One of the most common obstacles for a person trying to lose weight is emotional eating. Munching down a bag of potato chips out of boredom, depression or even happiness can be a serious detriment to anyone’s weight loss efforts. It’s not easy to overcome because life is full of events that make us change our emotions.
You could be a month into your healthy weight loss program and feeling very good about it, then all of a sudden you get downsized from your job. The first thing you do is become depressed and drive yourself to the grocery store to get a package of double stuff oreos. You know comfort foods like this will only make you more depressed in the morning, but you do it anyway.
If you want to be the kind of person who leaves the cookies on the shelf and focus instead on turning negatives into positives, the 6 tips below can help you.
Tip #1: Be Prepared
As I said before, no matter what kind of life you have, there will always be something about to happen that will make you sad or happy. These moments must be expected and the solution approached with caution. What do you do when you see a speed bump in the road? You automatically slow down because you know the consequences. You were prepared because you expected it. Just like you read road signs when you drive, there are signs in life that will tell you when something is about to happen.
Tip #2: Distractions
Whenever you are overjoyed or depressed about something, have a list of activities ready to take your mind off emotional eating. Keeping your hands busy doing anything besides reaching into a box of Cheez-its, is going to help you overcome your shift in emotions without eating. For me it is closing myself off to the world and practicing my guitar, playing a video game, or going for a long walk with my Ipod. By the time I am finished with any of these activities, I have usually found a solution or at least have calmed down.
Tip #3: Drink A Bottle Of Water
This does not sound like something you want to do when you are extremely happy or angry, but water fills you up and makes you feel more full. Anyone on a healthy weight loss program should have a bottle of water handy at all times anyway. When you feel the urge to eat off your program, drink the water. Trust me, it works like a charm. A lot of times people mistake hunger for thirst. Your mind might be tricking you and telling you that you need to eat, when you just might need a drink.
Tip #4: Determine What Is What
Do you crave a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream or do you just need someone to talk to? When you’re struggling with a craving or feel driven to eat mindlessly, stop and determine what you are feeling. Condition yourself to learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger. I crave eating junk food any time something good happens and when something bad happens I tend to avoid eating. But when I am truly hungry, I will eat healthy foods.
Tip #5: Focus On The Consequences Of Your Actions
If you stop and think for a minute what that Hershey bar will feel like after you eat it, you might start building up the will power to put it down. You know you will feel bad emotionally because you threw your diet off track, so eat something healthy and get full on that instead.
Think about how tomorrow you won’t even remember the taste of it. Maybe that will make you want to juice up some veggies or eat the carrots instead.
Tip #6: Eat In The Same Place
Remember the kitchen table? You know that piece of furniture that your monthly bills are usually scattered over? Clear it off and make a promise to yourself to only do your eating there, with no distractions like the tv, radio or newspaper. I know this is the age of multi-tasking, but a lot of emotional eating occurs when we are distracted. Mindless eating in front of the tv is the worst, especially when it is done late at night.
No matter what kind of life you have, there will always be problems, even people who are in great physical shape. They may be able to arrive at their problems looking slim and trim, but they have just as many obstacles as a person struggling to lose weight. No matter who you are, you must work your emotions by expecting these obstacles. By stopping emotional eating, you can eliminate about half of the obstacles people face trying to lose weight.
About the Author
Bill Winch is a Personal Wellness Coach whose mission is teaching and coaching others who are struggling with losing weight safely and keeping it off for good. To learn more about how to be successful at your dieting & weight loss goals.