Do you find yourself yanking open the freezer door for that box of rocky road ice cream after a bad day at work or fight with your best friend? Whether it?s stress, sadness or boredom, emotional eating can sabotage your diet. That?s because you probably aren?t looking for healthy foods like fruits or veggies, but instead are seeking out high-calorie, high-fat snacks like cookies, chips and ice cream.
Here are some tips to help keep the pounds down even when your emotions are running high:
Identify your hunger triggers.
Keep a food journal, and write down when and what you eat. Also write down what you were doing or feeling before you ate. This will help you find patterns in your eating habits, and determine if you are eating because you are actually hungry or if you are reacting to an emotion.
Tame your stress.
When your kids are screaming in the next room and a tight work deadline has you ready to climb up the wall, it?s important to learn healthy strategies for dealing with stress. Try taking a walk to blow off steam, or soaking in a warm bubble bath. Remember that stress can be worsened if you aren?t getting enough sleep at night, so shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Do you often find yourself digging through the kitchen because you have nothing else to do? Next time try heading out for a bike ride to explore the homes in your neighborhood. Has it been awhile since you read a good paperback? Head to your local library and stock up on free books.
Take away temptation.
You can?t gobble down a whole sleeve of cookies if you don?t have them in the first place. Rid your kitchen of extra unhealthy snacks. Nibble instead on healthy foods like fruits, yogurt, or carrot sticks. It is OK to splurge on a treat every now and then, but there?s a difference between keeping a small bag of dark chocolates and having an entire shelf devoted to junk food.
Surprisingly, emotional eating doesn’t have to be a problem. Everyone eats for emotional reasons every now and then. It?s when eating becomes the only strategy someone uses to manages emotions that a problem arises. Learning to make smart food choices and eating in moderation is key to keeping your weight on track.