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.
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.
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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