Posts Tagged ‘emotional eating’
By Lisa Goldberg, Licensed Clinical Nutritionist
In the 15 years that I have been helping my clients lose weight by changing their mindset, habits and behaviors around food and eating, I have observed that more than any other influence, our emotions seem to sabotage our eating behavior.
If emotional eating is something you struggle with and it keeps you on the diet roller-coaster, I want to offer you some strategies that you could start to implement so you could change your behaviors and begin to stop emotional eating. The next time you find yourself wandering into the kitchen or thinking about the fast food drive-thru, try implementing these strategies:
5 Strategies to Stop Emotional Eating
When you “feel like” you want to eat, ask yourself “ AM I HUNGRY”? If you are not, try to figure out what you are really feeling that is making you want to eat. If the feeling isn’t hunger, make a cup of tea, drink some water or brush your teeth. (Believe it or not, this really works!)
When you want to eat because of how you feel and not because of hunger, use the acronym H.A.L.T. and decide if you are Hungry, Anxious or Angry, Lonely or Tired. Find another way to soothe those feelings rather than through turning to food. And remember: Food won’t ever fix your feelings — and can often leave you feeling worse after a binge!
Be sure you are pre-pared and pre-planned for all of your meals and snacks. Always have a healthy snack in your bag or your desk so you do not get too hungry and make bad choices. Have food in your home to prepare healthy meals and take a few minutes to look at the restaurant menu online before you go out to eat so you make the better choice before you get to the table. Planning ahead helps you make good choices and if you fear getting hungry, you are prepared.
Always remind yourself what you really want. You think you want the pastry in the moment, but what you really want is to lose weight and feel better about yourself. Also remember WHY you are telling yourself no. If you remember your why it will feel less punishing. Dropping a few pounds and feeling good about yourself will last longer and taste better than the pastry. Trust me on this!
Each morning when you start your day, spend some time thinking about staying mindful in regard to your choices and what you really want for yourself. Any time you eat, you choose what goes in your mouth. Practice asking yourself “Why would I choose to eat something that makes me feel bad longer than it makes me feel good”? When you make choices that make you feel good, it prevents that voice in your head that says “I’ve blown it so I may as well keep going”.
The fact is, when you learn how to honor your hunger and learn how to get comfortable feeling your feelings, you will feel better both physically and emotionally and set yourself up for long-term success.
About the Guest Blogger:
Lisa Goldberg is a nutritionist with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. In addition, her certifications and Licenses include: Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Dietician/Nutritionist licensed by New York State, Certified in Adult Weight Management by the ADA. Lisa is also a personal trainer certified by the American Counsel on Exercise since 1994. She was the Nutritionist at the New York Stock Exchange from 2003-2007 and for 10 years served as the nutritionist to traders on Wall Street. Anyone who would like to discuss their weight loss goals with Lisa can schedule a free 30-minute weight loss consultation with her by clicking here. (Simply let Lisa know you found out about her on the Just Stop! blog.)
A Note from Gregg:
As some of you Just Stoppers might remember, I have been lucky enough to be a guest in nutrition rockstar Lisa Goldberg’s recent weight loss summits not once, but twice. I love Lisa’s total approach to wellness, which not only includes getting to a healthy weight, but also enjoying life and learning to love and appreciate yourself in the process. And because we’ve had such a good time working together and sharing ideas, Lisa has graciously asked me to participate in her upcoming 6 month online group weight loss program (for the body, mind and soul) – during which you can discover how to break old habits and behavior patterns that keep you from losing weight once and for all. Holistic Health Coach Nicole Benson will also be joining us to add her knowledge and expertise.
Any Just Stopper who wants to find out more information (without any obligation), can click here to schedule a free 30-minute Discovery Session with Lisa herself to find out more about the upcoming 6 month online group weight loss program.
Once again, the never-ending desire to lose weight no matter how much or how little. It seems so elusive and difficult for so many. No matter who I speak with, when I mention that I am a nutritionist, someone will always say, “I need to lose weight”. What I find so interesting that most people know what they need to do to lose weight. The problem is they just can’t do it. Here are 3 more obstacles that usually keep people stuck and 3 more solutions on how to move past them. To see the first 3 obstacles and solutions (part 1 of this article), click here.
OBSTACLE #4: That Old Voice in Your Head
We all have it. That voice that tells you “what’s the big deal” it’s only a little bite or I had a really bad day, I know I’m trying to lose weight but I DESERVE THIS! Or this cupcake is going to make me feel SO much better. That old self-sabotaging voice in your head that always pops up with old ingrained beliefs about what you think and how feel about yourself and how you relate to food and eating. That old voice is one of the reasons why you may not be able to lose weight. That old voice is so used to justifying all the reasons why you should eat vs. justifying the better reasons why you shouldn’t.
Solution: Start to practice listening to the OTHER voice in your head. The logical, practical voice that we all have in there but we tend to ignore. Start exercising your brain to listen to that practical voice because that voice will always lead you towards a better choice that will ultimately help you stay the course and reach your goals.
OBSTACLE #5: Lack of Support
I hear all the time from clients that they feel unsupported by a spouse or a partner. I had one client tell me that when she was trying to lose weight her spouse would get upset if she did not want to drink wine at dinner with him or if she wanted to eat something a little different than what he was eating. It made her feel terrible and it was very difficult to make the long-term changes that she wanted to make.
