“That extra biscuit with a cup of coffee. That naughty bar of chocolate at the supermarket checkout. That temptation to have that extra helping because we’ve enjoyed the first one so much. Most of the time we comfort eat when we’re not really hungry at all. Comfort eating is something that is instilled in us from birth. When we were babies we cried and our mothers comforted us with their milk. As we grew older we were given treats for comfort or when we hurt ourselves. We were rewarded with sweets or the occasional ice cream when we were good.”
Food was always considered something that could make us feel better. When we feel happy, we eat. When we feel sad, we eat. And, of course, when we are bored we eat. This comfort eating is what that causes weight loss havoc. We all press the panic button when we have to handle little bit of pressure and thus end up eating the best tasting high calorie food. Here are few ways we can stop ourselves from yielding to comfort eating.
“Much of emotional eating is so unconscious that it happens automatically or below your awareness. Before you jump into changing this behavior, keep a journal. Write down where and when you stress eat. The office? Late at night? When you are alone? Are there any patterns that you notice? Every time you eat, ask yourself how physically hungry you are on a scale from 1-10. If you are a 6-10, it’s likely that you are physically hungry. A 3, for example, would signify that you are stress eating,” says Dr. Susan Albers, author of Eat, Drink and Be Mindful.
Find a new comfort
Most of the times we eat because we are bored. There are lot of ways to kill your boredom. You can try going for a swim, or even a walk. Exercise is a natural mood-enhancer. If you’re feeling sad or anxious, try short bursts of any type of activity. Alternatively, you can tune in to your favourite music as it is also a powerful mood-changer. Create some playlists that make you feel good.
Keep yourself occupied. Do anything but not eat. You can go ahead and sort out your room or just do some gardening. You can go book tickets and watch a movie. There are lot of people who feel like binge eating in the night, before bed. The best way to avoid this is by taking a good bath. There must be something that can divert your mind. Figure that out and keep them for the times you want to reach out for that packet of crisps.
Take a break
Just because you have an almost instant craving for food doesn’t mean that you need to immediately eat. Instead of turning to food every time you think that you are hungry, take a break and think about it. If you still feel hungry after 10 minutes, consider a healthy snack.
Before you give in to emotional eating, take a moment and try to focus on the future. Don’t you want to look great on your next party? “It can help get you out of the moment so you make healthier food choices instead of succumbing to the lure of a tasty treat,” says a 2014 study.
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