Do you snack while watching TV? Do you celebrate special occasions with food? Do you binge when stressed? Learn how to break unhealthy eating habits with help from The Life You Want: Get Motivated, Lose Weight, and Be Happy.
Problem food or food advertisement
A bag of chips on the kitchen counter is basically an invitation to eat them—same with other problem foods. Spare yourself the temptation by ridding your fridge, pantry, and cabinets of unhealthy trigger foods. It may be okay to keep one treat around if it’s part of your plan. And don’t discount the power of food ads; flip the channel or turn the magazine page and get them out of sight!
Time of day (for example, you always have a candy bar at eleven in the morning)
Have no food at your trigger hour—or drink water instead. Other than your scheduled meals and snacks, don’t tie addictive foods to any particular hour of the day.
Place (kitchen, bakery, ice-cream shop, in front of the TV)
Unless it’s written into your plan, avoid the place if possible. For instance, if it’s a doughnut shop on your way to work, take a different route. If you must be in the place, then get out as soon as possible. If the kitchen is a trigger, for example, trade kitchen duties for other chores with your family members. If sitting in front of the tube is your trigger, drink water (or another calorie-free beverage), or even better, watch TV while you’re on a treadmill or other exercise machine.
Vacations, a day at the beach, shopping in the mall, and other situations are often linked to indulgent foods. Create new food rituals in these places: Eat a real (healthy) lunch at the mall instead of stopping at the cookie vendor. And remind yourself of the true reason for your outing: to buy a gift, or to mail a letter, or to get to work.
Stress from being overscheduled
Drop unnecessary activities from your schedule and bolster your support system so that your friends, spouse, or hired help can take on what you can’t handle. Meanwhile, start shifting over to nonfood ways of dealing with stress.
Using food to cope with emotional pain or turmoil or to celebrate happy times is a particularly hard habit to break, especially if you’re the type of person whose wiring makes food particularly rewarding. That wiring means that food gives you a bigger high and/or you have a blunted dopamine response, so you need more food to reach that high. Going through the nine steps in conjunction with the emotional eating exercises [steps and exercises both outlined in The Life You Want] will help you unlink emotions from eating.