How to fight urges to eat

How to fight urges to eat

How can I resist the impulse to eat?

We must first comprehend why we eat in order to respond to this query. You most certainly already know the answers to that question, it’s safe to assume. We need food to survive. We eat for caloric energy. We eat in order to fuel our bodies. We also eat to maintain our health. There are also social motives, such as attending a dinner party with friends or working lunch. There are cultural factors, such as the Thanksgiving meal and the Fourth of July barbecue. Of course, no celebration would be complete without having a piece (or two) of the customary birthday cake. Even religious observances like Passover, a Bar Mitzvah, or Easter dinner are centered around food. Some of us even include eating in our romantic pursuits, such as the notorious late-night dinner date or the romantic breakfast in bed.

But why do we occasionally sense an intense magnetic pull to visit the neighborhood fast food restaurant and have a bacon cheeseburger and some fries? Why do we feel the urge to eat larger portions when we’re feeling down or having a terrible day? Where does the need to devour the entire restaurant meal whose servings are obscenely large come from? Why do we suddenly have the need to raid the refrigerator in the middle of the night in search of anything fatty or sweet? And why, when we’re not really that hungry, do we feel the urge to mindlessly chow down on “snack foods” from the neighboring vending machine in the middle of the workday?

You are not alone if you have ever encountered any of these real-life situations. Every day, thousands of people, including myself, struggle with these unexpected “urges” to eat. The truth is that most of the time, our emotions and, occasionally, brain chemicals act biologically to fuel these cravings. In any case, the connections between the two are deeper than many people and scientists realize.

Usually, our emotions come first when we have “urges” to eat. Strong emotions have a way of overcoming reason or the desire to make a healthy choice, which would be to consume foods that are wholesome, nutritious, and somewhat low in fat. Why, then, do we allow ourselves to fall into these “mindless” eating traps when we are working so hard to better ourselves and achieve a better body? Eating as if we were out of control. We’re meant to be better than that, aren’t we? We’re meant to be flawless, right? Isn’t it true that we’re supposed to be healthy and only consume items that are listed on our recommended list of “approved” foods? I do have some news to share with you, though.

Fighting your cravings

We can keep ourselves on the right path to a lean, strong, healthy physique “if we can admit that we are not flawless and determine how to combat such emotional “urges” when they do happen.”

We are not faultless. We won’t always eat the proper things! Mistakes will be made by us. Both I and you are aware of it. The good news is that once we are aware of this, we can start to accept the fact that we are flawed and figure out how to deal with our emotional “urges” when they do happen. This will help us stay on the right path to a lean, strong, healthy body.

Techniques to fight emotional eating

Let me now share with you what I consider to be the most effective tactic you may employ to help you get past any difficulties that frequently occur or are related to “emotional eating.”

I’ll refer to these as “Eating for Success techniques” moving forward. The following techniques can assist you in squelching your emotional appetite for food:

Recognize the emotion or emotions that prompt you to eat

We eat for a variety of purposes in addition to wanting to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat.

Of course, we are already aware of how important smart eating is. Why then do we occasionally crave “bad” foods? Overeat? or consume food when not even hungry? These questions do not have an easy answer. The most recent research, however, has demonstrated that, unless you’re one of the small percentages of people who have a genetic tendency to produce higher-than-normal amounts of the “hunger” hormone, ghrelin (or the newest appetite-stimulating gene, recently discovered in France, called GAD2), your individual psychology plays a significant role in determining when, and how much, you “feel” the need to eat.

You see, our personal psychology and our emotions have a big impact on how well we can regulate our eating. They are also known as “emotional triggers.” Understanding the psychological influences that can negatively affect your eating patterns can be quite beneficial. The first and most crucial stage is awareness. Maybe different emotions cause us to eat. We argue with a coworker or become frustrated or angry with our spouse. When a loved one passes away or a special relationship ends, we become depressed. We are lonely and alone (and it’s just you and the fridge!) or we are bored at night, on the weekends, or both. It seems as though eating is expected to “cure” these emotions or find solutions to your troubles.

