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Top 4 Tips to Stop Addictive and Emotional Overeating

How many times have you dieted and have just given up? How many times?? You see, the word DIET really is a four-letter word for good reason. Diets create an unnatural way of living and eating. Having said that, losing weight goes beyond just dieting – weight loss begins in the mind. The power of the mind is huge! For example, breaking habits that do not serve us – like reaching for those Oreo’s when things get rough, bored etc. You see, as a people, we have become so dependent on salty, sugary and fatty foods to make us feel good or comfort us instead of turning to more positive outlets.
If you have struggled with your weight, gone off and on diets or tend to eat past the point of being full, make a concerted effort to change the way you think about food. Most of us habitually look forward to foods full of fat, sugar, and salt. It has become a habit! Do you know why? These types of foods release ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain’s reward center and over time, we associate the change in mood with eating certain foods like that Chunky Monkey in the freezer! These foods then become addictive because we want to feel good.
Sugar in particular is very addicting because it raises our blood sugar making us feel good and then comes the precipitous drop is the exact point you get that ‘crash’..this is where you want more sugar to feel good. So there you go reaching for the Oreos..again!
There is an emotional component to eating as well. Emotions such as boredom or anger can result in mindless overeating for comfort.
Here are the top 4 Tips you can take to help break the cycle or habit of overeating:
– Make the Connection Between Healthy Foods and Pleasure:
By focusing on the pleasurable act of eating and what you are eating, you will, over time, literally change your brain chemistry to appreciate and look forward to healthier foods. It is very important to make the connection that these wonderful, healthful, life-giving foods are creating optimum health for you now and in your future. I also want you to associate unhealthy foods with poor health, overweight and a poor quality of life. Create healthy and unhealthy images as you make the positive and negative associations of each.
– Practice Mindful Eating:
This means that you are paying attention to how delicious the food is, the texture of the food, the aroma etc. By focusing on what you are eating, you will be less tempted to wolf food down. This action allows our brain to register that we have eaten and are getting full. This also allows you to control how much you eat.
– Plan Your Meals:
Eat three meals a day and two snacks. This is vital as it stabilizes your blood sugar preventing the desire to overeat or make poor health choices – even in an emotional context. Have you ever gone grocery shopping hungry? Remember the poor food choices? This same situation can be applied to everyday life – do not go through life hungry! Low blood sugar – even slightly will only lead to poor food choices which result in overeating and poor health.
– Identify Your Eating Triggers:
Is your eating trigger emotional? Boredom, stress, anger, anxiety or loneliness? Is it situational? In front of the TV, baseball game or movies? Is your emotional trigger social? When you are at a family gathering? At a sporting event? With friends?
Once you have determined out what your eating trigger(s) are, the next step is to break that habit by creating an alternative to eating. When you reach for food in response to a trigger – Create a Diversion. First acknowledge that yes, I do want that food because I am lonely, sad, angry etc. Then take a walk, call a friend, read a book, play with your children, try deep breathing – anything to divert your attention from the food until the urge to eat passes.
For lasting behavioral change to occur, there must be a shift in your thinking, from turning to food for comfort and not caring about your health – to the desire to create a quality life with positive health choices.
Remember, dieting and deprivation only lead to a vicious cycle of not eating well, giving-up and then finding comfort in food. The key is understanding why you overeat and then changing your response to the foods you like but are not healthy for you.…