Break Free From Emotional Eating

Experts believe that up to 75% of overeating may be due to reasons other than physical hunger. If you want to improve your relationship with food, learn to identify and control emotional eating.

Recognize the Signs

1. Understand how emotional eating works. Emotional eating occurs when you use food to manage your feelings, rather than to satisfy your hunger. This can trigger guilt and create a cycle where you eat because you feel bad and feel bad because you eat. Positive feelings can also play a role if you associate food with celebrating.

2. Keep a balanced perspective. It’s okay to take pleasure in food and enjoy sharing it with others. Concerns arise only when emotional eating interferes with your health and well being.

3. Ask yourself if you feel out of control. You may have lost control of your eating habits if you want to make healthier choices but keep backsliding. Be honest with yourself if you resolve to have yogurt for breakfast but wind up stopping off for a bacon sandwich on the way to work.

4. Notice your cravings. A strong desire for specific dishes is a common symptom of emotional eating. If you’re actually hungry, everything on the menu is likely to sound appealing. When you’re depressed over a recent breakup, ice cream may be the only thing you want to order.

5. Evaluate your hunger levels. Another danger sign is eating when you already feel full. Slow down and decide if you really need another helping of mashed potatoes.

6. Consider your family history. The way you eat may be grounded in patterns that started in childhood. Maybe you were rewarded with a homemade cake when you got good grades.

Develop a Healthier Relationship With Food

1. Keep a journal. It’s easier to spot patterns when you write down when and why you eat. You may notice that you snack on potato chips when you’re bored, even though you’ve just eaten a full meal.

2. Substitute healthy foods. Cravings can be used to benefit you if you reach for nutritious alternatives. Homemade pita triangles dipped in olive oil can replace French fries with ketchup. Indulge in fresh fruit when you want dessert.

3. Control portion sizes. Eliminating all your favorite treats can cause a backlash from deprivation. See if a sliver of pie makes you just as happy as a big slice and savor every bite.

4. Seek distractions. Engage in productive activities that will take your mind off your stomach. Go for a walk, read a book, or do some housework.

5. Develop positive coping techniques. Comfort foods deliver only short-term relief. Find more effective methods for managing daily stress, such as meditation, music or physical exercise.

6. Avoid temptation. If you find your favorite cookies to be too irresistible, banish them from your pantry. Choose restaurants that specialize in grilled fish if you have trouble declining fried chicken.

7. Get adequate sleep. Being chronically tired makes you more vulnerable to overeating. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. Take a warm bath before bed to raise your body temperature if you have trouble falling asleep.

8. Reward your good behavior. Reinforce the positive changes you make in your behavior. Set realistic goals and praise yourself when you attain them. Buy yourself something special or visit your favorite museum.

9. Seek professional help. If you need more help to change the way you eat, talk with an expert. Counseling may clarify the underlying issues you need to address. Nutritionists can advise you on a diet that will work with your individual lifestyle.

Liberate yourself from emotional eating so you can protect your health and enjoy your food more. These methods will help put you back in control.

Help Your Pre-Schooler Make Good Choices: Lead by Example

Anyone who has a very young child knows that their little one often needs help making choices. They also need to see role models. To help young children make positive choices, lead by example.

Children are always watching and imitating what they see their parents and other caregivers do. No matter what you say to them or around them, what you do is more significant. To lead by example, remain aware of the way you act around your child every day.

What Are You Really Showing Your Child?

Getting angry, complaining, or making negative comments teaches your child that these are appropriate ways to behave. Instead, model good behavior and lead with your example.

Implement these tips into your daily life to model positive behavior to your pre-schooler:

1. Remember that acting out your anger doesn’t solve anything. There are certainly times when showing your displeasure is appropriate, but there are ways to handle those emotions that are more productive than others. Avoid hitting, yelling, or cursing. Those are behaviors that you want to avoid encouraging in your pre-schooler.
2. It’s okay to cry or be sad about something important. However, it’s usually better to tone it down around very young children so as not to upset them. Shedding a tear or two is fine, but sobbing uncontrollably over a minor problem isn’t the kind of behavior you want your little one to model.

• Children are very receptive to their parents’ emotions and may experience intense sadness if you share yours.

    3. How you live your life will shape how your child lives his. Even if you think your little one is too young to pay much attention, they notice all sorts of things. Whether you smoke or drink, what you weigh, how you eat, whether you sleep enough, and other choices become models for how to live life. Ensure your child is seeing positive behaviors to imitate.

    When You’re Not There

    It’s not possible to watch your child every single second. As he enters school, even pre-school, he’ll spend more time with friends. With that in mind, good examples are more important than ever. If you model good behavior, your pre-schooler will learn to make the right choices when he’s not around you – even if others do wrong.

    That good behavior when you’re not there to watch over him is what you’re really looking to create. You want your pre-schooler to explore his world and learn how to eventually live his own life. While he’s growing up, though, it’s important that you guide him and show him the right path. If you model this clearly and consistently, you’ll have less to fear as he grows up.

    Children who see their parents doing the right things grow up learning to do the right things. They make good choices – generally – even when their parents aren’t around to watch them. By leading by example, you also don’t put as many rules and restrictions on your child. You also avoid forcing them to do a lot of things that you can’t or won’t do, which can breed resentment.

    Children who grow up with too many restrictions often rebel, and that’s not what you want to see happen as your pre-schooler gets older. Instead, limit rules to ones that you both follow willingly. Your pre-schooler will be proud to emulate you, and you’ll raise a child who can safely find his own way in the world.