Apparently by now most of us have forgotten about our new year resolutions and fallen off the diet wagon. However not all of us need to diet as such to lose those extra pounds we put on as we indulged in December.
What we really need to do rather than deny ourselves is ask why we feel we need to have three chocolate brownies or two helpings of sausage and mash when one is enough to satisfy both our hunger and our cravings.
Emotional eating triggers can range from work stress or relationship problems to bad weather or pure exhaustion.
Here are our 7 top tips to avoid emotional eating and get back in control of what you are putting in your mouth.
1. Learn to recognise if you’re hungry or bored. A rumbling stomach and a craving for a particular food doesn’t necessarily mean you are hungry. How long has it been since you last ate and how much did you have at that time? If it has been a while between meals then you might be hungry. If it is not mealtime yet, try drinking some water first as often thirst can be mistaken for hunger. If you are still hungry have a snack. If you often succumb to late night snacking it might actually mean that you are tired. Go to bed instead!
2. Fight Boredom. If you reach for the biscuits when you are bored try to keep busy and arrange to do things at the weekends or in the evenings. Meet up with friends after work – why not make it a monthly thing that you can look forward to. At the weekends plan to get some exercise. Something as simple as going for a walk and getting some fresh air helps. Get started on that book you’ve been meaning to read, start spring cleaning early and take all the clothes you don’t wear any more to a charity shop leaving your wardrobe ready for the SS12 collections. Why not chat to friends either through the internet, on Skype or on the phone – it is nice to catch up. If no one is around and you just have to get out, consider going to an exhibition or one of London’s galleries – there is no shortage of things to see in this fine city!
3. Find other reward to keep in the kitchen. If you’re like me you are peering in the fridge wondering what to eat before you are consciously aware of what you are doing. Why not have a few things in the kitchen ready for when that moment strikes so that you can pick them up instead of the food. Put a book, a puzzle book, a face mask and a some nail polish in the kitchen so that next time you go looking for the Ben and Jerry’s, you can pick up one of these instead.
4. Get Enough Sleep. Research at Columbia University’s New York Obesity Research Center has discovered that sleep deprived women eat on average an extra 329 calories a day! A lack of sleep interferes with your body’s hormones which causes an increase in appetite for high calorie foods. That’s more than enough reason for us to stay in bed an extra hour!
5. Stress Relief When we are stressed or down we tend to reach for comfort foods to make ourselves feel better. Rather than reaching for a chocolate bar, it is better to try and manage the stress so it has less of a control over you. Any type of exercise will help eliminate stress. Something that also calms the mind such as Yoga, Tai Chi or meditation will also help you to be able to switch off.
6. Ban bad foods from the house. If you don’t have crisps and chocolates in the house, you don’t need as much self discipline to stop yourself indulging. If you really want one, a ten minute walk to the shop to buy it will help you decide if you really want it or not. Often by the time you’ve considered going out to get it, you no longer really feel like it anyway.
7. Don’t deprive yourself. It is alright to have treats as long as they are just that and not an everyday occurrence. If you simply must have that cheesecake or some pizza, allow yourself to have it – every now and then. If something is banned then it suddenly becomes the only thing you want. Moderation is the key and who can live without chocolate in their lives – not me!
[picture credit: hang_in_there; necopunch]