Say goodbye to emotional eating
Thursday 14 June 2012
It's the dieting hazard that trips so many of us up, and it can be triggered by anything from boredom to stress to fatigue. But with a bit of preparation, and a couple of changes to your routine, you can make emotional eating a thing of the past.
To begin, it is useful to identify whether you are eating due to hunger or emotions, as there are several differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger. The University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center describes the differences as:
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually.
When you are eating to fill a void that isn't related to an empty stomach, you crave a specific food, such as pizza or ice cream, and only that food will meet your need. When you eat because you are actually hungry, you're open to options.
Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave; physical hunger can wait.
Even when you are full, if you're eating to satisfy an emotional need, you're more likely to keep eating. When you're eating because you're hungry, you're more likely to stop when you're full.
Follow the 6 steps below and you can cut emotional eating out of your diet once and for all
Keep a detailed food diary
It’s the first piece of advice for anyone looking to lose weight, and keeping a diary noting every piece of food you consume, what time you ate it and why – e.g. hunger, boredom, it was too good to resist - will help you get a sense of why you are indulging. After a week you will have a clear picture of when, and why, youovereat and can prepare yourself for when it happens.
There are plenty of low calorie foods that you can enjoy safe in the knowledge your diet isn’t going off track. Vegetables like carrots and celery can be prepared in advance and kept in Tupperware in your handbag while a bag of air popped (rather than oil popped) popcorn is great for snacking while at your desk and contains under 100 calories. Purge your drawers and cupboards of sugary snacks and high calorie treats and replace them with appetizing but healthy alternatives.
Have a drink
Before you delve into the fridge at the first pang of hunger have a hot drink, such as green tea or coffee. Often you are searching for distraction rather than actually being hungry, re-assess 10 minutes after you have finished.
Calm your mind
Food can be the go to option when you are feeling stressed or harassed, but if you target the root of your emotional anxiety then you will find your need to (over) feed will disappear. Try a 20-minute yoga session at home in the evening or regular exercise which can both be beneficial in quieting the mind.
Many of us mistake boredom for hunger, or just distract ourselves from a dull chore with regular snacks. Rather than reaching for the crisps and chocolate when you need distracting why not take yourself off for a 10-minute walk or call a friend. If you are stuck at your desk then try keeping your hands and mind busy with a magazine break or a drink like Diet Coke or green tea.