How many times do you find yourself eating when you aren’t even hungry? This is a very common occurrence for most people and it’s not necessarily a problem unless you, yourself, cannot control it and become overweight. All too often we turn to food to combat stress and comfort ourselves – the trick is control those urges and maintain healthy eating habits. Here are a few tips that can help to create better habits
Some strategies that can be used to stop emotional eating when stressed could be to work out; try a new sport, do yoga or meditation or even relax by taking a hot bath. If you find yourself eating unhealthily during afternoon snack time when you get a slump of energy, try going for a walk or listen to some of your favorite music. I have even held those urges off with a short nap. If you tend to eat when you are lonely or bored, call and catch up with one of your friends, take your pet for a walk or go out in public where there are a lot of people. Many times we eat more than we are aware of, living in such a fast paced world, mindlessly eating as we watch a television show or movie. Learn to pay attention while you’re eating, and slow down and enjoy your snack or food. Savor the smell and the textures and enjoy the taste. Avoid distractions and try not to eat when you are doing a mindless task. You could try chewing your food thoroughly, emasculating each bite 30 times before swallowing. You will slow down the process and give yourself more time to enjoy. Try enjoying your food with different utensils, using something like chopsticks to eat your food or using the opposite hand will mix up your experience. Lastly, stop eating before you are full, as it takes more time than you think to signal the brain that you are full. Avoid cleaning the entire plate, your satisfaction will come slowly after you put your plate down.
Dieting doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to stop eating all together but what it encourages us to do is focus on eating foods that are more healthy but still help you to remain full. Low calorie food that still has substance. Healthy eating habits can be achieved by including more fiber which can make you feel full while still losing weight. High fiber foods are high in volume and take a longer time frame to digest which in turn make them a lot more filling. High-fiber options include fruits and vegetables; strawberries, apples, oranges, nectarines, plums and most kinds of berries. Also, anything with green vegetables and leafy salads. Beans are also a healthy option – high in protein and fiber. Try adding them to different entrees with options such as black beans, lentils, split peas, pinto beans and chickpeas. High fiber cereal is a great option as well, including oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat or multi-grain bread and air popped popcorn. Try eating vegetables raw or steamed and not fried or breaded, dress them with herbs and spices or a small amount of olive oil. Try adding nuts and cheeses to salads but be careful not to overdo it, use low-fat dressings. For breakfast, try less cereal and leave room for fruits like blueberries, strawberries or sliced bananas, this way its easy to eat less and feel more full.
Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice, and making small changes can make a big difference in the overall goal to your weight loss plan. Small steps are huge.