleaning up your diet (even if the caloric intake is the same) eliminates the constant desire to eat

When I graze all day long, I want to eat more.  I really believe something about that fasting window being in the 14 to 16 hour range daily shuts down my seemingly insatiable “hunger”.  It’s even more obvious when I try to eat at the same times every day (think “routine”).  Within a few days, my body adjusted and just wasn’t hungry between mealtimes.  Cleaning up the diet as well seemed to make this phenomenon even more significant (but we already knew cutting out processed food makes us crave it less, right?).

I cannot tell you “scientifically” why this happens for me, but as someone who has been plagued with constant feelings of “hunger/cravings” for decades, it was nice to experience a bit of a reprieve.

After I finished the first 26 days of the detox, I started over with the program hoping to continue since I was finally releasing excess weight instead of gaining or maintaining it.  Unfortunately, during the second round, I lost a very dear friend to cancer (I miss you, Patti) and I’ve been off plan since February 13th.

Prior to this, my eating window was 10AM to 7PM.  That’s a 9 hour window, although it wasn’t unusual for me to stop eating at 6 or 6:30.  I found this to be a window that worked well with my routine most of the time, until emotional eating kicked back in due to grief.

So what does this have to do with “showing up“?  Because on Tuesday (February 25th) I resumed my shortened feeding window.  Technically it started Monday night when I stopped eating by 7PM.  Rather than let my emotions continue to run amok, I am choosing to show up, renew my mind, and run to God for the strength to live within the boundary of intermittent fasting.

So, until tomorrow, I pray the Lord equips you to just show up in regard to your personal food boundaries.



“Taste For Truth”: A Review

51n8CMGHsmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Over the past few weeks I’ve been making my way through Barb Raveling’s, Taste for Truth. It’s a 30 day “weightloss” Bible Study. I personally would say it’s 30 days of practicing renewing your mind about weight and food issues.

Each day is short but she packs a lot in a tiny book. Some of the topics I felt I had already “dealt with” over the past year, but they were still good reminders of where my thoughts should stay. I think the beginning few days where you come up with boundaries are very important and I took a few extra days to mull that over.

If you’re looking for a short and sweet example of how to renew your mind from a Biblical perspective about weightloss, weight, food, skinny, body image… etc, this is an excellent book for that. I’ve practiced renewing my mind consistently since June, so I think some of the exercises might have come easier for me than if I hadn’t already been in that place.

One thing I did start doing differently as a result of going through this book, is writing out the questions and answers from the I Deserve a Donut book when using it to renew my mind. This embedded the change in perspective deeper in my mind. Now, I tell myself I have to write them if I break my boundaries. It’s a huge deterrent. At the same time, I noticed when tempted to break my boundaries, the questions would pop into my head almost immediately. The added benefit of this is it makes me stop and actually think about why I want to break my boundaries.

You may be thinking, “Ok, but did you release any weight”? That’s a fair question since it is titled a “weight loss Bible study”. The answer is, “Yes”. Again, I was not new to renewing my mind when I started the study so I don’t know if the results would have been the same had I just been starting out. Although, I have read testimonials of newbies releasing weight. I know back in June I was breaking boundaries left and right… now, hardly at all. Part of that is because I tweaked my boundaries some (after going through those chapters in the book), but a large part is a result of God changing my thinking about food, boundaries, weight…etc.

I think the biggest change has been a sense of peace about my size. I’m not stressing out about what, when, how much I eat… I’m not stressing out (as much) about my appearance, what to wear, and what others might think of me. God’s peace really does surpass all understanding.

I’m still renewing my mind daily, but my focus is now shifting to a “procrastination project“. I’ll talk more about that later. This doesn’t mean I never have to address my food/weight issues anymore. What it means is, they aren’t my focus at the moment. Where dealing with my weight had been all I could handle, now I feel like I can branch out without totally going “wheels off” in the food department. When I do have a struggle with my boundaries, or I get a bad attitude about following those boundaries, sure, I’ll renew my mind in regard to the situation. I’m just over a week into the procrastination focus and the weight is still coming off despite the split in attention.

