Do You Procrastin-Eat?

13 August 2021 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Picture the scene.

Scene 1

The deadline for your tax returns is looming. You’ve postponed. You’ve cleaned your desk and tidied your drawers. If you delay any further there will be penalties. So, to sweeten the bitter pill you decide to have a cup of tea and cookies and then you will get stuck into it.

Scene 2

You’re working late at night, everyone’s asleep or watching a series. You feel a bit sorry for yourself, so while you are working on the report, a bag of Doritos accompanies you.

Scene 3

You come home from a challenging day at work. The house is chaotic. The first thing you do is go to the kitchen, stand at the counter and eat.

What is procrastineating?

According to the Urban dictionary, it is the consumption of food undertaken to avoid a dull or difficult task.

Why do we do it?

It’s human to struggle with procrastination. In our minds, the impending discomfort of beginning the task needs to be avoided at all costs. We humans are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. The brain actively looks for comfort and pleasure. Many of us struggle with the cycle of “task to be done” – urge to eat and delay – followed by guilt.

Where does eating come in?

Eating is pleasurable. It distracts us. It’s a pleasant pause. It gives us momentary relief and comfort and helps us escape the unpleasant emotion about what needs to be done. Sometimes eating is also a way we transition from one task to another. We are experts at immediately gratifying an urge to delay! When it comes to procrastineating, food is the reward for having to do something unpleasant. In a way we are taught this from a young age. How often are children rewarded with food for doing well at school or given a lollipop after receiving an injection? Some of us procrastinate by eating, others have a cigarette, some surf the internet. We all have a “thing” and if eating is your “thing”, chances are you’ll eat as avoidance.

What can we do about it?

Acceptance

Accept that procrastination is part of our human condition and that the way we avoid and delay tasks is by eating. Understand the role that food plays in that moment. Most of us naturally avoid difficulty, procrastination is a protective act.

Allow

Allow yourself time to procrastinate. Give yourself permission to eat if you feel the need to delay by eating. The more we tell ourselves we shouldn’t the more resistance is created.

Truth

Tell yourself the truth about what you are doing. Name what you are doing and why you are doing it. You could even say to yourself “I am eating as a way to delay starting this report”. Sometimes just giving something a name can ease the pain of it. The truth is, that at some point, the job needs to get done.

No Judgement

We tend to blame and shame ourselves for not being disciplined and for procrastinating. We also add another layer of guilt around the procrastineating.

Replace the judgement with curiosity. This can reveal a lot more than criticising yourself. You may discover what lies underneath the behaviour.

Enjoy

Can you enjoy the delay instead of beating yourself up and feeling guilty? Make the most of it! Savour every moment and every bite. Pay as much attention to the food as you can. Try not eating with more distractions. This way, you will get maximum pleasure from the experience!

Urges

Expect that you may want to delay further or to eat more. Notice the urges, they will come. Can you be with them? Be still, they will come like a wave. If you simply notice they will pass. Your mind will also create thoughts and justifications. Notice the thoughts.

One tiny step

Take one small step towards the task. Once you get started the discomfort will be there and this is the most difficult part. Keep doing it in small little chunks.

Acknowledge

Once the task is completed you need to enjoy that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a difficult task, regardless whether you have eaten or not. This is an important part of the process because the brain likes to receive a reward.

Wishing you well,
Xen

✨ Is it difficult for you to imagine a life where you don’t stress about eating? Ready to try a different approach that is not dependent on willpower and discipline? Book a free 30 minute mini-session.

✨ Are you ready to take your first step? Enrollment for the Food Freedom program is open. I’d love you to join us!

✨ Find out more about what my clients say about our work together.

Here’s what a previous participant had to say:

“Xen’s Food Freedom program was life-changing for me. It helped me finally understand that food does not need to be my emotional crutch – it truly gave me the freedom to enjoy my food in a way that feels good to my body – and to take away real strategies to keep me from falling back into bad habits and thought patterns. The group discussion was invaluable and helped me realize I’m not alone in my struggles and Xen’s gentle, soothing teaching approach created a nurturing environment – not judgmental in any way!”

— Jeanette, USA

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating