Tag Archives: emotional eating

Ways to stop emotional eating

Many people tend to eat according to the state of their emotions. For example, if they are happy they will eat their favourite pizzas or burgers and if they are sad they will eat ice-cream or chocolate to lift their mood. Eating triggered by emotion and not hunger is often called emotional eating that can result in weight gain or inability to lose weight. Here, we are going to discuss ways in which you can avoid emotional eating.


1. Scale your hunger

Create a hunger scale for yourself to measure when you feel maximum hunger and when you feel the least. Whenever you eat anything mark the reason behind your eating and rate it on a scale of 1-10. The reason can be actual hunger, happiness, depression or just boredom. To start, always eat when you get a minimum of 5 points or say, 7. This will help in avoiding unnecessary emotional eating.

2. Focus on your food

Many people have a habit of reading the newspaper with their breakfast or watching TV while having their meal but these habits can easily lead to overeating. Researchers at the University of Liverpool in England found that people who swipe at their cell phones or stare at the TV while eating gobble down up to 50 percent more food than those who are actively engaged with their meals. Therefore, always eat without any distraction as it will help you in getting more satiety.

3. Eat Healthy and balanced meal

A balanced meal with the right ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat provides you better satisfaction and protects you from emotional cravings for food. Opting for healthier food such as fresh fruits will not only satisfy you but the nutrition in it will even provide a steady source of energy that will get you through the day feeling focused and balanced. Healthy foods help manage your emotions better.

4. Wait before you eat

If you are not sure about what makes you eat, then make it a habit of waiting for 10 minutes before you eat. In these 10 minutes go and do some household chore or pending office work. If even after 10 minutes you want to eat, then you should go ahead and eat. Do the same before you get yourself a second serving. Research shows that it typically takes 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate a sense of fullness to the brain, so you may be refilling your plate despite being full.

5. Keep a mood and food diary

Keeping a track of your mood and food may help you in realizing your emotional eating habits. By knowing your trigger towards emotional eating it is much easier to eliminate or replace it with some healthier options.

6. Stock healthy food in your house

When junk food is not within your sight you will not think about it. Therefore, eliminate all the cookies, cakes, chips, ice cream, etc from your kitchen and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetable in your house. So, the next time you feel hungry and want to eat something you will automatically eat something healthy.

7. Control your eating portions

If you cannot control yourself while eating emotionally, then try to control your portions while eating. For example instead of going for a bigger bag of chips, choose a small bag. Or do not eat straight from the bag. Serve only a small portion of the chips out in a bowl and leave the rest. This might help you in avoiding the next portion. You certainly need to exercise some self control too.

8. Avoid Social Influence

People tend to eat more when they are out for social activities like parties, office get togethers, weddings, etc. Endless serving of tasty snacks with added distraction of social banter leads to mindless eating. People don’t pay attention to what they are eating & lose track of how much they have eaten, resulting in overeating.

9. Find an Alternative

“Dog is a man’s best friend” is a common saying to encourage people to have a pet dog. A study from the journal Hormones and Behaviour found that interacting with your four-legged friend releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that helps boost mood. In addition, when you run with your pet you burn extra calories and a daily routine of running for a minimum of 30 minutes can help you in managing your weight. But if you don’t have a pet find another alternative such as speaking to a friend, sibling or someone who makes you feel better when you feel emotionally low.

10. Follow a healthy lifestyle

A person who is physically strong, relaxed and well rested has a better ability to balance the emotional see-saw in life. Make daily exercise a priority in your life. Physical activity helps balance mood, improve energy levels, and it’s also a powerful stress reducer. Get at least 7- 8 hours of sleep every night. When you don’t get the sleep you need, you are more prone to mood swings that can trigger mindless eating.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Tips To Avoid Late Night Eating

Do you eat a packet of chips while watching TV late night or dig into a full cup of ice cream before going to bed? These could be one of the many reasons for your stubborn fat. So, how can you avoid late night eating? Here are some tips to avoid late night eating.

-Eat your dinner properly: Having a satisfying dinner can help you in avoiding late night eating. Don’t overeat but have a balanced and nourishing dinner so that it will keep you full and you will not feel hungry later at night. But, if you eat dinner early and need to be awake till late then try to skip some part of your dinner and have it later in the night when you feel hungry again. Also, eat at least an hour before you sleep, as this will help you in digesting your food properly before sleeping.

-Avoid high calorie foods: It is always easy and tempting to break open a packet of potato chips or pick up a doughnut or ice cream from the fridge to satisfy yourself when you feel hungry at night. But try to eliminate these high calorie foods from your kitchen and refrigerator because when you don’t have them you will not eat them. Replace them with fresh fruits, nuts and crunchy vegetables.

