There are days when all we crave is the ability to indulge in a pint of ice cream or a bucket of deep-fried chicken wings after a long day at work. When we’re feeling down and blue, the first thing that most of us turn to is comfort foods – consumption of these releases dopamine and serotonin, also known as “happy chemicals” that improve our mood drastically. Known as “emotional eating”, this phenomenon of turning to food to keep us sane is difficult to curb. Here are 3 tips on how to bring emotional eating under control and prevent yourself from being guilt-ridden and full of regret after consuming those unhealthy, feel-good snacks.
- Remain focused and conscientious
The mind is a powerful tool – the amount of determination that we possess to keep ourselves in check is key to being successful in any endeavour. Instead of being distracted by thoughts of junk food that increase the propensity for emotional eating, focus on healthy foods that you enjoy, such as avocados and even coconuts. By getting rid of distractions and replacing them with healthier choices, you are more likely to achieve fulfilment without repercussion.
- Keep a food journal
A food journal, be it an online version or an old-fashioned hard-copy journal, helps you in being more accountable to your diet regimen. You can record the type and quantity of food that you have consumed, and even reflect on your emotional state when you are having those meals. While cheat meals are permissible on certain conditions, you also want to ensure that you maintain a well-balanced diet. Be sure to review your journal regularly, just to keep track on how you’re doing.
- Join a support group
Finding people who have similar goals as yourself, or even a trusted friend or family member, can be an excellent way to keep oneself motivated. A support group not only provides you with advice and assistance on how to keep those cravings at bay, but also gives you friendly reminders whenever you start to go off-track.
Controlling emotional eating may be difficult at first, but the key to solving this problem is to find small ways that can help you overcome your impulses. However, if these plans don’t turn out the way you had hoped, another appealing and just as satisfying option would be to find healthier alternatives to foods that you can snack on without any worries, especially when you’re having a bad day!