Would you agree with me that for the most part, we KNOW how to eat right? I mean, there are only so many permutations of diets out there before you realize that whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables as 90% of your diet with keeping an eye on portion control will pretty much get you where you need to be.
That being said, instead of struggling with WHAT we eat, many of us struggle with WHEN we eat and HOW MUCH we eat. I am an emotional eater. I can admit it in public like this, yet still not be able to control myself when things get a little stressful. So as I often do, I am writing this blog post to help you and me together to battle this problem!
I recently read a WebMD article about emotional eating, and thought you'd like to know from a survey:
- Ice Cream is the #1 emotional eating food
- In general, women tend to grab cookies and sweets, and men tend to go for steak, pizza, and casseroles when stressed
- You can actually be HAPPY and eat emotionally. In general, savory/fatty foods tend to be our choice when we are happy, sweets tend to be our choice when we are sad, and chips/pretzels/salty snacks tend to be our choices when we are simply bored
Tips to Combat Emotional Eating:
1) Keep a Food Diary.
You may know you have an emotional eating problem, but you may not realize how much you are eating until you keep track. A food diary can be as simple as a piece of paper and a pen. A food diary is about the "what" not necessarily the amount of calories you are eating. Just simply seeing how often during the day you eat, and what choices you make at certain parts of the day can be really helpful. You don't need to do this for more than 7 days before you can start to see patterns.
2) Join a regimented program, or a challenge.
I don't know about you, but when somebody else is telling me what to do, I tend to fall in line and do what I'm told! I hate to say it that way, but as an example, when I decided to do Ultimate Reset, my emotional eating problems disappeared because I had specific meals and snacks laid out for me every day, and sticking to the regimented program took up the brain space that would have otherwise led to emotional eating. Every month, I run a 5-6 person challenge group and I have newly instituted "Dan's Diet Rules." These rules are definitely a little less stringent than Ultimate Reset but really help you eat clean and in my mind are easier to follow than some of the meal plans that Beachbody puts out there.
Contact me and I'll find a spot for you.
3) Find a positive activity you can always gravitate to when you begin to have cravings.
When you become self-aware of your cravings, instead of eating, commit to an activity like going for a walk, watering the plants, grabbing a tall glass of water, calling your mother, or another good habit! You will be training your brain to associate your cravings with something positive and possibly beneficial to yourself and family! (Mom will appreciate it if you call her once in a while).
4) Know what causes your cravings.
I wrote an article about cravings a while ago, check it out here: http://fitasylum.com/index.php/blog/nutrition/49-your-cravings-explained. Basically, if you crave salt, drink water. If you crave sweets, eat lean protein! If you crave fats, eat quality carbs. Read the article if you want to know why!
When you can eliminate the emotions, you will ultimately be living a happier life. When you eat because you are hungry, the food is more satisfying and there is no guilt. All we can ask is to try our best, so I hope these tips help!