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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ten Ways to Avoid Emotional Eating

I am ashamed to say that this week has been HORRIBLE!!  After getting all pumped up to start The Healthy Redhead nutrition plan, I ended the week in UTTER FAILURE!

Last Friday, hubby called from work with the news that two of his friends had died in a horrible plane crash.  Two planes collided mid-air and both pilots on both planes died.  This has been devastating on so many levels.

This past week, we have met with the families of the deceased, attended memorials, funerals, and tried to keep our own spirits up.  HOWEVER, I coped the way that I normally do.  I ate COMFORT FOOD!!

Of course, the "comfort food" actually brings NO comfort in the end because I was sick to my stomach afterward, had eaten too much, and of course, felt guilty!  UGH!

Alas!  I will say that the 10 minutes of SUNBURST TIME every day has really helped! Which, got me thinking, what else can we do to lift our spirits INSTEAD of emotional eating??  I am CONVINCED that emotional eating is the biggest reason that diets fail.

Food can act like a drug.  It can release endorphins in our body that we can become addicted to or, at the very least, relate to certain foods.  It's kind of like Pavlov's Dogs.  We feel bad. We eat something that we think is really good. Our brain says "I feel bad, but on a good note, THIS IS YUMMY!"  This creates a positive flow of endorphins. After that, we relate the food as making us feel better from the emotion.  IN REALITY, it wasn't the food, it was the release of good endorphins. THAT is what we are really looking for. NOT the food, but the little mini chemical dump, or rush, or endorphins that will make us feel better.

SO, how can we get that same "feeling" without food?

THR's Top Ten 

1. ADMIT YOU HAVE A PROBLEM! It sounds cliche, BUT if you are an emotional eater, you have probably tied certain foods to your emotional state.  For me, it is MEXICAN FOOD!  That is my "go to" when I feel bad. Which, actually makes sense because science shows that carbs are the quickest "pleasure foods" because they quickly turn into sugar that our bodies use for a burst of instant energy. We can feel this immediately and associate the food to the emotion. Therefore, my first step is to recognize that I am an emotional eater and which foods are triggers.

2.Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or relaxation.

3.Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don't have a rumbling stomach, you're probably not really hungry. Give the craving a little time to pass.

4.Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between mood and food. You all know that I HATE keeping a food diary.  Not because I don't see the worth, but because I always forget, and it causes me stress. HOWEVER, THIS is how I realized that I was eating emotionally.

5.Get support. You're more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group. I can't begin to tell you how this blog and the Facebook page have helped me!  PLEASE let me return the favor!  Use THR as a support community.  It sounds crazy, but it really helps!  

6.Replace the Action. You are eating to make yourself feel better! Find other things that make you excited or lift your spirits.  Maybe it's reading a book, taking a bubble bath, getting a pedicure, going for a walk.  Be careful not to replace eating with another habit that could be harmful.  Things like shopping can be addicting and harmful to the family.  Watching a movie might trigger you to eat unhealthy snacks.  See where I'm going with this? I  found that writing my feelings down helps me.  Also, nice smelling lotions help me!  I just put some on and it gives me a little boost.  Finally, of course THE SUN!!  

7.Take away temptation. Don't keep supplies of comfort foods in your home if they're hard for you to resist. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you're sure that you have your emotions in check. I had already done this, so my emotional eating was ALL done by EATING OUT this week.  NOT GOOD!  We spent more money and ate worse food! But I actually think that it saved me from going WAY overboard!

8.Don't deprive yourself. We have all heard this before! When you're trying to achieve a weight-loss goal, you may limit your calories too much, eat the same foods frequently and banish the treats you enjoy. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.

9.Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip or unbuttered popcorn.  I know, sometimes these things just DON'T cut it!  But if you are always snacking, you are less likely to "feel hungry" throughout the day.  Plus, it will help you stay level headed.  You may find yourself thinking "I can't be hungry, I have been eating these snap peas all day!" ;) 

10.Learn from setbacks. If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you're making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that'll lead to better health. I definitley learned from my experience this week.  As a result YOU are going to benefit too! 

 I am working on an EASY TRACKING FORM for my daily food intake!  It's not quite as detailed as keeping a journal, but it will help to make us aware of what we are eating. I think it's actually pretty cool! (Of course I think that!) 

ANYWAY...  I'm pretty excited for it and hope that you are too!  Stay tuned!!!

I am on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!

1 comment:

  1. I agree honey - I am so proud of the way you're taking this head-on. I love you for being so passionate about this. Keep going, I'm right behind you!



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