You’ve got the basic equation down: Healthy weight involves a bit of math involving exercise and diet. If you burn more calories than you consume, then you’re on the right path.
Simple enough. But…
There’s another piece of the puzzle you can’t ignore: Your emotional state.
If you’re sad, lonely, stressed out, or feeling deprived, then it’s going to feel impossible sticking to your eating and exercise plan. Those food cravings can hit just when you’re feeling vulnerable – and then, bam, here come the empty promises and false comfort of out of control eating.
So, since you’re going to continue having emotions, and since sometimes they might run away from you because you are, you know, HUMAN, let’s tackle this issue head on.
1. Spot your triggers. Not getting along with someone? Work deadlines tight? Kids on your last nerve? You know what presses your buttons and makes you want to grab the chips. Knowing them helps hit the pause button on impulse-driven choices you’ll regret.
2. Move It. Try to do something physical in response to these triggers. Go for a walk, play with your dog, or schedule workouts to follow your stressful job shift. Meditation and journaling can be lifesavers, too.
3. Keep Track. Use a diary or journal to record how your emotions are affecting your movement and food choices. The first step to change is building awareness.
4. Limit Temptation. A little prevention goes a long way. If you are eating enough protein, fruits, veggies and simple carbs then temptations decrease. For some, keeping the items they crave out of the house for a short time is helpful as well.
5. Moderation, Not Deprivation. Avoid the all-or-nothing mindset. Strive for balance, instead. Eat well most of the time, enjoy a little indulgence occasionally, and be consistent over time. This is the 80/20 rule.
If you still feel troubled by emotional eating, you might want to see a counselor or nutritionist. Seeking support is a sign of strength and maturity, and one of the best tools we have to achieve success.