There are times when everyday problems get the best of us and all we want to do is reach for a bag of chips, a tub of ice cream or a box of chocolates. Here are ways you can get in touch with what’s really going on and stop the mindless eating before it gets out of control.
Listen to your body. Tune into physical cues that tell you whether you’re really hungry or just letting your emotions take over. Is your stomach rumbling? Do you feel dizzy or light-headed? These are signs of true hunger. On the other hand, if you ate less than two hours ago, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving at least 10 minutes to pass. Make an agreement, stop and identify if this is head hunger or actual hunger. Instead of grabbing for the snack, grab a notebook and pen and write about whats eating YOU.
Identify your emotions. The key is to find other ways to express your emotions rather than eating. Start writing down the emotions you’re feeling when a craving hits. Are you sad, lonely, angry or bored? Starting to recognize patterns can help you anticipate and avoid triggers. Often food is used as a source to numb these feelings, allow yourself to feel them.
Distract yourself. Call a friend. Go for a walk. Clean out the cabinets. Get up and move around to take your mind off your craving. Learn to eave, or do some craft that keeps your hands busy.
Avoid sitting in front of the TV. Studies show that people who eat while watching TV consume considerably more calories. Have your regular meals at the kitchen table without the TV on. Sit down. Savor every morsel. Take your time and enjoy your food.
Eat at regular intervals. Eating smaller meals every four hours can help you avoid feeling deprived. It will also keep your metabolism going as well as prevent hunger.
Try to make a healthier choice. All too often, we reach for foods that are high in calories and unhealthy fats when we are stressed (nobody ever reaches for a carrot!). Try an apple instead of apple pie or unbuttered popcorn instead of potato chips.
Be patient. If you do succumb to emotional eating, don’t beat yourself up. Go back to the suggestions above and resolve to start anew tomorrow.