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How to Control Emotional Eating

Date: Jul 29, 2013    By: Genesis Fitness

I honestly believe I have a little devil perched on my shoulder trying to convince me to stray, to have a little nibble, a small bite and in the end, maybe devour an entire cake. Most of the time I am able to silence this little fiend! But sometimes, when I am most vulnerable, or really tired, the devil wins and I am left feeling guilty, gluttonous and shamefaced. It does not have to be this way! You can take control.

The following seven tips will help you overcome those moments of weakness:

1. Remove temptation
Rule one of any weight loss plan should be to remove temptation. Just get it all out of the house! Find a rubbish bag, and if it is high in sugar, salt or saturated fat then dump it. When temptation strikes, the extra effort of walking down to the shops may be enough to persuade you otherwise. Stock your cupboard with nutritious snacks so there is always a healthy option on hand.

2. Choose healthy snacks
Cravings take place for so many reasons. You can probably identify your own triggers, be it a stressful day, a fight with your partner or a few less hours of sleep. It is important to have healthy snacks that will overcome the craving on hand. Trying to ignore a craving or eat around a craving will often lead to double the number of calories being consumed.

3. Get moving
If there were one solution to emotional eating, it would be exercise. Exercise reduces emotional eating in two ways. First, it gets you out of the kitchen and distracts you from the mindless eating you were about to take part in. The second is that it increases the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good hormone, which produce analgesia and a feeling of general wellbeing. A lot of reward for a little jog!

4. Ask for support
A common reason people emotionally eat is because they don’t feel supported. While family and friends are accessible at certain hours, food is available all the time. Focus on improving your relationships to improve your mood and reduce your stress. Instead of texting a friend, give them a call or schedule in lunch with mum once a week. This human contact may be what you are after.

5. Take 30
I give you permission to cave into a craving if you wait 30 minutes from the onset of the craving. Go call a friend, walk around the block or prepare dinner. After 30 minutes the craving may well have subsided, and you can avoid a dreaded binge.

6. Seek professional help
Emotional eating often occurs for a long time before it is dealt with. When you feel like your binge eating is out of your control, it may be time to seek professional help. This may be in the form of a psychologist or a dietitian depending on the root of the issue. Be proud for taking this step, as the first step is often the most difficult.

7. Don’t be so hard on yourself
If the devil gets the better of you, and you do devour the second piece of cake, don’t beat yourself up over it. The guilt you associate with overeating will often result in further binge eating. Take control of your emotions. It’s important to keep things in perspective. Overindulging is not a crime, and does not make you a bad person!

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