Bored? Stressed? Waiting? What do many of us do when this happens? EAT. Many of us tend to fill time with eating or use it to relieve stress. Often weâ€™re not even hungry or we choose to snack on easy but unhealthy choices. These choices can make our self-esteem plummet, and can even result in us feeling guilt, remorse, or depressed. Here are a few tips and tricks to try and change an emotional relationship with food.
Drink water. Carry a bottle of water around and if you have an urge to snack, drink water first. It’s easy to misread our body’s signals and think weâ€™re hungry when weâ€™re actually thirsty. By avoiding eating unnecessary or last-minute foods, we also avoid feelings of guilt and remorse, which helps reinforce our confidence to make positive and healthy decisions.
Be mindful. Thereâ€™s a bowl of chips in front of you and before you know it, itâ€™s empty! We’ve all done this. We at times unconsciously snack when it is immediately available just because itâ€™s there. Stop and be aware. Stay in tune with yourself and your senses, rather than going on autopilot.
Understand your urge to much. Part of making healthier decisions is understanding what is driving us to certain behaviours in the first place. If you find yourself relying on eating to fill time, your urge to much may be coming from boredom – in this case, one tactic is to try to find something else to do. If you’re eating to relieve stress, it may be time to explore another stress-relieving activity such as yoga or walking. Once you’ve identified your personal weak-spots, be prepared for situations that challenge you: Keep a book in your bag, so you read rather than munch. Have nothing to do? Go for a walk instead of making a sandwich.
Understand that Change Takes Effort: An emotional relationship with food doesn’t just change overnight or with a lazy approach. It’s a process that can take months and even years to understand and implement. And this change takes effort and preparation. For example, If weÂ arrive thirty minutes earlier than expected at our destination, many of us will stop at a corner store or shop and pick up something to snack on in order to kill the time. By carrying a healthy snack with us each day that we’ve prepared in advance, like a bag of nuts or some chopped up celery, we can prevent ourselves from picking up that chocolate bar because we already have something to snack on.
A lot of the challenge we face lies in the fact that it is easier to buy that bag of chips than to cut up those peppers. Change isnâ€™t always easy. Just keep in mind that at first it may be a nuisance, but eventually itâ€™ll seem like you have always lived like this. New behaviours practiced often become habits, so by choosing the right behaviour just a few times, we can create a pattern that will lead to a whole new series of healthier choices.