When you eat in response to your feelings, not hunger, you are emotional eating.  Usually, emotional eating involves eating comfort or junk foods in large amounts in an attempt to avoid your feelings.  These feelings may be of depression, boredom, loneliness, stress, or anxiety to name a few.  Or they might be as a result of relationship problems, or due to poor self-esteem.  Regardless of the feeling involved emotional eating is a common problem for both men and women.  Unfortunately, it can sabotage your weight loss efforts.  The following are some tips for curtailing the endless cycle.

Medical-weight-loss-doctor-new-yorkIdentify your emotions and your triggers.

Keep a journal of what you eat and more importantly how you were feeling when you ate.  This will give perspective of why you’re eating.  It will also help to identify what your triggers are.

Get adequate amounts of sleep.

Everything is more difficult when you are tired.  A 2011 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who slept for 9 hours ate 300 less calories per day than those who sleep for only 4 hours.

Food can bring comfort.

Foods like chocolate cause a release of endorphins which make you feel good.  When you are having a particularly difficult day you will start to crave sugary or fatty foods.  Allowing yourself some of these comfort foods in small amounts will help to curtail the cravings.

Keep healthy foods available.

Drink a glass of water before you eat to help identify if you are really hunger or emotional eating.  Keep healthy snack foods readily available.  Pretzels, Backed chips, carrot sticks, and crunchy fruits can help to satisfy cravings without blowing your diet.

Create a plan.

After identifying your triggers you can better create a plan.  Develop alternatives to eating.  Read a book, take a bath, go for a walk, or call a friend.

Ultimately, to stop this cycle of emotional eating you need to learn appropriate techniques for dealing with your emotions.  There are many techniques that can help.  Writing in a journal about your feelings.  Talk to someone close to you about your emotions.  Find a support group to help with any issues that are bothering you.  Seek medical help if you have severe emotions or if you have struggled with your emotions for a long time.

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