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We need food to survive, but that is definitely not the only reason we eat it. Eating can be a social event. It brings us pleasure. When we are feeling anxious, stressed, angry or depressed, it can be the friend that makes those yucky feelings subside. We are all prone to this behavior at times, but for some of us, it produces a major barrier to successful weight loss. There is no such thing as becoming perfect eaters, but we can make a big enough change to take back control. Here are some tips for dealing with eating emotionally.
Increased awareness of our behaviors is the first step in making change—after all, we cannot fix a problem until we have clearly identified all its parts. When it comes to emotional eating, the behavior is so automatic that you are self-medicating with food on complete autopilot. Start an ‘’emotional eating diary’’ that tracks your mood and food intake. Write down how you are feeling, what you ate (or wanted to eat when you can resist the urge), how you felt before you ate and after. You will gain a wealth of insight into your triggers and how to better deal with them. This diary is just for your eyes so do not hold back or sensor yourself.
Meditation can be an extremely powerful tool in curbing emotional eating. The core of the issue is feeling powerless over your feelings and the urge to make them go away as quickly as possible. You are uncomfortable with being uncomfortable, and nothing more than meditation can help you sit with unpleasant feelings better; it can lessen the urge to squash them immediately. You will feel more powerful. This practice also helps you gain greater awareness of the fleeting nature of your feelings and thoughts. These entities are separate from you and are in constant flux. When you know the feelings will pass, you will not feel compelled to comfort yourself with food immediately. Meditation also helps ease stress, a major trigger for turning to food for comfort. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, but I highly recommend a session right after you wake up; you can head off that morning anxiety and rushing that can set the stage for a stressful day.
The cravings associated with emotional eating are usually pretty specific—lots of comfort foods like cake, ice cream or a fatty hunk of cheese. Very rarely will someone feel compelled to eat an apple or a salad to deal with her feelings. But, guess what? You cannot eat what is not there. Stock your house with healthy items; so, even if an emotionally-induced craving hits that you cannot quite fight, eating an avocado or rice crackers will not do any harm. As someone who became acutely aware of the tendency to eat emotionally, this one tip has helped immensely. While you may not always have control over thoughts and feelings, we do have total control over our food choices and what we bring home from the grocery store.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things health; she recommends visiting vimtrim.com for more information on nutrition, exercise and other weight-loss topics.
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