With so many nutritional advice out there it can be hard to understand why so many people struggle with bad eating habits and weight gain. While the foods we choose to eat on a daily basis are perhaps the most important contributor to these problems our emotions are certainly one of the most important factors that influence our decisions. Perhaps one of the things that makes short term dieting so unsuccessful is the lack of concern towards dealing with the emotional side of the problem.
Reaching to comfort food during stressful times or when sadness takes in is not uncommon being a rather effective temporary relief. However, since comfort foods are among the least healthy ones out there we are often confronted with feelings of guild soon after making the decision to indulge in an unhealthy treat. However, emotional eating can be overcomed if you are willing to take a few steps towards gaining more awareness and using your self discipline. Here are a few ideas that can be applied right away:
Determine your hunger level. At times feeling a mild hunger can help us rationalize eating an unhealthy treat. However assessing your level of hunger and recognizing that it might be just an excuse can help you overcome this problem easier. Also avoid thinking you are simply going to take a few bites. During times of stress and anxiety our willpower tends to be significantly weaker than usual and controlling cravings becomes lot more challenging.
Think of additional ways to cope with stress. Before reaching for a comfort food it really pays asking ourselves to find other types of relaxation methods that will deliver the same results. Going for a walk, having a relaxing bath, listening to music or talking to a friend can have a similar effect without the afterward guilt. Focusing your attention in a different direction is one of the best solutions to be able to avoid temptation.
Avoid keeping comfort foods in your home. Denying indulgences can be a lot harder if all the temptation is easily accessible at any time. Therefore one of the simplest and most effective ideas you can use is making sure that you don’t bring temptations in your home in the first place. Alternatively you could try placing them in hard to reach areas as this can discourage you from taking the additional effort to go look for them.
Keep a food diary. Raising awareness through a diary can be a simple way to gradually improve your choices as it can motivate you to improve your choices in the following day. Accompanied by a diet goal a diary can also be a good tool for tracking your progress and gaining extra motivation.
Change your associations towards food. Thinking of food as a reward or as a source of comfort definitely makes our habits harder to break. Thinking about food only as fuel instead and being concerned with getting only the best type of fuel for our body most of the times can make us less likely to fall pray to emotional eating.
Learn from your mistakes. Analyzing the situations and the circumstances that trigger the emotional eating response can prove to be extremely valuable as it can help you anticipate and prepare better for these types of circumstances. Remember that breaking a pattern takes a lot of work and make sure you don’t beat yourself up to much for your occasional slip-ups.
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