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Recognising when you’re stress or comfort eating and interrupting that pattern is difficult at the best of times, let alone when dealing with uncertain times.
Here are 5 tips to help you manage your diet, avoid emotional eating and look after your wellbeing.
1. Give up the guilt
The first thing to do is to recognise that emotional eating and seeking comfort through food is a common reaction to stressful situations. Many people struggle with this, it’s not just a “you” problem.
By accepting this and beginning to remove any feelings of guilt and shame, it’ll make it a lot easier for you to succeed in making the changes you want to make.
2. Schedule your food
If you can, prepare and plan some meals you really enjoy, as well as some healthy snacks to keep you going in between meal times.
Knowing what you’re going to eat and when can help reduce the temptation to snack on other things. When the temptation rises to open the biscuits you have in the cupboard, remind yourself you have a delicious lunch planned.
And if you really want a snack, you have tasty and healthy options too which you’ve already prepared.
3. Check-in with your hunger cues
If you start to mindlessly reach for the crisps, check in with yourself and ask: “Am I hungry right now?”; “Do I actually want this or is there something else I’m wanting?”
Breaking the unconscious habit of reaching for comfort food is hard. But if you can interrupt that habit to check in with yourself, you might find that actually you don’t want the snack.
You might just be thirsty. You might just be bored. You might just be restless. All of which are valid feelings and solvable.
If you can check in and see if you’re actually hungry or not, it means that if you’re not, you can meet whatever need is actually cropping up.
4. Kitchen ≠ workspace
When working from home, it might be wise to avoid working in the kitchen. Working in the kitchen is only going to make things harder if you’re struggling with stress-eating; there’s food, everywhere.
Putting some distance between yourself and the food available will make it a lot harder to mindlessly snack or stress eat. Having to actually get up and seek out a snack makes it that little bit less likely you actually will.
5. Get connected
Being able to talk through the difficulties you’re facing with comfort eating, and having someone who can help you stick to your goals is important.
Schedule regular catch-ups with your friends online or on the phone to help you get connected and stay accountable to one another.
By sharing any hacks you come across, and just generally checking in on each other’s wellbeing, it’ll become a lot easier to succeed in reducing any emotional eatting habits.
Cheryl Culliford-Whyte Content Contributor, Warwick Sport
Cheryl has interests in all kinds of fitness, keeping healthy and looking after your wellbeing. She enjoys hiking, lifting and healthy baking.
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