I’ve got about three weeks left of the procrastination project, and then I plan to go through Barb’s book, Freedom from Emotional Eating. Should be just in time for the Holiday season and my deceased son’s birthday. I’m already planning to start going through the “Holiday/Special Occasion” questions in I Deserve a Donut before the Holidays actually arrive, but I still want to go through that other study.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m learning a few cool things about procrastination that I hope to share soon. Until then, God Bless!

*Be sure to visit Barb’s website for more renewing of the mind information.

thin within: day sixteen

thinwithinSo, after yesterday’s victories, today didn’t go as well. Which I guess, after today’s topic, it wasn’t a surprise.

Day Sixteen

Today could have been titled “facing the giants”. I was definitely reminded of how strong a pull my flesh still has on me. I began the day by trying on my “goal from day 3 pants”. The amazing thing was, I was able to not only button them, but zip them too… while standing. They are still way too tight, but going from having a few inches between the button and the buttonhole to being able to close them… in a matter of 15 days, well, that’s pretty amazing.

So, I should have been in a great mood right? Wrong. Those old diet mentality thoughts flooded my mind. All I could think was, “I’m still so far from where I was.” Ugh. I mean it beat me over and over with discontentment. Today felt like a train-wreck.

And then the lesson had us look at significant times/moments in our past… uh oh. I really, really didn’t want to do this exercise. I’ve looked at these things many times before and I really wanted it to all just stay in the past. But alas, I did the exercise. I did not enjoy one moment of it. In fact, as I wrote how the incidents affected my view of God, it was clear that I’m still carrying around some anger and fear. I ended up scrawling a few words in the margin… ok, more than a “few” words. I was seriously upset.

Do you really accept the message that God is head over heals in love with you?” ~ Brennan Manning

Um, I was not feeling this after going through that exercise. I was actually mad. Feelings of “if You love me then why did you allow me to go through that” surfaced. I noted that some of the situations did contribute to the issues I have with food/weight/body image. I also noted that even Jesus begged God to change His mind about what was to come. God brought beauty out of the horrific treatment of His son… and He allowed that for my benefit and the furthering of His Kingdom. So, I decided to accept that He’s allowed pain in my life for some benefit too.

Then the author talked about the reality that the past has nothing to do with our present-time eating. She says, “Present-time eating is asking your body if it is hungry and eating the foods you enjoy now from 0 to 5 or less”. Sound super simple. It takes the emotion right out of the eating experience.

Speaking of taking the emotion out, I ended up downloading the “I deserve a donut” app for android (they have an iPhone version too for all you apple lovers). I got the book a couple of days ago after seeing it mentioned in regard to Thin Within. This is a fantastic tool!! It’s basically a reference manual for dealing with non-hunger eating. If you went through my “hunger unmasked” series then you will understand just how helpful a tool like this can be. I used it a couple of times today, otherwise I am certain my chart would have looked a lot worse.

The LORD uphold all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you , and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his was and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. ~ Psalm 145:14-18 (NIV)

20150427_101246 (2)

T=”Table”; F=”Floor”


hunger unmasked: mental situations

At this point, I hope you’re recognizing physical hunger and maybe even beginning to identify hunger triggering situations. Our next one is what Suriel calls “thoughts”, but I didn’t like how “thoughts situations” sounded. So, instead I decided to rename our next situational category.

Mental Hunger

You know that voice in your head that tells you you’re fat? That’s your mean girl, and Josie Spindari blames her for what she calls “The Mean Girl Munchies”. It’s sad really to think that we can be our own worst critics. We mentally berate ourselves to the point that we end up turning to food for comfort. We’re hungry for acceptance, even from ourselves. When we don’t get it in a healthy way, well, we’re going to meet that need somehow. This is where we confuse our hunger for self-worth with physical hunger. The void is real, but the solution is fake. Food will never solve anything but physical hunger.

