TOPS Offers Tips to Curb Thoughtless Eating

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 04:11 PM.

You’re Emotional

Emotions are a common eating trigger. You may typically celebrate happy news with a gourmet dinner and dessert, or soothe sadness with a large bowl of ice cream. Anger or stress can lead to munching on a seemingly bottomless bag of chips. While eating creates a temporary sense of physical fullness, it only temporarily distracts from the feelings that are bothering you. In actuality, the unhealthy decisions are likely to leave you feeling guilty with a sense of regret, which may start a vicious cycle of continued unhealthy decisions. 

Instead, reach out to a friend or family for support and guidance. Even a quick workout releases tension, generates extra energy, and stimulates feel-good endorphins. Relaxing behaviors, like getting a quick massage or taking a hot bath, also help calm the system. If you are celebrating, remember that the occasion is about being with loved ones and creating memories – not about the food. Check in with your hunger level and see if you are actually hungry, or if you’ll be simply satisfied by the company.

You’re Bored

If you know boredom is a trigger for thoughtless eating, have a list of strategies in place to keep yourself busy and entertained when you feel like you don’t have anything else to do. An activity that occupies your hands is ideal, like giving yourself a manicure, reading a book, playing a game on the computer, or writing in a journal. Go for a walk with a friend and/or with your dog. This will also take you away from the kitchen and should help cravings subside. Or, drink a glass of water, which is filling. Snacking on celery or watermelon or chewing a piece of gum can also help curb appetite.

You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep, or just the typical mid-afternoon energy slump, can lead a person to binge on sugary or salty treats and beverages for a boost. Researchers at Columbia University note, people who sleep two to four hours a night are 73 percent more likely to be obese than those who get seven to nine hours. Those who get five or more hours of sleep a night are 50 percent more likely to be obese than normal sleepers.



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