We’ve all done it. After a crappy day at work, a break up with the boyfriend or simply a snarky person in line at the supermarket, you come home and reach for the quart of premium ice cream. You know this isn’t good for you. You struggle with your weight and maybe even your blood sugar, but you can’t help it. Chocolate stands no chance when you are upset. What can you do to change this habit?
- Identify When You Binge: There’s going to be a common denominator between your episodes of emotional eating. Sit down with a friend and discuss what happened to you the last five times that you were compelled to do damage to the fridge. If it is something that you can predict, like a quarterly review with your boss, then you can take steps to avoid the consequences of likely emotional responses.
- Place Something Healthy in the Way: Instead of filling the freezer with macadamia nut crunch ice cream, load it up with low fat and low cal fruit popsicles. Pre-chop some of your favorite veggies so they are easy to grab. Give your impulse something better to chew on.
- Little Exercises Instead: Are you bored and the cookie tin is your first stop? Alternate the walk down to the break room or kitchen with a trip around the office building or your yard. You are trying to break the habit of eating to fill time. Let your body raise its endorphin levels with a little bit of exercise.
- Empty the Fridge of the Too Tempting: Everyone has a food to which they just can’t say no. It might be peanut butter, Oreo cookies, or marshmallows. You keep a supply on hand because it is your go to package when you can’t take it anymore. Remove it from your kitchen and office desk drawer. Your favorite food should be a reward, not something that you ultimately feel like you are punishing yourself with. Make it a real treat where you have to go out to get it.
- Supplements: Our emotions are often regulated by our body chemistry. If your blood levels are out of sync, it may be causing you to react more emotionally to situations and ultimately send you in search of those comfort snacks. Check with your physician to see if you require dietary supplements to help even out hormonal or vitamin deficiencies.
- Add a Walk to Your Day: Your body generates endorphin which improve your mood when you get your pulse raised through exercise. Instead of succumbing to the mid-afternoon grumbles, leave the office for twenty minutes for an extended walk. Not only does your mood get better, your body stops looking for extra calories while your adrenaline level is raised. Besides, taking that break from your co-workers can snap the circular argument that may be contributing to the desire to visit the fridge.
- Reward Yourself: Replacing snacks with healthier alternatives does not mean you shall never taste ambrosia again. Make a date with yourself to indulge in your favorite foods once a month. Permit yourself to enjoy the taste and sensation of savoring delicious treats. Make eating a positive experience, instead of one that is associated with negative emotions.
- Address the Cause of the Stress: If you understand what is causing the emotional distress connected to your bad eating habit, take steps to change that cause. Whether it is changing jobs, ending a harmful relationship, or attending therapy to face some personal qualms, you will be healthier in the end with or without all those snacks.