Monthly Archives: November 2016

7 Tactics To Overcome Emotional Eating

A lot of people don’t realize that emotional eating is directly related to stress. But if we put it this way, most emotional eaters are probably not aware that they have a problem in the first place.

Emotional eaters tend to eat whenever they feel upset, anxious, nervous, and basically… stressed.

While it is totally possible for someone to feel positive feelings like being happy and delighted when eating, that condition is more affectionately referred to as a binge. It’s still a form of emotional eating. But it’s positive connections make it a lesser problem than it’s negativity-inclined cousin.

Emotional eaters are basically feeding their stress. And with cloudy food choices, they consume food that is bad for the body to neutralize that stress.

This gives them a high for a few seconds before feeling guilty. And this guilt builds more stress. Triggering a craving to eat more. The cycle repeats and won’t stop even when you get obscenely obese. In worst cases, it can even lead to depression.

Some of the usual suspects include

  • Donuts
  • Chocolates
  • Ice-cream
  • Chips
  • etc

You might think you have a problem. But for some reason, you are uncertain if you indeed have an issue to deal with.

Well you are on the right path as the first step to overcoming emotional eating is to be aware that you have a problem.

Here are more strategies an tactics to combat this undesirable habit.

1) Decoy and distraction

One of the oldest methods of kicking bad habits is the old distraction trick.

This is the simple act of doing something, any activity, whenever you feel a craving to eat mindlessly.

  • Go for a walk
  • Online gaming
  • Chat with a friend
  • etc

The key to distraction for good effect is to engage in activities that does not require you to think deep. The more you allow your brain to think, the more probable that you might think about eating again.

This means that when trying to distract yourself, you shouldn’t take on activities like writing journals, reading, or homework. Also avoid the TV as that’s the biggest cue for you to start snacking again.

2) Relax

Often times, all you need to do to combat cravings is to relax.

When we feel tension, we feel the effects both on a physical and psychological way. And for some reason, instincts tell us to eat in order to relief these unpleasant effects.

Maybe the body knows the temporary effects a sugar-rush can induce? I don’t know.

Yet all the body needs is to relax to alleviate all that tension. This is when relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and meditation might be extremely effective.

If you can get past a craving and withstand it’s onslaught on your brain for maybe a minute or two, very often you would find that the craving is gone.

3) Use reminders

A lot of times, we snack without even thinking.

Surely you must remember a few incidents when you walked to the fridge and open it’s doors to look in without even knowing why? It’s like a reflex!

Pin up a note using a fridge magnet to remind yourself not to eat when your are not hungry. This was you will see the note whenever you reach for the fridge.

You can also use sticky notes on cookie jars and packaging of tidbits.

A simple reminder to mindful eating can go a long way.

4) Have breakfast

It’s not the most important meal of the day for no reason.

You body will have gone through extended hours without food the moment you wake up and consciousness takes over. It is hungry and rightly so.

There many advantages for breakfast. Yet it is the most skipped meal of the day.

  • Start your digestion engine and metabolism
  • You body will have the whole day to burn off the calories
  • Load up with energy to go about the day
  • Refuel after as much as 12 hours without food
  • Prevents eating of unhealthy processed snacks before lunch as you are not hungry
  • etc

Other than being a base for a stress-free day, in bodybuilding circles, breakfast is an essential meal to get your body to start metabolizing.

So it can be a step towards weight loss too.

Just be mindful to be moderate with fat and carbohydrate consumption.

5) Spread out meals

A proven method to preventing overeating is to spread out your meals. This means that instead of having 2 big meals (lunch and dinner) a day, spread it our to 4 smaller meals by splitting the meal portions.

You will in effect consuming the same amount of food. But because you spread out the timing, you will feel lesser periods of hunger.

It’s simple meal management.

Having large meals also tend to make one feel lethargic. And you would feel hungry sooner than when the next meal time arrives. Making you prone to snacking emotionally.

Meal portioning makes perfect sense.

6) Replace snack with healthier options

If you absolutely do have to snack, replace your existing snacks with more healthier food choices.

For example, have you heard about superfoods?

Superfoods are foods that supposedly have very healthy and nutritional qualities. Some people even believe that they help the body reduce fat instead of packing fat.

Replace your chips and crackers with foodstuff like:

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • etc

Not only might you better manage stress by alleviating emotional eating, you could get slimmer at the same time with a snacking regime like this.