Another example of lack of support is when out in a group situation. Its crazy that when you tell your friends you are trying to incorporate healthier eating into your life, how they try to push the bread basket or dessert when you say that you don’t want any. You feel self-conscious and judged. What you have to realize is that often when someone is insisting that you eat when you say no, it’s because they feel badly that they are unable to make healthy changes themselves and that they can’t pass up the bread or the dessert.
Solution: When it comes to your spouse or partner, sit down and let them know you are about to embark on a process of change to develop a healthier lifestyle and it is important to you to have his/her support. Ask for them to be supportive especially when the going may be a little tough.
When it comes to your friends be firm when saying ‘no thank you’. Keep in mind that when they start to push it could be in part because they are transferring their stuff onto you.
If people in your life still won’t support you then still stay firm. You need to practice getting comfortable taking care of yourself by asking for what you want and giving yourself what you need. This is about you. When you take care of you everything in your life gets better.
OBSTACLE #6: Emotional Eating/Compulsive Eating
This is a big one. Eating your feelings. The majority of my client coaching revolves around emotional eating. Using food as your drug of choice to stuff down or numb your feelings. This type of eating involves more than just stuffing down a few cookies. Emotional/compulsive eating is usually the whole box or the whole box and a pint of ice cream and then some. If you’ve experienced this, you know that it’s only or those moments the food is in your mouth that you may feel good. When you are done, not only will you still be stressed, depressed, angry etc., but now you feel horrible both emotionally and physically. Food does not fix your feelings. It doesn’t have that much power. Its just food.
Solution: Practice the acronym H.A.L.T. Determine if you are Hungry, Angry or Anxious, Lonely, Tired.
Identify the feelings that are driving you to eat when you are not hungry but feeling emotional.
Find a Plan B. Figure out what else you can do with those feelings you are experiencing. Be sure to steer clear of the kitchen. Go into your room and breathe.
Do some yoga poses, meditate, call a friend, walk the dog. Find another way to deal with the feelings other than eat. Spend sometime trying to figure out where those feelings are coming from. Try journaling to get your feelings out on paper. My clients tell me that they feel more present and in touch with their feelings when they journal. Rather than holding it in it helps them to get their feelings out by writing it down.
If emotional eating is something you have struggled with for years, schedule an appointment with a health professional that can help you overcome overeating due to emotional or compulsive eating.
il it has become almost involuntary. Once you adopt healthier habits you will never have to worry about having willpower.
About the guest columnist: Lisa Goldberg is a nutritionist and weight loss coach with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from NYU. You can register for Lisa’s FREE Right Mind, Right Weight Online Summit by clicking here. Lisa is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Certified Dietician/Nutritionist licensed by New York State since 2001. Lisa specializes in personalized weight loss coaching, emotional eating, mindful eating, lifestyle and habit/behavior change. She helps her clients create the changes they desire so they can lose weight for good. Lisa also counsels clients on overall wellness, restoring health from chronic disease states, sports nutrition, and vitamin supplementation. Lisa has her private practice in New York City.
Can you tell me what you ate last Tuesday night for dinner? Or what you had for Sunday Brunch this past weekend? Or even what you ate for breakfast this morning? Chances are, if you’re not keeping a food diary, you’re not as aware of what you’re eating (not to mention as aware of the types of portions, calories and nutrients) as you might think.
But hey, don’t take my word for it.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that keeping a food diary may be a key component of losing extra weight. The study found that food diaries incorporate accountability and awareness, which can help immensely with successful weight reduction.
This particular study includes findings from 1,685 overweight or obese adults, ages 25 years and older. The participants were encouraged to keep and use food diaries for a period of six months (while making healthy food choices and making an effort to be physically active). These participants also met in weekly groups to share their food diaries and to learn more about proper food portions.
According to Victor Stevens, PhD, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, the most important predictor over the course of the study in regard to how successful participants would be corresponded directly to how many days a week they kept a detailed food diary.
Participants who recorded all meals and snacks at least six days a week (including beverages) lost almost twice as much as those who made food diary entries one day a week or less, Stevens reported to WebMD.
Said Stevens, “I think the most powerful part is accountability and the next most powerful part is increasing awareness of where those extra calories are coming from.”
Further findings showed that sharing food diaries with someone else brought about even more success. This is because sharing food diaries creates accountability not only to yourself, but also to someone who cares about you and your health. Food diaries can also identify areas for improvement. For example, you might notice you’re eating too many late night snacks or adding too many calories to a certain meal.
Even keeping track of an accidental binge or overeating on one day of the week can help. When you weigh yourself, you will be reminded of where you might have gone off course. Although initially a bummer, this will show you why the scale didn’t necessarily go in the direction you wanted and can help you realign your efforts for more success the next time you weigh yourself.
Keeping a food diary is easy – and something we all should do. And there aren’t any rules about what the actual diary has to look like. You can choose from a number of published food diaries that are for sale or even just pick up a journal that inspires you and use a page a day to log what you eat and drink. You can also find a PDF of the food diary offered in my book by clicking here. (Feel free to download and print – and to share!) Another free food diary can be found by clicking here. For another variety of free, downloadable food diaries (including specific diaries that help track emotional eating or salt, sugar and fat intake), click here.
Do you already keep a food diary? Do you find it helpful? Or a chore? Or a little of both? Do tell via the comments section below. And, if you’d like, share what you had for breakfast today – assuming those of you who don’t keep a food diary have had enough time to remember.