Hungry? Sad? Bored?

bfb9b3d4f58fbd9fa89dc1bfd373c019Why are you eating when you eat?

“What’s that on the counter?  Brownies!  I’ll just have one.”  Well, one turns into two turns into half a pan.  Were you hungry?  Most likely not.

One of the most common causes of weight gain is emotional eating.  41% of us are overweight, 23% of us are obese.  We know this.  I don’t think anyone has ever been surprised when their doctor tells them they need to lose weight…”You’re getting a little heavy”   “What?!  Let me see a mirror – I never noticed!”  Said no one, ever.

We know what we need to do.  We know what we should and shouldn’t be eating, yet we do it anyway.  Why is that?

This is from SHAPE Magazine: “We overeat because we’re emotionally hungry,” says Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D., associate professor of family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Pathway: Follow the Road to Health and Happiness (ReganBooks, 2003). That emotional hunger draws us into a cycle in which emotions — such as stress, depression, boredom, fear, loneliness and emotional emptiness — trigger overeating, which in turn triggers more stress, depression, boredom, fear, loneliness and emotional emptiness. And so the cycle continues.

So what can we do to stop this madness?  Here are few tips…

  1. Avoid external cues.  If you always snack while watching tv – change your routine.  Carry a big glass of water with you and instead of reaching for a snack – take a sip.  Also, during commercial breaks – do a few push ups or sit ups. Exercise is the best cure for bad eating – you have to eat well to move well.
  2. Ride it out.  “A crave is like a wave.”  If you can manage to hold out for a few minutes, the craving should pass.  Don’t allow yourself instant gratification here – you can do it!
  3. Ask yourself a few questions:  “Am I really hungry?”  “Am I bored?”  “Am I upset?”  Act accordingly.  Food is meant to satisfy true hunger – not mend a broken heart.
  4. Don’t deprive yourself.  Crash diets tell you right in the title what is bound to happen. They don’t work in the long run.  Eat whole food to satisfy your hunger – eat enough of it – drink lots of water.  When we are starving, our body goes into survival mode and we tend to overeat, and usually it’s the wrong kinds of foods because they are handy.  Feed your body well.  Don’t try to run on empty.  Stock your pantry with good options and leave the bad options on the grocery store shelf.  You can’t eat what you don’t have.

Food is one of the most overused drugs in our society – problem is, we can’t just stop. We must eat; therefore, we must be wise about it.

You’re the only you there is.  Love yourself enough to care for yourself as you would care for a beloved child.  You’re worth it.

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