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Saturday, August 8, 2009
10 ways to Conquer Emotional Eating
1. Exercise - Emotional eating is often caused by stress. Exercising reduces stress and releases "feel good" endorphins. People who exercise regularly tend to crave healthy, natural foods. Vigorous exercise is the most effective, but even a walk around the block can help keep problems in perspective.
2. Reach Out To a Friend - Healthy lifestyle change requires a support system. Share your health and weight loss goals with a good friend. Arrange to call her when you are tempted to binge.
3. Have a Good Laugh - Watch a comedy or surf YouTube for funny videos. Laughter reduces stress and burns calories too. Just don't snack while you watch!
4. Purge Your Space, Especially Your Kitchen - You are not likely to binge on healthy food, so make it tough to give in to your cravings by getting rid of all the junk food. Replace the unhealthy food with fresh fruits and vegetables. It's unlikely you'll sabotage your healthy weight loss plan by pigging out on apples or celery!
5. Take a Nap - Lack of sleep lowers our defenses and makes it more difficult to cope with stress and challenges. Often we think we're hungry when we're really eating to combat fatigue. If you can't get the 7 or 8 hours of sleep you need, then take a nap.
6. Interact With Your Pet - Our pets never judge us and they are always there for us. They also need us. So the next time you are tempted to succumb to your unhealthy cravings, play with your cat or take your dog for a walk.
7. Clean Out a Closet - Studies show that you are more likely to be overweight if your house is a mess. There is a clear connection between clutter and fat. Purge your space and declutter to feel better and forget about your cravings.
8. Find an Online Buddy - If it's late at night you may be reluctant to reach out to a friend, so why not troll the countless online support forums for a supportive buddy? Even reading diet success stories or hearing about other people's similar struggles can make you feel strong enough to avoid destructive behavior. Don't go it alone - often the root of emotional eating is loneliness, so reaching out to someone who cares can squelch the cravings.
9. Volunteer - Helping someone else in need pumps up your self-esteem and gives you purpose. Why not help coach your kids' soccer team or walk dogs at the local humane society? Give back even from the comfort of your computer by visiting a site like freerice.com that feeds the hungry while you improve your vocabulary.
10. Write in Your Gratitude Journal - Writing down what you are thankful for puts the negative things in perspective. Acknowledging the blessings in your life makes the setbacks seem less daunting. Focus on what's good in your life and you will be less likely to binge on unhealthy food.
Emotional eating prevents many from permanent weight loss. Substitute positive activities to keep from binging.
Which strategies work for you?