-Control your portions: If you really want to eat late night then you have to control your food portions throughout the day. The key to weight management is controlling your portion size. If you want to enjoy your late night eating then control your portion size through the day.

-Know your reason for eating late at night: Knowing the reason can help you in avoiding it. For example, if you eat because of boredom then keep yourself busy by playing video games or calling your best buddy, or just sleep early. 

-Brush your teeth: Everyone knows the benefits of brushing their teeth at night  but there is  another benefit also which  includes toothpaste tends to make food taste bad and saps your desire for late night snacks.

The main problem with eating late night is you eat something which is really high in calories. So if you want to enjoy and really want to eat late at night, choose healthier options.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

7 simple tips to avoid sugar

There are 2 kinds of sugar i.e. simple and complex .Simple sugar breaks down very quickly in the body and causes energy fluctuations. This type of sugar includes refined and processed sugar found in table sugar and kind added to most sweets.  Consuming too much of it can lead to numerous health problems. In order to avoid excessive consumption of sugar and to stay away from health problems, use the following tips.

1.     Eat balanced meals

Balanced meals contain all major and minor nutrients .It will also contain enough fiber to control your sugar cravings. Basically, fiber helps reduce cravings.

 2. Introduce healthy fat

The body also requires good fats .Eating good fats reduces sugar cravings .Try to choose healthier oils like olive oil, mustard oil and some refined oil with healthy fortification added to it. Nuts also offer good fats.

 3.     Opt for healthier options

Always opt for healthier food options. Choose salads over sandwiches, whole wheat pasta over normal pasta, brown rice over white rice, etc. Healthier foods will keep you fuller for longer and prevent cravings.

 4.     Avoid emotional eating

 Try to avoid sugar if you’re down or having a bad day. Consuming sugar signals the brain to release serotonin, a happy hormone. Emotional eating is a vicious circle, so try to stay away from sugar loaded and fried foods during such emotional phases. They might improve you mood temporarily, but will affect your health in the long term. Keep yourself busy with some other activities like listening to music, going for a run, etc.

5.     Exercise regularly

Working out at least 5 days a week will help the body to balance blood sugar levels and prevent sugar fluctuations. Exercising even controls our cravings and prevents us from making poor food choices. Make it a point to do some sort of physical activity every day.

6.     Keep healthy snacks at home/office

Do not keep unhealthy, high sugar or fried snacks at home/office. Keep healthier snacks such as nuts, roasted chickpeas, yogurt and fruits handy.

 7.     Good Water intake

Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to prevent overeating and bingeing. When the body is dehydrated, it sometimes signals the brain that its hungry, and we tend to overeat. The next time you crave food at an odd hour have a glass of water, because chances are that you are probably dehydrated and not hungry.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Stop Binge Eating?

We all have been guilty of binge eating at some point. Sometimes it’s the access to food that triggers this behaviour like office parties, etc, while at other times its emotions like stress, anger and depression that make us binge.

What does a binge incident look like: An incessant urge to rapidly consume excessive amount of food.  Most people are not even aware of such behaviour, while many complain that it is beyond their control.

In order to stop the unhealthy pattern of binge eating, it is important to bring change through healthy eating practices. Healthy eating involves making balanced meal plans, choosing healthy foods when eating out, and making sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet.

There are certain ways by which one can stop binge eating.

-Manage stress. One of the most important methods to stop binge eating is to find alternate ways to handle stress and other overwhelming feelings. These may include exercising, meditating and practising simple breathing exercises.

-Eat 3 meals a day with healthy snacks in between.  Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism in the morning. Follow breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner, and healthy snacks in between. Stick to scheduled mealtimes, as skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day. This is also another way to stop binge eating.

-Avoid temptation. You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. The only way to stop binge eating is by clearing out your fridge and cupboards of your favourite binge foods.

-Stop dieting. The deprivation and hunger of strict dieting can trigger food cravings and the urge to overeat. Instead of dieting, focus on eating in moderation. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy and eat only until you are content, not uncomfortably stuffed. Avoid banning certain foods as this can make you crave them even more.

-Exercise. Not only will exercise help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it also lifts you out of depression, improves overall health, and reduces stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of exercise can help put a stop to binge eating as well as emotional eating.

-Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, distract yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, read, or take up a hobby such as painting or gardening.

-Get enough sleep. If you’re tired, you may want to keep eating in order to boost your energy. Take a nap or go to bed earlier.

