Before you eat that last potato chip, that piece of chocolate, or that ice cream that you really don’t need, take a breath and think about your actions. Try applying logic instead of emotion.
A lot of people let emotions drive their eating, and this can lead to consuming too much. We eat when we feel sad, lonely, defeated, or depressed. Maybe you’ve experienced it – most people have at one time or another in their lives. When we feel ourselves in these situations, we tend to reach for “comfort foods” like chocolate, ice cream or chips to make us feel better. And they usually do – they don’t call them “comfort foods” for nothing!
Unfortunately, comfort foods are often high in calories and fat. This is a result of our physiology. It turns out that your stomach “talks” to your brain, and the areas that are actively involved with emotions are impacted by fatty acids. These are the same fatty acids found in most comfort foods. Eating these fatty, comfort foods actually help reduce some of the emotional activity in your brain, reducing the feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression you’re feeling.
So, how do you apply logic when you really, really want that ice cream? Here are 4 sure-fire strategies for helping you decrease the urge to indulge:
Remove the temptation. This one may seem painful at first, but it will pay big dividends. Stay away from places where you know you’re likely to indulge in junk foods. Commit today to drive right past all fast food restaurants without stopping – no matter what! Pack a lunch for yourself and commit to eating it rather than going out to eat. If you want to get out of the office, go to a park or the mall.
Shop with a list. When you shop for food, always make a list first and only buy what’s on the list. This will help you clean the junk food out of your pantry at home. Many times we snack on whatever is available. If healthy foods are the only thing available, then many people will snack on those instead of high-fat junk food. Sit down and think about what you and your family should eat in the coming week, then make a list of foods you’ll need. Buy only those foods when you shop – no exceptions!
Remove the stimulus. It has been estimated that the average person is exposed to more than 3,000 ads per day! Many of these are ads for food – most likely junk food. Shutting off at least some of these ads is a good idea for a number of reasons, but when it comes to avoiding junk food, it’s essential. How do you do it? To start, turn off the TV, especially if you have kids. Junk food advertising to children and young adults is a huge problem today. Also, be careful when reading magazines. Try to choose magazines that have a healthy message.
Enjoy treats, but make them yourself. One of the reasons our ancestors didn’t binge on junk food is that they had to make it themselves. They didn’t have the option to just open a package. Instead of buying these comfort foods, try making them yourself instead. This does 2 things. First, you can control the ingredients and use healthier substitutions where possible. Second, baking cookies or making ice cream takes time and energy, and that makes it a definite choice. Rather than just reaching for the box of cookies, making your own is not as easy, and you won’t get “instant gratification.” If you find yourself saying that you don’t want to be bothered, then that’s a good indication that you’re eating these foods for emotional reasons and not logical ones.
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthyFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
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