Not a chance in HELL! You already know that, if you’ve ever gone through any of these emotional upheavals, eating won’t help you feel better later on. In fact, you frequently feel utterly awful since you are aware that you were not as “in control” of your eating as you appeared to be. You probably ate a whole pint of Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip, with fudge on top, and put yourself off track with your new body. As a result, you’re probably angry at yourself as well.

Knowledge is the key

I advise you to keep a food journal, noting everything you eat each day for roughly a week, to reduce emotional triggers that make you seek unhealthy meals. Simply note how you were feeling when the impulse to eat struck if you tend to eat mindlessly or uncontrollably.

“I propose you create a meal journal to reduce emotional triggers that make you seek bad foods.”

You can actually take steps to control an emotional issue once you become aware of it and realize that it is what frequently sends you into a spiral of mindless eating. You see, every individual insight you can gather then becomes a chance for a thoughtful decision in the future. And making a thoughtful, deliberate choice is the key to overcoming your cravings to eat so that, rather than reaching for “comfort foods,” you can make the proper decisions better decisions in order to maintain a balanced, healthy diet.

You’ll rapidly learn the causes of many of your past decisions if you comprehend the awareness of when and how your specific emotional responses are triggered. And maybe, more importantly, you’ll come to understand how prior decisions may have influenced your present, occasionally reckless eating habits. In other words, you’ll discover when bad eating habits prevented you from reaching your physique goals and how you could have handled them more effectively, wisely, and deliberately.

Management Of Emotional Eating

So, here’s the $64,000 question: What should you do when you have those sudden, inexplicable desires to eat? Let’s start with some highly successful preventative measures, or, more specifically, tactics I’ve been doing for the past 20 years to keep me on the correct track to a better body.

Eating wisely means trying to eat five to six meals a day that are balanced in terms of protein and carbohydrates. I’ve offered this advice so many times, yet it still seems to be disregarded, which surprises me. In addition to the factual reality that eating small meals frequently throughout the day allows you to maintain steady levels of blood sugar, insulin, and hunger hormones in your brain, you will surely be able to control your emotional hunger needs by doing so.

Plan and prep five to six healthy meals for each day

The absolute worst thing you can do is to restrict calories or eliminate entire food groups, such as all carbohydrates or all fats (recommendations frequently found in traditional diets). Limiting calories and/or food makes your body seek the foods that are off-limits since it signals to your mind that you are denying yourself. In other words, you’re more likely to psychologically “desire” to consume them, which increases your likelihood of bingeing on them. In addition, once you reinstate them in your diet, you’ll quickly gain back any weight you lost.

According to research, eating five to six protein and carbohydrate balanced meals per day every two to three hours while you’re awake is the best way to maintain your body’s fat-burning mode, give your muscles plenty of nutrients they need to rebuild themselves, and prevent any hunger pangs that might otherwise occur. Utilizing a meal replacement is a fantastic strategy to accomplish this. These powders are handy and give your body all the nutrients it needs from a whole-food meal without the inconvenience of having to go shopping, prepare, cook, consume, and clean up afterward. Think of meals replacing protein shakes as modern-day fast food. They are really practical and excellent at meeting your daily dietary needs.

Make better poor decisions if necessary

As an illustration, whenever you find yourself stuck on a four-hour flight and you weren’t ready (leaving your protein/nutrition bar at home), your only option is the mystery meat sandwich offered by the airline. As absurd as it may sound, consume what the aircraft offers you. Before you dismiss me as crazy, let me clarify what I mean by “better terrible choice”:

In the situation described above, you have practically nothing to eat for four hours. After you land and collect your luggage, there’s a good chance you’ll dash to the closest fast-food restaurant and eat everything there is to see.

