Eat less, exercise more. Sounds easy doesn’t it! Then, why do millions of people struggle with losing weight? Our relation to food is more than just eating to sustain life, we have a deep emotional connection to what we eat. From the moment we come into this world, the act of consuming food is associated with a bond to our mothers. Then, as we grow older the sustenance that comforted us or was given to us as a reward carries into our behaviors as adults. Beneath our relationship with edibles consists an underlying physical or psychological imbalance that can lead to cravings and over eating. That is why the ability to stop over consuming comes as such a hard task for a lot of people.
Comforting yourself with food when your feeling angry, bored, fatigued, nervous, sad, stressed, or even tired is common. However, with some simple tools and techniques you can control your binge eating and stop packing on the pounds. It is important to look at what causes you to over eat. If you can pinpoint a specific emotion and the cause of that sentiment you can start to see why that sensibility causes you to over eat or crave unhealthy foods.
Create awareness of what you eat, what you are feeling when you crave “junk” food, and how it makes you feel after you have ate that foodstuff. You should ask yourself, “Do I lose my appetite when something goes wrong in my life and gain 10 pounds?”, “Do I eat even though I know I’m not hungry?”, “Do I turn to food when I’m stressed at work or about my personal life?”. If you gain weight when something goes wrong in your life, then you’re probably a stress eater. Becoming aware of the problem is the first step to solving it.
Plan ahead. Keep healthy snacks like raw nuts and dried fruit on hand, make your own snacks at home, carry a stainless steal water bottle filled with H2O, eat breakfast, keep a food diary, plan your meals and grocery lists, eat slow, eat on smaller plates, eat a salad or cup of soup before dinner, and cut processed foods out of your diet.
Forgive yourself for past mistakes. If you think you might be an emotional eater, take comfort in the fact that everybody does it. Our brains are hard wired to associate food with our emotions and we’ve done it since we were children. Most importantly, you can do something about your emotional eating, such as gain awareness of your feelings when eating, explore physical and emotional reasons behind the cravings, and start to investigate how to change your diet. These little adjustments, even if done one at a time, can help you make big alterations to your eating habits and waist line.