7) Water

If a full stomach is all you need to instinctively avoid more food, then water could be the best solution for you.

Plain water has zero calories. And the body needs a vast amount of it to optimize it’s functions. Which is why it’s such an irony that 90% of the population do not drink enough water each day.

Every time you feel an urge to snack, drink a glass of water to start off. You would end up eating less garbage and hydrate yourself at the same time too.

See it as a way to fool your mind into avoiding snacking and a way to detox as well.

While some victims of emotional eating might see it as a harmless pleasure to indulge in, the long term effects can be drastically negative. And you should put in a conscious effort to eliminate it as soon as you get aware that it’s affecting you.

How Mindfulness Can Play A Role In Stress Management

Despite having felt stress for as long as I can remember, stress management as a field of study, is still a relatively new concept.

It was not so long ago that people were too busy with work and enjoying life to think about stress management. And having mind therapy is perceived as something only those with mental problems will go through.

In the past, having anxiety or stress that is bad enough to require professional attention can create the impression that one is down with mental problems… crazy.

But as life became more and more stressful. And as people as a community start to attain the basic needs of life, mental health has become one of the needs that people pursue.

Origins of mindfulness

What better way to manage a new age problem using an old approach.

The origins to the concept of mindfulness can be traced back indirectly to classic religious text. Specifically Buddhism and Hinduism.

To attain enlightenment, followers had to arrive at a high level of awareness. And once of the qualifying factors to get to this awareness is mindfulness.

These days, even professionals practice mindful living in order to alleviate anxiety, manage stress, and tackle their worries.

And if mindfulness is practiced by the upper echelons of religion leadership, who are we to question whether there is a science behind it.

With sufferers of stress start to get positive response from mindfulness, it has now become an important module in any stress management workshop.

So what exactly makes up mindfulness?

In a nutshell, being mindful is about being present. Present in the moment. Evaluating things as they are without letting pre-judgment to cloud your thoughts.

In order to be mindful, the following factors are usually present:

  • Awareness
  • Attention
  • Remembering
  • In the moment
  • Not judging
  • Indifference
  • Compassion

The idea that mindfulness is great for stress management is due to the logic that most, if not all, sources of stress originate from a lack of awareness.

For example, the reason you got so hepped up over the lost of your iPhone was due to the fact that you were suffering a lack of awareness and misplaced it. The reason you are so nervous about the presentation tomorrow is because you did not pay attention to what your manager said he wanted in the presentation slides. And the reason why you don’t look forward to seeing someone is because you had judge him unfairly to be a boring person.

The gist is that when you are able to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routines and life in general, you are going to live a less stressful life.

Myths of mindfulness

In order to embrace the full impact of mindfulness. It is essential that you annihilate a few myths floating around trashing it.

It’s another fad

While the application of mindfulness on stress management seemed to just burst onto the scene and still in it’s youthful stage, it is not just a fad. Especially when qualified doctors and medical professionals have lent their weight in backing it.

It is just another word for relaxing

Getting into a relaxed state is one of the results of being mindful. And there are many other advantages that come with it.

It is just a fancy name for meditation

The key difference between mindfulness and meditating is that the latter is something you do alone, while the former is usually practiced for social and interaction reasons.

It’s basically just a form of positive thinking

This is not the case as mindfulness advocates non-reaction and indifference. This means that it is neither positive or negative. If anything, it’s neutral and objective.

It is too difficult to learn

Just like picking up every important skill in life, the beginning is the toughest. But with practice and commitment, it would be like second nature. Like riding a bike and swimming.

It’s more about religion

Nothing can be further from the truth. While it originated from religion, the idea behind it is not tied to any religion. And anyone can practice it without being influence by worship.

Is it right for you?

I can empathize if you feel that mindfulness just seem to odd a thing to practice. I felt the same way when I first learned about this idea and attempted to apply it.

But what I was after was the results.

If going through it can help calm down stress and anxiety, there’s really nothing to lose by just giving it a try. It has not just helped in areas of stress management, but I credit it for a more productive and resourceful me as well.

The biggest hurdle you might face is actually thinking that it is associated with some kind of cult or religion as previously stated.

This is not the case.

So if you find yourself often suffering from anxiety attacks or a stressed out mind, just give mindfulness a go for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. You can always cross it from your to-do list when you don’t experience positive results.