Be Mindful of your Emotions.
"One should eat to
live, not live to eat” Benjamin Franklin
There are lots of
eating habits we develop from an early age and it’s safe to say a large
majority of us are emotional eaters. We ‘reward’ ourselves with sweet treats
after a tough day at work, reach for the chocolate after a stressful phone call
and after relationship rows some of us are more than capable of devouring an
entire tub of Ben & Jerrys Bridget Jones style.
Food makes us feel
comforted and loved, but those emotions are only temporary and this can lead to
a vicious cycle of craving more sweet food, leading to added weight gain
which will result in increased feelings of sadness or guilt and reaching for,
yup, more comforting food. So how can you overcome this?
eating can help
Mindful eating is all
about learning about your eating habits, being aware of the emotions you feel
when eating and learning to deal with those emotions without food. Whether it
be stress at work, relationship issues or lack of sleep, food may be a temporary
solution to your pain or boredom but it’s important to get to the root cause of
your emotions and try and find other ways to deal with stress and anxiety. So
how do you know if you’re an emotional eater and how you can prevent this?
There are three important characteristics of
context: When it happens and with whom.
find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin every time you hang up the phone
after talking to a particular relative or friend, when your child is misbehaving
or when something goes wrong at work? If so this is emotional rather than
substance: What you crave.
are few of us that comfort eat broccoli or celery. People tend to crave high
sugar/high fat foods for comfort. If you’re physically hungry, carrots will
look as good as a piece of cake. If you’re emotionally hungry, only you’re
preferred fix will do.
it happens: The timing.
hunger builds over time, whereas cravings develop quickly and nag at you
persistently. Teach yourself to become aware of the emotions that trigger
your cravings. Mindfully stay with the craving, listen to the message it has
for you, and then do something to make yourself feel better that doesn’t
involve bingeing on junk food. It could be taking a short walk,
practicing yoga or having a dance to your favourite playlist.
great way to get pinpoint emotional eating triggers is to keep a journal and
log your thoughts and feelings when you eat. This will help you understand what
foods you associate with certain emotions and hopefully help you find other
outlets to relieve these emotions.
This week the focus is
portion control. By Annabel Zierold.
It’s not just what you
eat but how much that counts too. An excess of food usually means an excess of
calories which can lead to weight gain, so it’s possible to even over eat the good
Apart from the
recommendation to consume five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day – there
are currently no UK guidelines on portion sizes. Nutritional content and
serving size on packaging is listed in grams yet few of us weigh out food. So
how can we work out how much to eat?
Your hands are a great
tool for this, allowing you to visualise the appropriate portion of basic foods
in relation to the size of your hand.
e.g. jacket potato = size of your fist
- Meat e.g.
beef steak = size of your palm
- White fish
e.g. cod = size of your whole hand
- Oily fish
e.g. salmon = size of your palm
leaves e.g. uncooked spinach = two double handfuls
- Cheese e.g.
piece of cheddar = two thumbs or grated would make a pile the size of your fist
Have a happy, healthy week