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Five Tips To Fight Food Addiction
« on: January 06, 2016, 01:22:47 PM »
Five Tips To Fight Food Addiction
By Addiction Staff on June 26, 2014 in Food Addiction

Those struggling with alcohol or illicit drugs can abstain. But if you’re fighting food addiction—or are just prone to comfort or emotional eating—complete avoidance just isn’t an option.

Don’t despair: the underlying psychological causes can be addressed. It isn’t always easy, but if you’re willing to honestly face the problem and take decisive steps, you can triumph and stay healthy.
Conquering emotional eating

Emotional eating is a core component in most cases of food addiction. When you’re eating excessively, it isn’t out of a healthy desire to obtain sustenance for your day’s activities. Instead, many addicts start with the habit of overeating as a method to cope with stress, other negative emotions and even boredom.

Actual hunger comes on slowly and can be satiated with anything, from the healthiest vegetable-rich meal to the trashiest fat-filled fast food. But emotional hunger comes on quickly and leads to a focus on fatty, salty or sugary foods.

To counteract food addiction with healthier habits, it’s essential to conquer your emotional eating. Here are five tips to fight food addiction:
1. Tracking your triggers

Stress is an extremely common cause of emotional eating, but your habits and patterns may be more complex. However, there will undoubtedly be times when you’re more prone to overeating, whether it’s an external situation (a celebratory family meal, for example) or an internal feeling (like low self-esteem, stress and anger), and it’s important that you identify these triggers so you know when you need to focus your efforts the most.

Keep a food diary and document when you overeat, how you feel before and after, and anything you think may be relevant to your eating habits. Over time, trends will become more apparent and you’ll become more accustomed to your own patterns.
2. Examining your emotional state

As you become more aware, it can help to take five minutes to think about your emotional state and what you can do about it before deciding to overeat. You can stick to one minute if five is too difficult at first (and don’t feel disheartened if you still eat); the important thing is that you get into the habit of analyzing your feelings before you open that ice cream or head down to the drive-thru.
3. Replacing the eating behavior

With these patterns and emotions identified, replacing the eating behavior with something healthier is one of the most practical approaches. There are a multitude of options (you can tailor your approach to your particular cravings), but things like taking a brisk walk, meditating and even just replacing your snack with a cup of tea can help to sever the connection between your trigger and your foods of choice. Since stress is one of the most common reasons for emotional eating and is frequently tied to food addiction, practicing healthy stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, rhythmic exercise or yoga can be invaluable.
4. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Many simpler issues can contribute to stress, and ensuring you take care of yourself emotionally, physically and psychologically is a great way to reduce your temptation to overeat. Sleep deprivation, for example, increases stress and also directly contributes to greater hunger and lower perceived satisfaction with meals. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, spend time with positive people in your life and make time for relaxation every day to ensure you don’t let easily rectifiable issues lead you further into the depths of food addiction. Exercise should be a daily activity (keep it relatively light if you’re just getting back into the habit), and it also reduces your stress levels.
5. Keeping a healthy perspective

Eating healthier meals in reasonable portions is what you should focus on. But it can be intimidating to switch from easy access junk food to planning nutritious, well-rounded meals. It is important not to let the stress of the changes overwhelm you, or to beat yourself up if you don’t do everything right the first time. Building a better life is a process, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Just remember that it is the individual­—not the junk food—that is the most important factor.

If you can learn to recognize your personal triggers, understand your feelings and replace your unhealthy eating with other activities (even if you still give in to temptation on occasion), you’ll be well on your way to having a healthy relationship with food.

 

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