It’s obvious that’s not what you desire

So, to avoid this, just eat what the airline serves you. However, here’s what I’d recommend to genuinely make it a “better” choice: Drink water or Bubly, remove half the bread from the sandwich, avoid mayonnaise, and avoid even glancing at the cookie or little slice of cheesecake that is provided on the side. Unbelievably, you’ve really chosen better in that situation by at least consuming something (at least somewhat nutritive). This applies to going out on the town (e.g., dinner and drinks with your friends). Have a glass of wine rather than downing two or three beers quickly. Request some plain corn tortillas from the server and dip them in the salsa rather than munching on the bowl of deep-fried tortilla chips that are in front of you. Inform the server that you want your vegetables steamed (without butter!) rather than letting the restaurant cooks drown them in butter. Finally, if you can, request your salad with a low-fat or nonfat dressing.

Making “better poor choices” like this is simple as that. And once you start using this approach, you’ll immediately realize how simple it is to follow through, regardless of the situation. You’ll also feel a lot more in charge.

Make meal preparation and planning a priority.

Without a plan, you might as well set failure as your objective. Seriously. Don’t make the error that so many people do, which is to plan your workouts but eat “accidentally,” even if I understand that most of us are too busy to prepare nutritious, low-fat, nutrient-rich foods every day—six times a day (I’m included here!). Your prospects of developing a better body are pretty much little to none if you don’t adhere to a tried-and-true nutritional plan.

My wife and I make our meals for the week on Sunday night, store them, and freeze the rest as one potential option that I’ve utilized throughout the years with wonderful success. You won’t feel as stressed about having to shop, prepare, and clean up after multiple meals during the week if you cook in greater quantities. Additionally, by doing this type of shopping, you’ll probably also save more money on groceries.

You won’t have to “think” about what you’re going to eat or how you’re going to obtain it if you stay better organized throughout the week; instead, you’ll just have to think about when to eat it. It’s an easy fix for a difficult issue that affects a great number of individuals on a daily basis. It’s unfortunate to watch so many individuals work so hard in the gym and then have erratic eating habits. If you are ready with nice, nourishing meals, you won’t be the guy you see every day paying $1.50 to get his daily candy bar from the break room vending machine. If you use this approach, you won’t feel or look like him either.

Techniques in action

It’s now time for you to start working. That means it’s time for you to start putting these successful methods into practice on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that habits are the basis for all of life’s accomplishments and failures. The biological makeup of successful people and unsuccessful people are exactly the same. The sole distinction is that successful individuals adopt successful habits, whereas unsuccessful people do not. That’s actually how easy it is.

My hope is that these tactics will help you find a lot of useful, attainable, and motivating ways to overcome any emotional eating tendencies you may have had and continue on the right path to reaching your health goals.

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The Psychology Of Weight Loss

The Psychology Of Weight Loss

You see the razor-thin models gracing the covers of magazines
you watch actors and actresses on the big screen who seem to never gain a pound. And you wonder: How do I differ from them? You may be surprised to learn that a number of famous people at one time had difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. But they were able to conquer their problem, thanks to a new-and-improved, healthy view of eating.

You may not realize it, but there is a certain psychology at work in successful weight loss. It is no surprise, then, that the magazine Psychology Today has explored the issue in-depth. In October of 2004, the magazine posted an article on its website detailing the experiences of Diane Berry, a nurse practitioner who studied women who had shed at least 15 pounds and had maintained their weight loss for an average of seven years.

The women shared some important things in common. For instance, they all achieved their weight loss through either Weight Watchers or other supportive programs, which meant that they had a firm support network as they tried to maintain their weight. The group meetings were highly important, because they learned to recognize that they were certainly not alone in their struggles with weight. The women were also quite unusual because up to 90 percent of individuals who have lost weight end up putting it back on within five years.

Another common trait of these women is that they appeared to undergo a profound mood shift as they made the transition from fat to thin. From all indications, they appeared to be depressed when they were heavy but, as they attempted to lose weight, their mood brightened.

For these women, healthy eating became a habit—a habit they refused to break. They themselves recognized the tremendous role that psychology plays in weight loss. They refused to give in to negative feelings of frustration and denial and chose a positive path instead. The women also made it a point to weigh themselves regularly so that they could chart their progress.

