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written by: Heynia Cooley

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How often do you find yourself rushing home from a hectic day at work and going straight to the pantry or refrigerator? Most people tend to go to food for comfort and for some emotional TLC.  Often times we eat mindlessly thinking we are “feeling” hungry when in fact we are “feeling” bored, sad, stressed, lonely, angry. After indulging in food, we are left feeling empty and maybe guilt-ridden with self-criticism and judgment. So how can one interrupt the habit of comforting with comfort foods? 

Even on a good day, making the right food choice can be tough, but on a crazy, stress-filled day, those choices become much harder.  The problem is that until you tackle the stress, there is no amount of willpower that will help you achieve your weight loss goals. Cravings associated with emotions, in particular stress, are hard-wired into our biology. Stress causes the hormone cortisol to surge through your bloodstream, increasing appetite.

So what can you do about emotionally eating your feelings?  Try a few of these steps:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up having a bit of ice cream, chocolate, or chips. Instead, think in terms of choosing…choosing to try a small piece of whatever you are craving and see if that does the trick. You are only human, so take a deep breath and move on.
  2. If you over-induldge and fall prey to a craving, don’t berate yourself and use negative self-talk. Negative self-talk will only make you give up and eat more.
  3. Stress levels ebb and flow all day long, so try to diffuse stress before it builds up and you end up indulging in unhealthy foods, alcohol, or both. Try addressing your stress and anxiety somewhere midway before your boiling point and practice healthier coping skills such as breathing, going outside, drinking a glass of water, etc.
  4. Schedule some time for yourself each day doing something you truly enjoy.  We all have schedules and appointments to stick with each day, so why not make an appointment with yourself? Choose something that you can look forward to each day.
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