When we entertain negative thoughts, we are giving the mean girl permission to let us have it. What we think has a profound effect on our physical being. If we allow negativity to run rough shod over us, we will never be victorious in this area of our lives… and I mean never. We act upon what we believe, and if we believe what the mean girl says about us, well, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Bible tells us that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”.

We can also replay in our mind things other people have said about us or even to us. We must guard our hearts and our minds against these attacks. If we speak life to ourselves, we will thrive. Words matter.

You know how we were told, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well, we should practice this more. I’m not saying we shouldn’t call sin by its rightful name, but calling ourselves “stupid” or “ugly” or “fat” has nothing to do with confronting sin in our lives. And remember, listening to these disparaging remarks only sends us running into the arms of food.

One of the biggest battles we will face in this journey toward freedom will occur in our minds. We are held captive by diet mentality and the ugly words we’ve chosen to believe about ourselves. The word “failure” is one I used quite frequently to describe myself. Now, I refuse to say it about myself and if I hear someone call themselves a failure, I am on that like white on rice. I don’t let my kids or my students put themselves (or others) down, why on earth should I allow my mean girl to berate me?

Part of our issue is that we’ve let the mental dialogue go unchallenged for years. We long for an identity, any identity and sometimes we cling to the wrong ones. We allow warped views to take up residence in our minds. We listen to gurus and experts and fitness instructors over listening to our own bodies… and ultimately, over listening to God.

The Bible says we should be:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

If our thoughts didn’t matter, why on earth would God tell us to take them captive and make them align with Christ? See, they do matter. God knows our thoughts are where most battles are won or lost. God knows that beliefs are born from thought and that we can’t help but act upon what we truly believe.

When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, your body, or whatever, stop immediately. Take that thought and reframe it into a positive statement.

“I’m so fat” becomes, “I am wonderfully made”.

“My legs are so jiggly” becomes, “I am so thankful for the ability to walk.”

“I can’t stop eating” becomes, “I am strong and I can do ALL things through Christ!”

“I’ll never be free of this” becomes, “I AM already free! Jesus said so!”

Fight those thoughts with positive versions. When you start doing this, it will amaze you how many people walk around speaking negative things without even realizing they’re doing it. We are surrounded by it, so make your mind a safe haven from it.

The last hunger we’ll talk about is actually the one that lies at the root of all the others. It speaks of the true void… the craving within… that we are trying to appease.

In the meantime, start recognizing the words you speak over yourself and others.

hunger unmasked: emotional situations

You probably knew this one was coming from the beginning. So many of us call ourselves “emotional eaters”. However, we fail to call a spade a spade where our emotions are concerned. Emotional eating is still situational, non-hunger eating. Emotional eating is “learned helplessness”.

If you’ve determined that you aren’t physically hungry, all your physiological needs have been met, the social setting isn’t an issue, and nothing is triggering your senses, then it may be your emotions sending you to the fridge.

Emotional Hunger

One of the plethora of reasons diets fail is because they do not take emotions into account. For so many people who struggle with non-hunger eating, this situational hunger is often the one left unaddressed, unless they want to spend thousands on therapy. Or, if it is addressed, you’re told to find some other way to ignore the emotion.

Even Josie Spinardi admits that her book doesn’t address emotional eating adequately. Most books on the topic do fall short, so I’m not going to pretend that I have the ultimate answer that will solve all of your emotional problems. I’m not sure it’s possible to have a book that does adequately address all emotional situations because every person is different. What I can offer is some insight in the hopes that we will find the courage to continue to address the issue of emotions and “learned helplessness”.

