How to Kick Emotional Cravings to the Curb
Q: I’m an emotional eater. I know I crave food when I’m feeling insecure or down, but I don’t know how to say no to the cravings when I’m feeling that low. Do you have any strategies for beating emotional cravings?
A: This is a frequently asked question. Okay, it doesn’t take a genius to know you need to eat less and move more to lose weight (although it isn’t that simple), so why do so many of us continue to struggle with our weight year after year? It has everything to do with how we feel when we eat, and why we choose to eat what and when we do. It’s important for us to understand how our emotions and behaviors affect our eating habits and weight so we can then learn how to motivate ourselves toward positive change.Thankfully there are many techniques for combating emotional eating. Let’s go over a few of your options for beating an emotional craving when it strikes:
Remove the temptation. You can’t binge on food that isn’t there. Clear your cupboards of all the things you reach for when you’re feeling down. Have your hubby hide the kids’ biscuits/cookies so you don’t know where to find them (or better yet, toss them!). Throw out the leftover birthday cake in the fridge. Avoid the crisp/chip aisle the next time you go grocery shopping. If it’s not available, you can’t eat it — simple as that.
Build a support system. Positive support from friends and family is crucial. The next time you find yourself mindlessly staring into the fridge, call a friend or a workout friend and have him or her talk you off that ledge. Join a weight-loss group — ANYTHING to keep you from slipping back into old, bad habits. If you’ve had surgery then your wls support group is the place for great support! (see some groups here).
Spend your time wisely. Find a way to relieve stress and boost your mood that’s positive and life affirming rather than self-destructive. Take a bubble bath. Create a new workout playlist. Plan a vacation (maybe at the beach, so you’ll have a little motivation to slim down for your one or two-piece!). Go for a bike ride, walk the dog, pop in a workout video, get a manicure, or splurge on a massage — anything that makes you feel beautiful and healthy. You’re far less likely to turn to food when you feel good.Write it down. Start a journal — and not just to note what you eat. Take an inventory and write about what you’re feeling. It’ll help you see what’s really bothering you, which will allow you to work on a solution instead of trying to find a distraction. If work has you stressed, buckle down for an all-nighter to get that project off your desk. If you had a fight with a friend, take a few deep breaths and try communicating with her, or simply give the two of you time to cool down, and have faith in the fact that this, too, shall pass.
Things sometimes suck. That’s an unfortunate fact of life. We’re sometimes thrown a sudden curve ball, and when that happens it’s important to attend to yourself in positive ways. Bingeing on food, smoking, drinking, or any other indulgent habit may be a temporary relief, but you will only feel worse in the long run. Keep a persistent focus on really changing those habits and you’ll break the cycle.
Some advice courtesy of Jillian Michaels