And they recognized that maintaining weight loss would be a lifetime struggle. They knew that they could not attempt a weight loss program then put it back on the shelf. They had to learn new eating patterns that they could continue week in and week out. In some cases, they likened their struggle to that of an alcoholic. In other words, they recognized the gravity of their problem and took steps to correct the situation.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these women’s experiences was the fact that their weight loss actually came in spurts. At times, they regained their weight, but they did not let that deter them from their final goal. They simply viewed their setbacks as challenges that they needed to overcome. This may be the key psychological trait that separates successful dieters from unsuccessful ones—perseverance. In essence, these women were able to change their personalities in a positive way in order to achieve their long-term weight loss goals.

Another interesting aspect of this study was that it showed that the women who had undergone weight loss transformation were genuinely happy. This shows the tremendous psychological impact that weight loss can have on an individual. Once an individual is free from the burden of extra weight, he or she is better able to meet the challenges of life head-on. The dieter benefits from positive reinforcement, as relatives, friends, and co-workers congratulate him or her for the weight loss. In this way, losing weight can be quite a life-affirming experience and can lead to a more optimistic outlook on life.

It must be noted here that the psychology of weight loss is a complicated matter. There is no single ingredient that can turn a fat person into a thin one. However, recognizing that there is a psychological component to successful weight loss may, in fact, be half the battle. Once an individual recognizes that he or she is engaged in a psychological fight, he or she is better able to do battle. By retraining oneself to seek healthy approaches to diet, one can, in effect, mold oneself into a new individual—one that no longer lives to eat, but simply eats to live.

How to Get in the “Zone” Every Single Time

How to Get in the “Zone” Every Single Time

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seemed to go right?

Ever have one of those workouts where everything seemed to just “click” on all cylinders and all of your lifts and all of your exercises were great?

A day where you just feel extreme energy coursing through your body as you go from one exercise to the next, ready to kick it up an even “higher notch.”

Let me ask you, are these workouts few and far between for you?

Do you wish you could have an awesome workout every single time you wrap your hands around the steel bar or step up onto the Treadmill?

Well, you can.

What’s the alternative, betting that you can’t?

Every single time you step foot into a gym to lift, run, and sweat, you must approach that workout like it’s the very last one you’ll ever do.

Truth be told, you never really know if it will be, but without sounding too morbid, that’s the mindset you must have.

You must condition yourself to hit a “high peak” each and every time you walk into a gym. Soon, a series of these “high peaks” ultimately must lead to nowhere BUT success.

I just gave you the key to what it takes to have a killer workout each and every time you step into the gym.

Your mindset.

The right frame of mind

It’s as simple as this….

Before you can create anything, you have to think about it.

Before you have, do, get, build…anything… you have to think about what it is you’re trying to achieve.

What are you ultimately after?

Architects do not start building houses until they’ve thought of every last little detail.

Then they just construct what they thought about.

Approach your workouts and your body the very same way.

You cannot and should not just walk into the gym without thinking of what you want to accomplish and just start exercising with no direction.

Before even stepping into the gym, know what you’re after.

If not, you’re spinning your wheels.

So what does that have to do with getting into the “Zone” and having a killer workout every single time?

When you are focused like a laser beam on those things that you KNOW will lead you to results, you start to become more motivated, and more driven. You know success is right around the corner, waiting to meet you halfway.

You feel like you are in that “Zone” which is going to lead you to what you want.

And it all starts with thinking about what you want.

More muscle, more strength, less body fat…

Keep these thoughts embedded in your mind.

And then begin to do only those things that will bring about those things you want to achieve.

If you know exactly what you want and know the exact steps to get it, how can you NOT have awesome workouts each and every time?

I mean, imagine yourself in the gym, right now, doing only those things that you KNOW are going to boost muscle and strength for you.

Wouldn’t you feel more pumped knowing that the stuff you are doing is going to lead you to where you want to be?

That’s exactly how you can have awesome workouts every single time you step into the gym….it comes from realizing that you are well on your way to getting what you want.

And that the only thing stopping you is you.

