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Relationship with Food

Emotional Eating: How to Improve Your Relationship with Food

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Food can feel like a relationship, and sometimes emotions take over. Learn how to control emotional eating and follow our four tips to improve your relationship with food.

It can make you happy, sad, or angry. Sometimes it makes you moody. It can be stressful (even though it shouldn’t be), it can be exciting, and even challenging. Sound like a relationship? It is. It’s a relationship with food

Studies show about 75 percent of overeating is caused by emotions, so you’re not alone when you’re having a bad day, then suddenly have a craving for a big, juicy cheeseburger. Whether or not you have a sweetie, this month is about improving your relationship with food. Follow our tips to love what you eat and keep your weight loss goals in tact. 

Be Present: There’s a reason why it’s so easy to finish a large popcorn by yourself while watching a movie. You aren’t present. You don’t taste your food. Your stomach is full, but your brain is not. Next time you sit down for a meal, turn off the TV, put away your phone, and close your book. Research from the University of Birmingham shows those who eat while distracted are more likely to snack afterward. Those who are not distracted, on the other hand, feel less hungry because they focus on the flavors, textures, appearance, and smell of their food. 

Stop Categorizing Food: Get it out of your head: There is no such thing as “good” foods and “bad” foods. The thought process of categorizing food is a recipe for failure. Depriving yourself of an entire food group because you put it in the “bad” category will not help you reach your weight loss goals. It will just lead to overindulgence when you give into your craving. If you’re a chocoholic and you decide to take it out of your diet cold turkey, more likely than not, you will end up on your couch, devouring an entire box of chocolates. Instead, scale back, but allow yourself to indulge in small doses—have one scoop of ice cream instead of three, a small serving of chocolate chips, or a sliver of cake. Moderation is key. Weight loss is about adopting an overall healthy lifestyle, and comfort foods can be included. 

Stick to a Schedule: Studies show eating at the same time every day can help you lose weight. Plan to eat around the same time every day, and eat every three to four hours. By scheduling specific times to eat, you prevent yourself from feeling too hungry, which is when you are more likely to overindulge. This doesn’t mean you should stop at McDonald’s every three to four hours. Plan balanced meals and snacks ahead of time, so you always have healthy options on hand. 

Train Your Taste Buds: Studies show 45 percent of our taste buds are determined by genetics, but that leaves 55 percent to develop on your own. You probably didn’t love coffee the first time you tried it. Similarly, it’s possible to train yourself to like vegetables. Try experimenting in the kitchen. If you think you hate broccoli, try cooking it in a way you haven’t tried before. Look up a new recipe or ask a friend you admire as a chef to show you the ropes. You may find it’s not as bad as you perceived and possibly discover a new healthy side dish!


Related Links   

Learn how to love yourself 

Avoid emotional eating with the 4 Rs 

How to build a positive self-image



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