Has your relationship with food turned into a full blown love affair? Has the number on your scale become the measure of your self-worth?
Emotional eating is a way to suppress or ease negative emotions such as stress, boredom, sadness and loneliness. This in turn, leads to over-indulgence of food, especially high calorie, sweet, salty and fatty foods. This results in weight gain, as we all know.
It is important to understand the connection between moods and food. Many foods have seemingly addictive qualities. For example, when you eat foods such as chocolate, your body releases tiny amounts of mood elevating hormones. It is a simple fact that the pleasure of eating can offset negative emotions. If you are worried or stressed, eating comfort food can distract you for a period of time. Unfortunately though, when you are done eating your worries will return, accompanied by the guilt of overeating.
Learn some basic steps you can take to control both your moods and your eating. Learn to recognize when your hunger is physical and when it is emotional and adjust your eating habits accordingly. Accept that we do not have to be model thin to be healthy or attractive. Having healthy self-esteem is having the ability to regard yourself favorably and with respect.
A simple 30 minute walk each day is a known way to ease depression, stress and kick start your fitness goals. Just the process of being physically active can give you a sense of accomplishment. Exercise raises the levels of certain mood enhancing neurotransmitters and may also boost feel good endorphins, release muscle tension, help you sleep better and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You cannot get these results from a pill or a supplement, no matter how much you would like to. Use this time each day to reflect on things you are grateful for, or even use it to think about the next great article you are going to write.
Stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthier foods, and do not have an abundance of high-calorie comfort foods in the house. Like the proverbial kid in the candy shop, it is easier to resist unhealthy foods if they are not in close proximity. Never shop when you are hungry or feeling down as those feelings will influence your decisions at the grocery store. Try to eat at regular times and never skip breakfast. If you have to eat between meals, choose a low calorie food like fruits and vegetables.
Use the great free information available to you on-line. We all know that you cannot substitute a feel-good pill as a replacement for exercise and healthier eating habits. Walk right by that aisle in the drug store that makes promises it cannot possibly keep and save your money.
Your mood is more manageable and your body can more effectively fight stress when you are well rested, so be sure you are getting enough sleep. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. Whether your goal is weight loss or to become more physically and mentally fit, there are no magic pills or potions to replace exercise and healthy eating. But then, you probably already know this. The ball is in your court now; what you choose to do with it is up to you.