I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more this time of year. I crave warm, heavier comfort foods, I find myself indoors and home more often, and who doesn’t like hot chocolate and marshmallows roasted on the fire? Even though it’s been a warm winter, my body is trained to want these things in the winter months! I would have to say my emotions during the winter season, truly have an effect on what and when I eat. I would take a bet that everyone is an emotional eater on some level, at some point in their life. Here are some strategies I use to overcome the “emotional” cravings:
1. Keep moving: One way I boost my mood is through exercise. It helps to relieve stress and boosts “feel good endorphins” to flow in the body! Also- when I work out hard, I don’t want to waste my hard work with bad food choices. I’m more motivated to eat well when I work out regularly and we all will see better results from our workouts when paired with good nutrtion.
2. Surround yourself with positive/healthy people- I’ve said this before, but there is no better way to stay positive and on track with your goals, than when you choose to spend time with successful people who build you up and encourage you to succeed. When you spend time with positive people, you will be more positive and find greater success. Period. Don’t waste your precious time with people who bring you down or make you feel inept. There are plenty of people out there who don’t want to see you suceed, for fear they will hvae to take a look at their own lives. Stay away from people who don’t give their best and who don’t encourage you to be your best.
3. Remove temptation- If it’s not there…you can’t eat it! It’s that simple. Your kids don’t need to have chips, soda, dessert, etc every day. If your excuse is to have these items in the house for your children, find healthier alternatives for them. Check out Susanna’s last post for sweet alternatives.
4. Find alternative activities to replace eating: I’m home more in the winter, but I don’t sit on the couch all day and night. I make a list everyday(night before) of what I’d like to accomplish (ie. clean out closets, write a post for website, write a new workout, call a friend I havent spoken to in awhile, clean out dressers, find new recipe, etc)It keeps me focused and moving even when it’s cold and gray outside.
5. Keep a jounal: If you find you’re not losing weight, even though you think you’re”eating well”, try logging everything you eat for a week to get a clearer picture of what’s going on. While you may have eaten “better” one day, it may not be “better” enough to give you the results you’re looking for. I barely remember what I ate yesterday and know I would completely forget any small snacks on the run if I didn’t write them down. Try it and see what you find and make necessary changes.
Emotional eating is one of many factors that can lead to weight gain and over eating. Getting a handle on when and what you eat is so important when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Take a honest look at when and what you eat and how you’re feeling at that time. If you find you always go for chocolate when stressed, find a healthy substitution that will get you through that stressful period. If you find you eat ice cream when angry or depressed, try taking a run or find another distraction that will actually make you feel better. If you find you reward yourself with food, find another reward like a new pair of jeans or a new book. Since we go through many emotions a day, it makes sense to be proactive on how to handle them in a healthy, responsible way.