So the next time you step into the gym, approach it with an attitude that says “There is no possible way I can fail.”

If I go in there, do every single thing I know I have to do, and do it well, success is guaranteed 100% of the time.

What’s the alternative, dreading going to the gym and, when there, wishing you were somewhere else, speeding through your workouts just to get it done?

Every time you go to work out, make it the single best workout you’ve ever had.

I can PROMISE you, that if you do this, not only will you have great workouts every time, but you’ll also guarantee yourself fat loss, strength increase, muscle toning, or any other goal you want.

About the Author

Shawn LeBrun, Augusta, ME U.S.A.

Shawn LeBrun is one of the internet’s most published fitness and weight loss coaches. Visit his site to see how he can make this the year you achieve your best body ever!

Find the Right New Year’s Resolution to Get into Your Best Shape Ever!

Five easy resolutions to make you lean in the New Year!

Yep, it is that time of year again! Time to moan and groan about the weight we gained over the holidays as we resolve to lose it all in the New Year! If memories of failed New Year’s resolutions are haunting you, it is time you found the right resolution for 2005.

The reason that most New Year’s Resolutions fail is that they are too extreme or time consuming. Who is really going to give up all sweets or stick to sweating in the gym for hours each day? What you need this year is a New Year’s Resolution that is simple enough to become a part of your daily life, and will lead to long term weight loss. Read on for five simple yet effective New Year’s Resolutions for you to choose from…


Resolution #1: Drink a large glass of water before each meal. This simple action will save you mountains of calories in the coming year! By filling your stomach with water right before you eat you reduce your chances of overeating during the meal. Drinking more water is also healthy for all of your body functions, including converting body fat into usable energy.

Resolution #2: Wait 20 minutes before deciding on seconds. Do you remember the last time you were uncomfortably full after a meal? Chances are that you were hungry and, rather than stopping when you were satisfied, you overate. In the same way that your body tells you when you are hungry, it also has a way of telling you when you are full. The catch is that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you have eaten enough. What you eat during that 20 minutes is extra food that your body doesn’t need. Next time that you are in the middle of a meal contemplating getting yourself seconds, allow 20 minutes to pass before you decided if you still need the extra food. Chances are that your brain will get the “full” message and you will pass on the extra calories!

Resolution #3: Walk or Jog in the morning. Did you know that going on a 15 minutes walk right after waking contributes to weight loss? Getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier, lacing up your tennis shoes, and simply walking around the block will lead to fat burn and lost pounds! When you get up and move first thing in the morning, before breakfast, your body is more likely to used stored fat as energy. Weight loss is supposed to be harder than this, right?

Resolution #4: Obey the No Food Three Hours Before Bed Rule. Eating a snack after dinner is a widely held habit. Although food always seems to taste better right before bed, it is also more prone to stick with you when eaten late at night. It has been proven that not eating three hours before bed reduces fat storage throughout the night. If you go to bed at 10pm, finish eating for the day no later than 7pm. Once you have made this a habit you will be ecstatic over the long-term weight loss!

Resolution #5: Spice up you Workouts with Circuit Training Are your workouts consisting of the same exercises in the same order at the same weight? If you find yourself falling into a rut at the gym give circuit training a try. Start by doing one set of your first exercise and then moving on to do one set of your second exercise. After you have done every exercise once, start again from the top! If you want to burn extra calories add 5 minutes on a bike between each set. Get creative and add new exercises into your circuits, and your workouts will be fun and energizing!

Now all you have to do is pick one of these New Year’s Resolutions, make it a part of your daily life, and watch as the pounds fall off in the New Year!

Diana Keuilian, author, ACE certified Personal Trainer, and co-founder of offers online personal training and nutrition programs that fit your budget and schedule. Whether your goal is to lose weight, firm and tone, or to build muscle, will build a custom designed program just for you. Visit: and begin meeting your fitness goals today!

Can You Really Lose Weight in 7 Days?

Can You Really Lose Weight in 7 Days?

Just the other day, I received an email from someone that had seen information on my weight loss e-book “7 Days to Achieving Your Best Body Ever”.