-Listen to your body. Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving time to pass.

-Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, and how you’re feeling when you eat. This is one of the most effective ways to stop binge eating.

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— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Reasons for Emotional Eating and Ways to Avoid Them

Human beings are emotional and tend to consume food based on their feelings. If they are happy they will eat their favorite pizzas or burgers or if they are sad they will eat ice-cream or chocolate to lift their mood. Eating triggered by emotion and not hunger is often called emotional eating that can result in weight gain or inability to lose weight.

To stop the emotional eating it is important to know the cause triggering it. Common causes for emotional eating include -

Stress: Our lives have become demanding & stressful. Too many things to accomplish in short period of time leads to high stress levels. Chronic stress leads to high level of cortisol, hormone released in body in response of stress. This hormone triggers psychological cravings for salty, sweet and high fat content food that gives you instant energy and pleasure. More stress you take more prone you are for emotional eating. Being preoccupied during meal times can also promote eating mindlessly. To stop emotional eating it is important to manage your stress level.

Emotional: Sometimes people eat just to fill the void in their life due to boredom. For example eating a big packet of chips while watching a movie all alone. Eating just because you have nothing better to do is one of the leading causes of consuming more calories than you actually require that can lead to weight gain.

Socially influences: People tend to eat more when they are out on social activities like parties, office get together, weddings etc. Endless serving of tasty snacks with added distraction of social banter leads to mindless eating. People don’t pay attention to what they are eating & lose track of how much they have eaten all resulting in overeating.

It is important to stop emotional eating as eating unhealthy food may lead you to weight gain and can makes you more prone to the lifestyle diseases. Following are some easy rules to stop you from emotional eating:

Keep a mood and food diary: keeping a track of your mood and food it may help you in realizing your emotional eating habits. By knowing your trigger towards emotional eating it is much easy to eliminate it or replace it with some healthier options.

Comfort foods versus healthy foods: Emotion triggers craving for high carbohydrate foods. Eating them might make you feel better in a short term but will not help you get better control of your emotions. In fact opting for a healthier food like a fresh fruit will not only satisfy you but the specific nutrients will provide a steady source of energy that will get you through the day feeling focused, and balanced. Healthy foods help manage your emotions better and not suppress them.

Go for alternative methods: Food is not always the answer to your emotions. Instead try speaking to your friend, sibling or someone who makes you feel better when you feel emotionally low. You can even try a walk or a light jog in the park. Exercise naturally triggers happy hormones in the body, while helping you think clearer. If you are felling anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk. If you are feeling exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket. If you are feeling bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy.

Follow a healthy lifestyle: A person who is physically strong, relaxed and well rested has better ability to balance the emotional see-saw in life. Make daily exercise a priority in your life. Physical activity helps balance mood, improve energy levels, and it’s also a powerful stress reducer. Get at least 7- 8 hours of sleep every night. When you don’t get the sleep you need, you are more prone to mood swings that can trigger eating mindlessly.

Leading a healthy lifestyle in general can help you get more control of your emotions. Eating a balanced diet & exercising at least thrice a week can help you be less stressed & more in control of your life.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Control Overeating

Are you tired of your binge eating habit? Do you find yourself giving into temptation to gorge down delicious food and before you can control its too late and the damage of consuming excessive calories is already done. Why do we find ourselves making the same mistake over and over again and how can you salvage the situation and control overeating in future.

Binge Eating (Cr/freedigital)

The need to obsessively over eat is mostly triggered by emotional factors. Either you are too sad, too happy, too tired or simply bored when you get this intense urge to eat. Some studies even blame our ancestors for our compulsive binging behaviour. According to them our primal ancestors were hunters and gatherers and went without food for long periods, so once they found it they would eat everything they could get their hands on.  The latest research suggests that starving leads to overeating  and is also responsible for slowing down of metabolism. This leads to storing of food in our bellies which is linked to heart diseases and acquiring diabetes type 2.

A binging outburst can set you back to a minimum of 1000 calories per meal and above your daily calorie intake. This means that you could be potentially adding upto1 kg each time you have 2 bags of chips while just chilling infront of the TV! (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Control Food Portions?

Food portions have increased tremendously over the years, whether it is larger meal sizes or just larger portions of everything, and it is showing on our bodies, and the health of the state with India being projected to be the capital in lifestyle disorders like heart disease, diabetes & obesity.

healthy-plate-food

Lack of portion control is the biggest hurdle in achieving a sustained weight loss. To help you control portions, here are some tips that come in handy:

- Use (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo