Saturday, November 11, 2006
How to Avoid Emotional Eating
Life can be stressful... and oftentimes, many people reach for food as comfort. If you find yourself regularly eating in response to stress, anxiety, sadness, boredom, anger, loneliness, relationship problems, or poor self-esteem, try to break the habit with some of the strategies below.
- Learn to recognize your hunger. Before you automatically pop something into your mouth, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5 -- 1 being ravenous and 5 being full. Make every effort to avoid eating when your hunger is a 4 or a 5.
- Find alternatives to eating. Make a personal list of activities you can do instead of eating. Perhaps go for a walk, call a friend, listen to music, take a hot shower/bath, exercise, clean your house, polish your nails, surf the Internet, schedule outstanding appointments, watch television, look through a photo album, etc.
- Keep a food journal. Logging your food will help to identify your toughest timeframes. It also will make you accountable... so perhaps you'll be less apt to reach for unnecessary food.
- Three-food interference. Make the commitment to first eat three specific healthy foods before starting on caloric comfort foods (i.e., an apple, handful of baby carrots and a yogurt). If after that, you still want to continue with your comfort foods, give yourself permission. However, most of the time, the three foods are enough to stop you from moving on.
- Exercise regularly. Daily exercise relieves stress and puts you in a positive mindset, which provides greater strength to pass on the unhealthy fare.
- Get enough sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase hunger by decreasing Leptin levels, the appetite regulating hormone that signals fullness. With adequate sleep, you'll also be less tired and have more resolve to fight off the urge to grab foods for comfort.
The winner of a copy of Nancy Jo Jenkin's debut novel, Coldwater Revival is... (drumroll pls...) Chadwick! Please email me at rea_shylle[at]yahoo.com to claim your FREE copy. Thanks for joining the contest everyone!