When you eat because of boredom or stress, you tend to reach for the cakes, biscuits, chips and other unhealthy (usually sugary) foods rather than the carrot or celery sticks!
So, what’s the problem?
If you continue to eat like that every time you get bored or stressed, your body will get used to that kind of fatty, sugary calorie rush, which can eventually lead to obesity, a leading cause of heart disease and diabetes.
“Obesity is more important than heavy drinking and smoking combined in terms of chronic disease,” says Roger Gould, MD, an expert on emotional eating and author of Shrink Yourself.
It takes a conscious effort to stop that eating pattern and concentrating more on healthy snacks instead. It’s the same for me – there are times when I just want a big chocolate bar!
Keeping a food journal may help you. Make a note of what you eat, when and where you eat it, and why you’re eating it – how you feel before and after you’ve eaten – are you bored, stressed or are you genuinely hungry? Then rate your hunger before eating on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being not hungry at all and 10 being very hungry). My food journal is available on the link below.
You should notice a pattern – are you eating your sugary snack after a stressful meeting, or after a piece of work you’re doing etc? Once you find your pattern, you can start to become mindful of your eating habits and then change your habits.
Also, instead of eating, you could go for a walk or call a friend and take your mind away from the food.
If you just can’t prevent the snacking, you could seek out a health professional. I’m not suggesting you have a real health problem by the way!!
Emotional eating is “emotional hunger transformed into physical hunger,” Dr Gould says. In fact, a 2006 study found that obese people’s desire to eat triggered the same brain action as addicts’ desire for drugs—that’s a serious addiction, and you should not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Also, if you want to find out which foods I recommend and which foods to avoid, why not have a look at my FREE Detox Meal Planner? It’s 5 weeks worth of healthy meals and snacks.