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6 Ways To Control Emotional Eating

6 Ways To Control Emotional Eating

We are in the middle of an obesity epidemic that is showing no signs of slowing down, and although there are a few things that can be said about accepting who you are, being confident and not being superficial when it comes to looks, the fact of the matter is that being dramatically overweight increases health risks. This is particularly due to the large amounts of unhealthy foods we consume and the lack of key nutrients in our diets.

Emotional eating is often the culprit when it comes to gaining large amounts of weight—it is a diet killer, an emotional black hole and a drain on your wallet. Some people just can’t handle stress without that happy feeling they get from sugary or high-fat foods. So how do you control this sudden and overwhelming urge?

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1. Eat regularly

There are a lot of little tasks during the day that can keep us from having the old “three square meals a day.” Instead of sitting down and having a nice, filling lunch consisting of several different dishes including salads and soup, we just buy some junk food and basically live off snacks, sweets and soda a good part of the day. If a craving strikes it is easy to say we are really just hungry and to keep eating all the junk food we already have at our side. Instead of this, try to eat three big meals a day and have two to three small snacks along the way—some fruit or a homemade milkshake are great treats. This way you won’t be too hungry at any given part of the day and having set meals will allow you greater control over your diet.

2. Eliminate junk food from your home

If you don’t have any unhealthy comfort foods in your home it will be difficult to binge on them even if you break down and give in to your cravings. Go for salads, some fruit, soups and similar meals that won’t be too high on calories. I don’t recommend nuts; although they are healthy when consumed in moderation, it is quite easy to sit back and eat a bucket load of them when you are feeling down. If you still feel a strong need for something sweet after a couple of apples or a banana, identify this as an irrational craving and take steps to overcome it.

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3. Distract yourself

The simplest way to deal with a craving is to give your brain something else to think about. Dive into that DIY project you have been putting off for some time, have a friend over and play some video games, take the dog for a walk, sit down and have a cup of coffee with a family member, put on some great music and dance in front of the mirror—anything that gets your mind occupied. Even hardcore smokers can get so distracted by a project that they let a cigarette burn itself out in the ashtray, so find a good way to keep yourself busy and avoid emotional eating.

4. Break bad habits

When you respond to one stimulus by immediately performing a certain action, you program your body to work a certain way. After a while you can basically train yourself to respond to negative feedback, emotional pain and stress by eating ice cream or cake. At this point it is like a reflex action with little conscious planning. You need to identify the situations that trigger emotional eating for you and make an effort to switch to a more positive course of action. You are getting an endorphin high from the sweets and you need to replace this with another stimulus, such as listening to music, singing, running, dancing or cuddling up with someone you love and trust. If you don’t have junk food in your home it can be easier to resort to another tactic straight away than to go out and buy some chocolate or wait for the pizza to arrive.

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5. Do some exercise

Exercise is a great substitute for eating when you are feeling down, but is also a great way to boost your self-confidence and relieve stress irrespective of when it is performed. Regular exercise is good for both physical and mental health, and activities like running, punching bag training and yoga can also be used as a direct means of dealing with emotional distress brought on by various events in your life.

6. Go to a qualified therapist

In the end, if you don’t feel like you are able to cope, even with all the advice you have been offered and the emotional support of your close friends and family, it is best to seek out professional help. Some of the causes of emotional eating can be deep-seated emotional issues related to sexuality, self-perception or morality, and these issues can’t be easily resolved. Coming to terms with negative things that have happened in the past is a long and slow process, but it can be done and there are professionals willing to help.

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More by this author

Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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