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Emotional eating and how to avoid it

Hollywood movies often depict ‘binge eating’ as a woman sitting in front of a television watching a love story with a huge spoon and a bucket of ice cream, sobbing after breaking up with her boyfriend. However the reality is far less dramatic and far more common than you might think. Do you eat when you’re feeling sad, lonely, bored, fatigued, angry or worried? Do you eat when you’re not feeling physically hungry? Do you use food as a source of pleasure or reward? If you answered yes to any of these questions you are eating out of emotion.
But don’t despair, as almost everyone is an emotional eater to some degree.
It’s important recognise that emotional eating will sabotage your weight management efforts and understanding your own eating patterns can be one of the most important factors in achieving long-term weight loss success.
Here are five steps to help end emotional eating
Step One: Identify Your Triggers
Keep a diary of how you’re feeling, what you are eating, how often and how much. Within weeks you will notice that your emotional eating has a pattern.

Step Two: Organise your Eating
How many times do we use factors “beyond our control” as excuses? There are always things that are going to pop up. Whether you have to work back, get stuck in meetings or are busy with the kids. The simple solution is to just plan in advance and incorporate the right foods for exercise

Step Three: Clear out the rubbish
Remove foods from the house that are going to be a huge temptation for you in times of need.

Step Four: Factor in your favourite foods
If you recognise that a certain food is going to be something that you just can’t say no to, factor it in to your daily food allowances.

Step Five: Create Alternatives to emotional eating.
< The best way to beat cravings and emotional eating is to MOVE. Exercise can decrease the stress hormones cortisol and increase endorphins giving your mood a natural boost. So, get out of the house, go to the gym, go for a walk, turn the radio on and dance, run around and play with the kids or do some gardening.

Emotional eating can be a real vicious cycle. You eat to feel better, you feel good for a little while, but then feel guilty and disgusted that you have overeaten and sabotaged your efforts to lose weight. This feeling then makes you want to emotional eat again to make yourself feel better and the cycle continues. 90% of people who lose weight will regain all of that weight within the next two years. The reason is often because they focus on exercise and fail to address the underlying emotional reasons for the weight gain in the first place. At Element Fitness Health Club we coach that permanent weight loss can only be achieved by someone who is prepared to confront these feelings and those who develop a healthy new relationship with food.