Healthy eating habits are easy in theory, but social and emotional eating can throw a wrench in your weight loss plan if you let it. What you need to do is follow these 7 healthy eating plan tips to building a better relationship with food and making your weight loss plan easier.
1. Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger. The difference between healthy eating for physical necessity and eating for emotional reasons can be hard to see. Emotional hunger is related to things that happen during your day, causing you to eat to relieve stress or mindlessly between meals.
Guilt and shame result when you eat for emotions reasons, and often leaves you feeling sick or still hungry rather than satisfied. Knowing the difference will help you lay down the law with yourself and stick to your healthy eating plan.
2. Listen to your body. Eat slowly and pay attention to clues that you’re physically satisfied. If you treat your body with respect and work consciously to nourish it, you will learn that emotional eating is a punishment and healthy eating the reward.
3. Don’t feel guilty. Feeling that you shouldn’t eat something often makes you want to, even if you aren’t hungry. On another level, guilt and stress decrease the amount of nutrients you will absorb, and leave you feeling unsatisfied. A healthy eating program is about filling you with nutritious foods, that are nothing to feel guilty about.
4. Pick a Location. Don’t eat in bed, on the sofa, or mindlessly in front of the TV. Eat only at the kitchen or dining table, with no distractions except for a friendly conversation. Eating in the same place makes emotional eating easier to control.
5. Don’t deprive yourself. Cutting out the foods you love entirely will not work. Cut them back slowly, and just don’t overdo them. Having a small square of dark chocolate a few times a week is much better for your weight loss plan than having a whole bar at once. If you are trying to go to a healthy eating plan, you don’t necessarily have to go cold turkey.
6. Avoid processed foods. There are ingredients in processed foods that turn off your natural satiety cues. Salt, MSG and chemicals all interfere with your body’s normal feedback system.
7. Identify and Deal with Triggers. Pay attention to links between what happened in your day and what foods you crave. Identify the triggers that cause you to eat emotionally and then deal with them. Cut them out of your life entirely, or find ways to cope with your feelings so that you can focus on your healthy eating plan.
Figure out what you really need to satisfy your emotions. Express your feelings in ways other than eating by talking to friends, exercising, doing yoga, going for a walk, or writing in a journal. If you eat to reward yourself, find other ways to do that. Go out to a movie instead of ice cream, or spend some time reading a book.
The key to stop emotional eating and get on with healthy weight loss is to be fully aware, working one step at a time.