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Are You A Victim Of Comfort Food? 10 Tips To Change | Amoils.com

Added November 11, 2011, Under: Diets, Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss

Some call it comfort food while others say it is emotional eating. Either way, it is turning to food, and particularly less healthy food, when times are tough. If your emotions and your waistline are getting the raw end of the deal as far as your eating habits are concerned, perhaps it is time to do something constructive about this problem.

Often, it becomes a habit to turn to food when stress, a loss or a certain situation occurs and most of the time you are not even hungry. The big downside of emotional eating is that it can sabotage your weight loss efforts because emotional eating often leads to eating too much of the high-calorie, sweet and fatty types of foods.

Why we turn to emotional eating

Whether caused by major life events or the every day hassles of life, emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Some of the main triggers that can cause you to eat comfort food instead of dealing with a painful situation are:

  • Unemployment

  • Financial pressure

  • Health problems

  • Relationship conflicts

  • Work stress

  • Bad weather

  • Fatigue

These tips could help you to overcome the problem

1.  If emotional eating is an ongoing concern for you, it can help to keep a food diary. In one column keep a record of your emotions, in the second column the reasons for eating and in the third column the food that you actually ate. This is a good way to identify the triggers that set you off and in time, as you see a pattern emerging, it will help you to manage the situation in the future.

2.  When you find yourself reaching for that food at difficult times, stop and drink a glass of water. This will take your mind off the food for a few seconds at least! It will also help to make you feel fuller (and healthier). Make yourself wait for 30 minutes before succumbing to the desire for that particular comfort food and with a bit of luck, that desire will have vanished until the next time.

3.  Be aware of certain situations – for example you might have to be spending a lot of time at a hospital because of a sick or injured loved one. At such a time, your regular eating habits can be really thrown off kilter so that you grab anything to eat at the hospital shop or canteen or perhaps when you are travelling to and from the hospital. At such a time it becomes more important than ever to eat regular, nourishing meals so that you stay well and healthy to help and support that loved one.

4.  Take away temptation. Don’t keep supplies of comfort foods in your home if they’re hard for you to resist. If they are not there, you cannot have them. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until your emotions are in check.

5.  You can still snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose fresh fruit, chopped up raw vegetables with a healthy dip or dressing, a handful of raw nuts or plain popcorn.

6.  If you are in a work or home situation where there is confrontation or a difficult time to cope with and you are tempted to grab anything at hand, take a walk to calm down before you do so. You will come back with a different perspective and will be less likely to want to eat.

7.  Learn to gauge whether you are stomach hungry or emotionally hungry. If you can make this a habit, it will help you to put the brakes on when you are tempted to go in for some comfort eating.

8.  Don’t deprive yourself too much. When you’re trying to achieve a weight-loss goal with healthy eating at every meal, this may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety in your healthy food to help curb cravings.

9.  Boredom eating is another type of emotional eating. Instead of eating when bored you can learn other ways to handle dull situations such as trying something out of your comfort zone; improving your mind; turning off the TV; or rediscovering your dreams.

10. Did you know that not getting enough sleep or suffering from insomnia can be another reason why you need to reach for comfort food. If you’re constantly tired, you might snack to try to give yourself an energy boost.  Instead, address the problem of insomnia or too little sleep.

My husband battles with weight constantly. I know that the minute he becomes agitated (more often than not when his favorite soccer team is not playing so well), he will go marching down to the kitchen to raid the refrigerator or the pantry.

I try to steer him to the raw carrots in the veggie drawer or I just have to bite my tongue!

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