Do you sometimes tend to cope with life’s challenges by eating?
Here are some tips and tricks to stop your bad food habits.
Figure out your stress – eating triggers.
Experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is due to emotions. Do you eat when you are angry? Bored? Lonely? At a party when you’re feeling nervous? Pay attention to the situations that prompt you to reach for extra helpings or snacks. Identifying your overeating triggers is the first step in fixing emotional eating problems.
Fix emotional eating
Once you’ve discovered which emotions are behind your bad eating habits, you can fix the situation. If you’re feeling angry, try putting on some music and dancing. Worried? Turn off the news and read a joke book – or turn on a comedy station. Sad? Read something inspirational, meditate or pray, or call a friend. Lonely? Call or write to a friend or take a walk to a place where there are people, such as the library. Just be mindful that food can’t soothe or solve your problems; at best, it will mask them for a short time. That’s not a benefit at all.
Chat more, eat less
Never stand by the chips and mindlessly eat while you talk with other guest at a party. Instead of letting conversation lead you into mindless eating, let socializing be the centerpiece of your experience by staying far from the buffet. When you arrive at a picnic or backyard barbecue, grab a low-calorie drink and scope out a great seat at a table filled with friends, family, or friendly strangers. This is your home base. Then approach the buffet table of grill with a purpose: Grab a plate, add carefully chosen foods, and carry it back to your spot at the center of the real fun.
Write in your journal
Paying attention to your feelings by writing them down is a powerful way to make yourself feel valued – and feel better – without resorting to sour-cream-and-onion chips. Keep a feelings journal and pay attention to situations that lead to overeating. That way, you’ll learn how to spot dangerous situations sooner and take preventative steps.
Have more fun
When life is busy and your to do list is long, it’s easy to turn to food as quick entertainment and solace. In fact, you may be missing out on other healthy pleasures that would be more satisfying. When was the last time you enjoyed your favorite activities, such as going to a concerts or dog shows, gardening or museum hopping, roller-skating or antiquing? Make time for fun, and you may find you don’t need the “fun pack” of cookies after all.
Tune in to your true hunger level.
Before you take a bite, stop and rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 meaning famished and 10 being totally stuffed, the way you feel after a big Thanksgiving dinner. The time to eat is when you’re at about a 3. The time to stop eating? When you’re at a 5 to 7 – feeling comfortably satisfied but not overly full. If you’re reaching for food when you’re not at 3, pull back and remind yourself that it will be snack time, or mealtime, soon.
Physical activity cuts stress and pumps feel-good endorphins throughout your body while burning calories. Make a new commitment to getting a half hour of activity most days of the week. Great options include walking, exercising to aerobics videos and DVDs, taking a class or doing strength training at a gym, or simply choosing active fun like hiking, bowling, swimming, or skating.
I personally want to have more fun! What about you?
Giving you the most current and up to date advice on living a longer and active life.
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