Does your mood affect your eating habits? Do you turn to sweets when you’re sad? Do you stuff your face with junk food when you’re stressed? Eating unhealthly and binge eating due to your negative emotions is common and can become a habit that's hard to break. The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels shares her five steps to recognize and overcome emotional eating.
- Step 1: When you think you're hungry, you need to stop yourself right as you're going for the fridge. Just learn to stop yourself and ask yourself in that moment, "Am I even hungry?"
- Step 2: Evaluate. Is your stomach growling? Do you feel weak? Are you tired? When was the last time you ate? Was it three or four hours ago? Ask yourself those questions. The first thing to do is write down, "Okay, I'm hungry." On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the hungriest), I want you to ask yourself, "How hungry am I?" Are you a 1, or a 5, or a 10?
- Step 3: I want you to write down if, in fact, you're hungry and the last time you ate. What's going on for you emotionally? Take a look—explore yourself and your feelings. What's going on? "Well, you know what, I'm anxious, man." "We have layoffs at the office." "I'm going through a break up." Identify the emotion and what's going on inside of you.
- Step 4: Now that you've recognized it, you need to face it in order to conquer it. So now you've got to look at this and ask yourself, "Can this issue be resolved in the now?" Do you have the ability to deal with it? Did you have a fight with your mom? Can you call her and rectify it? Maybe your dog died. Who knows? Sometimes things just suck.
- Step 5: If you're at the point where you can't resolve the issue, you need to find ways of nurturing yourself and pampering yourself that are not food related. Know yourself. Do you collect stuff? Do you like to go on eBay and thrift shop? What are your hobbies? Put together a family album. Write your memoirs. Do stuff that's incompatible with self-destruction and that will help. That's why a lot of the contestants on the ranch—when they were working out so hard and taking such good care of themselves—often, I think, didn't eat enough because they begin to associate eating with being self-destructive.
At the end of the day, here's also what I would say: “Sometimes, you know what, it just doesn't work.” Make a healthier choice. Have air-popped popcorn, not Cheetos. Have sugar-free Popsicles for 25 calories instead of Ben & Jerry's. When all else fails, make a healthier choice.