Monday, August 2, 2010
We all know how hard it is to give up eating junk food. We know how bad it is for us but it tastes so good and can be so convenient, right? Most people who face bad eating habits usually find it hard to give up because they eat emotionally. But when we reach for the junk food, and lots of it, it has a detrimental effect on the body, health and fitness goals.
To break the cycle we need to recognize what emotional eating is. If we are suddenly stricken by hunger or have a craving that can be fulfilled only by a certain food you are thinking about, its likely that your hunger is emotional and not physical. Genuine hunger comes on gradually, not all of a sudden, and if your really hungry you will find many foods to be satisfying, not just what you are craving. Emotional eating also tends become a vicious cycle of self-sabotaged. Once we allow ourselves to eat emotionally, we feel guilty, and that guilt feeds another bout of emotional eating that moves us even further away from our goals.
The most important step in accepting emotional eating and being able to break the cycle is to recognize your triggers. It can be anything from stress to boredom to sadness etc. Find what sets you off, it may help to write in your journal of what you ate that day and how you felt. There may be a trend which will help you to identify.
Now that you have found your triggers. Here are 7 tips to help you beat them.
1. Eat clean. When you eat clean consistently you wont be hungry because you'll be eating the portions of food for you and you'll be getting the right balance of lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates to properly nourish your body.
2. Wait it out. Once you've recognized that your craving is not genuine hunger, you can acknowledge it and choose not to feed it. Engage in another activity to take your mind off the craving. Give yourself time to let the feeling pass. Even if it does linger, you help beat it by eating your next clean meal.
3. Don't deprive yourself. The next time you are tempted by a craving, stop and reflect on your hunger. If you've determined that you are genuinely hungry, eat a small clean snack made of almonds and a piece of fruit or maybe a few carrots with a bit of hummus. Keeping yourself hungry will only intensify the craving and leave you more prone to giving in.
4. Get support. If the emotions that triggered your craving are negative ones, manage it in a way that isn't eating. If you need to vent give your friends a call and chat regularly with them. Friends are great people to talk to when you are stressed and let things out. Organize to go for a walk etc.
5. Create a new habit. In the end, if you want to stop emotional eating, you have to find ways other than eating to manage stress, alleviate boredom and show love. When I need a mental break down from my chaotic life, I like to take the dogs for a walk, or spend some quality time with family. When I like to spend quality time with my family I like to go for walks and get into the great outdoors and share a laugh.
6. Moderation not elimination. In the beginning, breaking this habit may be tough and you may give into your cravings, more often than you'd like. Try dividing comfort foods into small portions. For example, reach for a snack size chocolate bar rather than a full sized one. Better yet, if you have chocolate craving, reach for a square of dark chocolate. Eat one, and have the strength to walk away.
7. There is no such thing as failure. As I said, there will be times when you give into the craving. Don't think of this as a personal failure but as an opportunity to improve yourself. When you label yourself as a failure, you'll only provide yourself with negative emotions that trigger an episode of emotional eating. Just get keeping going with your next clean meal.

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Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
Hi.. Im Katie. I am 20 years old. I am a student nurse. I love learning about healthy eating and living healthy lifestyles. There are so many lies and myths about the food we eat today and I am determined to spread the word. If you have any questions don't be shy to ask. Email me at P.S I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose conditions. I am just hear to educate myself and others. Any symptoms I address please see your doctor.
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