Emotions are so fickle, and food does seem to help, at least initially. The food temporarily allows us to drown the unpleasant emotion with a chemical reaction in our brain (much like alcohol or elicit drugs). This may feel great in the moment, but, as with all “drugs of choice” the effect wears off and leaves you not just with the original emotion, but with potential guilt too. This of course is yet another emotion you don’t want to feel… and you reenter the cycle for another go round.

We can confuse the need for food with both positive and negative emotional hunger. Which explains why we will sometimes eat when we are happy… and when we are sad. Of course, we are more likely to overeat due to negative emotions than positive ones.

Suriel points out that studies show, “the more joyous a person feels, the less likely that person is to support an addiction.” With emotional hunger, you aren’t addicted to the food, you’re addicted to the reaction you get from self-medicating with food. The emotion wheel pictured to the left has three core negative emotions and three core positive emotions. They are in direct contrast with each other on opposing sides of the wheel. So, “sad” would be the opposite of “joyful”, “scared” (or fearful) the opposite of “peaceful”… etc. So, one might combat a negative emotion with something that brings the opposing one. Although, we can’t combat anything of which we aren’t fully aware.

What am I feeling?

You know you’re feeling a negative emotion, but before you can adequately address it, you must first identify it. Just sitting in a heap on the sofa saying, “I feel bad”, doesn’t help. You could “feel bad” for any number of reasons. You can’t even begin to solve the problem if you don’t know what you’re feeling.

You can print out the wheel and use it as a reference to give a name to the emotion you feel. Sometimes, just simply realizing you’re “overwhelmed” can help you move away from the cheetos.

Why am I feeling this emotion?

If identifying the emotion hasn’t relieved the hunger, then you may need to ask yourself why you feel this way. You can follow the wheel to see that feeling overwhelmed may be connected to feelings of anxiety and fear. This may remind you of a situation that is causing these feelings. Maybe you feel anxious about an upcoming meeting. You fear you aren’t ready to give the presentation.

Again, identifying why you are overwhelmed (fear and anxiety over an upcoming meeting you aren’t prepared for), may alleviate the drive toward non-hunger eating. However, if the “what” and “why” don’t help, you will need to move on to the “how”.

How can I fix what is causing the emotion?

Ok, so by this point, most of the difficult work is done. Those first two questions can be emotionally exhausting to pinpoint at times. But, you’ve done it, and now you need a solution.

If it’s available, the very best option is to take action. With the work related presentation, you can make sure you’ve done everything you can to be ready. But what if you’ve already done that and you’re still anxious?

Well, that would be one of the times where you feel the emotion, accept that you’ve done all you can to prepare, and then pull a Scarlet O’Hara… “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” When Scarlet ran into an obstacle that she couldn’t fix right then, she would say, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” She knew she would “go crazy” if she let herself dwell on things outside of her control (even if she may have been the one who set the painful events into motion). Likewise, we need to let go of those things we have no control over. This will take practice, but if we can learn to “eat our emotions”, we can learn to let go of them too.

You have four options:

  • Fix it now because it is within your power to do so. (offering an apology for hurt feelings instead of letting it fester for days)
  • Decide on a future date when you can fix it (or that it will naturally be resolved). For example: If you discover a mistake on your bank statement, but the bank isn’t open again until Monday, you’ll have to let go of the worry and just accept that it will have to wait till you can resolve it.
  • Accept and let go of emotional situations that are completely outside of your control (or sphere of influence). Maybe you are jealous that you aren’t 5’7″. Um, unless you know something I don’t, I doubt you’re going to be able to solve that issue.
  • Eat. You know you aren’t hungry but you make a conscious decision to self-medicate with food. You know this is a temporary solution, but you are willing to accept the consequences.

Ka Boom (not the cleaner)

I should warn you, when you first begin to name and face your emotions, you may feel like you’ve just split the atom and all this scary stuff is coming out. You may feel like your emotions are completely uncontrollable. If you’ve spent years stuffing down your feelings, those emotions are still there, just waiting for the dam to break. So, when you overreact to a situation with the extreme version of an emotion (what should be mind frustration comes out as full on anger with screaming and gnashing of teeth), you have probably stuffed down that emotion in the past and it’s releasing with all the old baggage attached.