In the email, she asked me if it was possible to really change your body in only 7 days…

After thinking for a few minutes, I started to wonder if I was mistakingly leading people into believing they can really lose a lot of weight in 7 days.

So I emailed her back and explained why I decided to name my book “7 Days to Achieving Your Best Body Ever”.

It’s true, you cannot and will not safely lose a lot of weight in 7 days.

If someone tells you that you can, run the other way.

But you can change your approach to weight loss, or any fitness goal, in 7 days.

After all, weight loss is 80% behavior and only 20% know-how.

To achieve any fitness goal, you have to work from the inside to the outside.

Meaning, you have to change your thinking first, then your physical approach.

And that you can change in 7 days or even 7 minutes.

In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that you can change your entire life in 7 seconds.

Just ask someone awaiting the death penalty if they would take that 7 seconds back and do something differently.

Or ask that person that decided to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk if they would choose to do something differently in that 7 seconds.

Truth is, you CAN change your body and your life in 7 days.

Achieving Your Best Body Ever

The path to achieving your fitness goals consists of:

1. Knowing what you want to achieve (fat loss, muscle gain, etc.)

2. Taking action to get those goals. (going to the gym)

3. Knowing the results you are getting (are you losing fat?)

4. Having the flexibility to change if something isn’t working.

But it all starts with making the decision to change….

To go after what you want to achieve.

To finally decide that you will not wait another day, or even another second, to start working towards the body you want.

I challenge you…

Right now, make the decision to go after anything that you want.

A new job.

A new house.

A new car.

A new relationship.

A new body.

Decide to go after it.

Decide that you are not going to give up until you achieve it.

Guess what, that decision to change can be done in 7 days.

In fact, that decision can be done in 7 seconds.

What have you decided?

About the Author
Shawn LeBrun, Augusta, ME U.S.A.
Shawn LeBrun is one of the internet’s most published fitness and weight loss coaches. Visit his site to see how he can make this the year you achieve your best body ever!

Change Habits, Change Weight

Change Habits, Change Weight

So you’ve determined you’re going to do something about your weight. But what? Being overweight is not, in itself, a behavior. You don’t get overweight. Being overweight is an outcome of many behaviors that add up to consuming more calories than you’re expending. (Yes, there’s a genetic component too, but you can’t change that.) …

The good thing is that this gives you lots of places to start moving toward your goal of losing weight. The challenge is sorting through them all and finding what will work best for you. So here’s the question: What are you most ready to change?

Behavioral researchers have identified five stages in behavior change:

1. Precontemplation: You’re not even considering it. No way you’re going to give up your pizza and beer. Gym-going is not for you. Why walk when you can ride?

2. Contemplation: Well, maybe you could live without pizza and beer “every” week. The gym is out, but you always liked swimming, so maybe a pool. Last weekend, the walk in the park with your friend was pleasant. Maybe you could do it again.

3. Preparation: Next week you’re going to skip that pizza. You found out the local Y has a pool and their family rates are affordable. You talked to your friend about going for more walks sometimes.

4. Action: Two weeks and no pizza. You joined the Y and you’ve swum laps there a couple of times. You and your friend have gone walking for the past three Saturday mornings.

5. Maintenance: The weekly pizza has been a thing of the past for six months. Swimming is so much a part of your daily routine that you don’t feel right if you skip it. Those Saturday walks are a don’t-miss tradition.

In fact, this readiness to change model is behavior-specific. That is, you might be in the action stage with the pizza, but you are still in contemplation of that exercise stuff. You’re not likely to be very successful if you flog yourself for not swimming laps every day, what you want to do is move yourself to the next stage: List the pros and cons of regular exercise and guess what, you’re thinking about it and that means contemplation.

So think about the behaviors you can change to lose weight. What stage are you in for each of those behaviors? In each case, what can you do to move yourself to the next stage? What are you most ready to change?

About the Author
Michael Hallinan,
Michael Hallinan is a personal coach helping clients find their healthy way to their healthy weight.

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