We all eat a little too much every now and again, but eating in response to your feelings rather than eating when you’re hungry can be harmful to your health.
Many of us eat when we’re feeling happy, sad, stressed, lonely or even bored. But as you throw out that empty condensed milk tin, you’ll find that the feelings remain. And how many of us have eaten leftovers just because they’re, well, there? That’s why you should think before you eat!
Try these tips to stop compulsive overeating:
1. Never skip a meal
Eat only when you’re hungry, but don’t starve yourself. Listen to your body and try to keep your blood sugar levels steady, otherwise you’ll binge eat in an effort to get those levels back up again.
2. Ask yourself: Am I really hungry?
Often we mistake thirst for hunger, or we think we’re hungrier than we really are. Pause for a few seconds and rate your hunger. This will prevent you from overeating when your body is actually just craving water.
3. Find a distraction
Go for a walk, clean your house, do some gardening – anything to keep your hands busy. Or phone a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
4. Eat something else first
Before you dig into high-calorie food, have an apple, a few slices of cucumber or even a couple of rosa tomatoes. Chances are that these healthier snacks will be enough to fill you up and also curb those cravings.
5. Write it down
Keep a food journal, but don’t just write down what you eat – also note how you were feeling before and after you ate. This will help you keep track of when you’re most prone to emotional eating, for instance you only binge eat when you’re sad. Try to find other ways to overcome this emotion.
6. Find another way to celebrate
Instead of treating yourself to a five-course meal or a double-thick milkshake, rather go for a hike with your partner or out dancing with your friends. Not only will you feel better about yourself and have some fun, but you’ll also burn a few calories while you’re at it.