If this happens, and you don’t feel you can continue to allow your emotions to be expressed, I encourage you to see a therapist. This doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing them forever, it just may mean you need some help at the beginning when everything feels so magnified.

If you can allow your emotions (and warn your friends and family), and you can learn how to say “I’m sorry” when you overreact, then you will find that your emotions will take on a more manageable velocity… and they will be appropriate for the moment. The best part is that you will begin to be able to articulate how you’re feeling. You may also find that it is easier to talk out relationship issues because you are much calmer. You will likely find it takes more to rile you than in the past. Why? Because your perspective is changed, but also because you don’t have years of suppressed emotions just chomping at the bit to be let out.

Probably the very best part of learning how to deal with your emotions is how much lighter you will feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Remember, any progress on this journey is important. So, if you find that just naming the emotion is all you can handle right now, celebrate that progress. Being aware that you are eating because you are “angry” or “overwhelmed”… or whatever, is the first step toward obliterating emotional eating.

Now, we still have two more situational hungers to address, and since they both influence emotional hunger greatly, I think this is a good place to break.

Mental Situations is next…

emotional eating is “learned helplessness”

No one wants to feel “helpless”. We want to believe we are strong enough to handle any situation, and yet, we have a bad day and how do we cope? By stuffing our faces. One woman from a meeting I used to go to called it “getting fat at the problem”. We’re not confronting the person who hurt us. We’re not assessing the truth of the matter. And we’re certainly not solving anything. No, we’re self-destructing and wallowing in our little pit of helplessness.

I believe it was Josie Spinardi who said that people who use food to cope do so because they feel powerless to change their situation. So, instead of confronting, assessing, and solving the issue, they focus on “managing” their emotions. Most of the time this management involves an attempt to numb their feelings. Somewhere along their life, they learned that this is a fantastic way to avoid the unpleasantness of dealing with strong emotions. This is why it is called, “learned helplessness”. Now, if you fall into this category (like I did) this realization probably makes you want to cry into a bowl of Fruit Loops. But, my friend, that would be proving Josie’s point, now wouldn’t it?

The fact is, often times we are far from helpless to change our emotional state. We’ve just learned to stuff food in our mouths the moment we feel sad… or angry… or frustrated… or bored… or worried… or stressed… or hopeless… or rejected… or guilty… or betrayed… Yeah, that list could go on for a while. Now, if you’re hungry, by all means eat. But if you find that you’re eating for reasons other than hunger, odds are one of three things is happening:

  1. You’re still caught up in diet mentality and are bingeing as a result.
  2. You have some other unmet physical need (tired, thirsty, pain).
  3. You’ve learned to use food to cope with emotions.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? That’s because on paper it really is. Of course, once you start living the thing, it becomes a bit more complicated. We all know the feeling. Things are going along great. You’re eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’ve had enough. You’re eating what you want and enjoying it. You can’t believe how free you feel. And then along comes Mr. Rain-on-your-parade. He could be anything from a strained relationship to the shock of filing taxes this year (yeah, still not over that one).

So, how do we combat this? Well, I’m glad you asked. So far, I’ve just been focused on neutralizing foods (giving myself permission to eat anything), ditching diet mentality, and of course dealing with the hypothyroid/adrenal fatigue stuff. Now I’m going to go after the emotional eating. I’m not going to tell myself that I’m not allowed to eat my emotions. Why? Because it’s all that “food rule” stuff that got me into this mess in the first place. No, I’m going to take a gentle approach of asking myself a series of questions… most of the time. If I don’t do it every time, that’s ok. I believe that if I can “learn” helplessness, then I can learn to react a different way with practice.

First, is to ask:

Are all my physical needs met?

