For many of us, healthy habits go down the tubes when we are upset, bored, stressed or sad.
Suppose you have the healthiest set of habits that you have ever had. you are eating more veggies than Bugs Bunny. Your sleep is so consistent that the neighbors rooster doesn't get up until you do. You exercise so often that your gym shoes start lacing themselves. It is tough to think that something could get in your way.
Something can, and it often does.......Emotional Eating!
Emotional eating is quite possibly the #1 enemy of continued healthy living. Sometimes we eat for the strangest reasons, bad day at work may escalate with a bag of chips on the couch. An argument may drive you to the fridge to calm down. A rough round of golf may lead you to the clubhouse for a chilli dog and a beer.
You have come so far, you are nearly at the end of your weight loss journey. You have worked so hard to improve the day to day actions that point you in the right direction. As we become masters of these habits we should be better prepared to combat some of the reasons behind the emotional eating pitfalls. You can --and should--eliminate the emotional triggers so they no longer have a change to sabotage your lifestyle and healthy habits.
Emotional eating is a common problem. In fact it is estimated that 75% of weight gain is due to emotional eating or mindless eating.
It is not always easy to pinpoint the root of these problems. But you can take some steps to help to draw out these reasons and squash them like bugs.
1. Recognize the problem - you may be an emotional eater and not even know it. Do you graze for no reason even though you are not hungry? Do you find yourself in front of an open fridge and not know why? Do you react to stress by opening your mouth and sticking an eating utensil in it? Do you tend to gain weight when going through hectic/stressful times in your life?
2. Identify and Investigate Trigger Times - Become aware or danger times and situations. Is coming home from work often an emotional time for you? A visit with the in-laws? Talking with the EX? Do these times overlap with unhealthy eating episodes? The best way to figure this out is to track your reasons for eating. Hopefully hunger is the most common reason. If you find there are others then you can plan for these triggers ahead of time.
3. Look at the reasons triggers have power - The root of emotional eating often lies in bigger picture questions. Are you going through a stressful period at work, at home, in your marriage, or in some other way? Have you had a recent failure that is crushing your self esteem? Are you unhappy with your day to day life? Have you gone through a traumatic experience, such as a death, divorce, bankruptcy or loss of job?
4. Take it one trigger at a time - Write in your blog how these lifetime experiences are effecting your good food choices as well as your motivation. First, figure out how these times are about to trigger an emotional eating episode and how to neutralize it. Then think about what steps you can take to keep the issue from having a hold on you at all. Focus on one at time, and be patient and generous with yourself. This may take some time.
Emotional eating triggers have no easy answers, but ignoring them will only make things worse. Until you deal with these issues you make continue your ride on the diet roller coaster, no matter how hard you try to keep your healthy habits alive. You can DO THIS!