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Emotional Eating: Becoming Aware of Why You Eat

Emotional eating ranks high on the list of reasons that people give for being overweight.  I had a friend once who used to count the restaurants every time she visited a new city.  She even noticed the ones that were tucked away out of sight.

To end emotional eating, you have to be aware.  You’ve got to ask yourself before you sit down to a meal: “Am I really hungry, or am I eating for some other reason?”

Most of the time, you don’t even know you’re eating emotionally.  You’re simply eating out of habit.  By asking yourself the above question every time you eat, you’re sure to discover that most of the time, you aren’t even hungry.

There might be several reasons you eat without even thinking about it.  Chances are, especially if you’ve been overweight since childhood, emotional triggers were created long ago that may fill your need for warmth and love.

These kinds of patterns can run your life unless you take steps to break them.  It’s also extremely important to replace these patterns with new, healthier ones.  You can’t break a pattern, however, until you know it exists.

One way to become more aware when you eat is to eat exclusively.  This means not eating in front of the TV.  TV, in fact, can poison your weight loss efforts, especially if you’ve developed a habit of eating and watching TV.

If this is the case, just the act of turning on the TV can make you want to eat.

Another way to kill emotional eating is to eat slowly.  It takes your brain a while to register that you’re full.  If you put your spoon or fork down after each bite, you’ll give the stomach time to send the message to the brain that you’re full.

Still another way to become aware of emotional eating is to keep a journal.  Write down everything you eat, as well as your feelings and thoughts before, during, and after you eat.  This is especially true in the beginning stages of a weight loss program.

You might find that just being aware of what, how much, when, and why you’ve been eating will help you to change your habits much faster.

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