If the answer is “no”, then I’ll ask what physical need do I have. Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I in pain? Do I need affection? If the answer to any of these is “yes”, then I have something I can physically address. See, we’re already taking action instead of helplessly going to the pantry for that bag of potato chips.

If all my physical needs appear to be met, then first I need to confront by asking:

What is really bothering me?

Just face it head on. Sit for a minute and see what comes to mind. I am finding that I’m amazed by the pettiness of some of the things that bother me. I mean really, I’m wanting to eat because the dog won’t quit following me around the house? Of course, you also have to ask, is it really about the dog or that I’m feeling overwhelmed because I’ve overextended myself and now this dog is following me around as if to say, “me too, don’t forget to put me on your to-do list!” Whatever it is, acknowledge it. Confront it.

Next you’ll assess the situation by asking:

Is this something I can do something about now or in the future?

Let’s face it, sometimes the things that upset us are things that we cannot fix. Coming to grips with that should go a long way toward letting go of the things you cannot change or prevent… instead of helplessly stuffing your face over the fear that someday a tornado might tear down your house because you just saw on the news that it happened somewhere in the world. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.

There are times, though, when you can do something about it. Either way, the next step is to try to solve the problem:

What can I do to make the situation better, or at least help me feel better about it?

Sometimes our problems can be solved tangibly. Like for instance, you can tell your friend that her joke hurt your feelings. She apologizes, you both cry (or laugh), and all is good. You can stop procrastinating and finish that report already. You can decide to buy fewer designer handbags so you can pay your electric bill next month. You can get out of bed on time so that you aren’t late to work… again. You can stop reading novels that scare you to death and keep you up half the night.

But what if the problem is simply… emotional? What if there isn’t a tangible action because it can’t be “solved” per say. Or maybe it’s going to take a bit to solve the issue. I’m really angry that Uncle Sam is taking such a huge chunk of my family’s hard earned money, but I can’t do anything about that in the short-term. So how do I deal with the anger?

One tactic is to make a list of things you enjoy doing, or things that will diffuse the emotion. Yeah, it’s a bit of a distraction. And sometimes it’s just another form of comforting yourself, but at least you aren’t “getting fat at it” right? You’re caring for yourself rather than self-destructing with a binge that will do far more harm than good. Here are some things I’m putting on my list:

  • Talk to God… and listen
  • Read my Bible
  • Read some of my IE books (these are helpful if I’m stressing over diet mentality)
  • Talk to the Husband
  • Call someone
  • Write a nice note to someone (email, snail mail)
  • Do something for someone else (it could be that we’ve gotten too busy navel gazing and need a new perspective)
  • Write how I’m feeling in my journal
  • Clean something (this really helps me when I’m feeling frustrated and anxious)
  • Pick something from the to-do list and finish it.
  • Work on my novel
  • Get creative (art, sewing…etc)
  • Go for a walk
  • Sweet talk the Husband into giving me a massage
  • Sleep (never underestimate the power of a nap – many times fatigue will make a problem seem worse than it really is)
  • Sit with the emotion. (this is where you just let yourself feel the emotion completely and then you let it go… like I did with chocolate cake – ha ha).

Now, you may have noticed that TV isn’t on this list. Well, there is a reason for that. I don’t want to replace emotional eating with distracted eating, and right now it is very difficult for me to watch TV without some kind of food type item. So, if I’m going to watch TV, I accept that food is probably going to come with it for now. That’s a different part of the process though, and a discussion for another day.

For today, I hope this has made you think a bit about the emotional side of why you eat when you aren’t hungry. I’ve been told that it helps to have these questions and the list of ideas nearby so we can address the emotions before we passively eat ourselves into a non-feeling stupor. I’ve written it in a journal I keep on my desk. I’ve even thought about drawing something on my hand for when I’m out – to remind me to check in with my emotions and make sure they aren’t driving me where I don’t want to go.