Do you binge on ice cream after a bad day at work? Mindlessly nibble when nervous or bored? We’re not talking a scoop after dinner—we mean wolfing down a pint over the course of a tear-jerker chick flick. If so, other women share your pain. It’s called emotional eating. Find out how you can control food portions with personal tips from the iVillage community. Stop feeding your emotions and start living healthy!
Conquer the craving
I give in to the little devil on my shoulder, but I eat "healthy" snacks like yogurt or fruits and veggies. Then I allow myself one of my favorite cookies, or a few chips. If I've already had plenty of healthy food, I'm not likely to be as hungry. The cookie is really just the cherry on the yogurt, so to speak.
I've found that I'm sensitive to sugar and white flour. These two components cause my insulin level to fluctuate and alter my moods. Cutting down on these foods decrease my need to eat.
Drink water first!
You know you really should drink more water. It's good for you. It makes you look and feel great and fills you up. I'm not saying replace food with water. But it helps to stay hydrated and have a glass of water before you give into cravings. Sometimes you think you are hungry, but you're really thirsty.
I make myself drink a large glass of water before I eat anything. Using a straw helps it go down more quickly! Many times, after I drink a full glass, I'm so full I don't want to eat anything. If I still need to eat, I try to make a healthy choice, like fruit.
Fill up on something healthy
Keep baby carrots in the fridge and binge out on them. If you want something really sweet, keep peeled bananas in the freezer and then, when needed, put them in a blender and have a healthy version of ice cream. You'll feel like you splurged on sinful ice cream but you haven't.
Take a time-out
I tell myself to wait five or ten minutes before I can go get that chocolate bar. By the time I can "officially" have the candy, I no longer crave it as much!
Take five minutes to do some deep breathing, yoga or tai chi . Try to focus only on your breath, or visualize yourself as healthy and curvy and doing an activity you enjoy.
Put on a pair of walking shoes and go out for a walk or some other type of physical activity. That will take your mind off of eating "bad for you" food.
Exercise is a great idea. A kickboxing class or some type of high intensity aerobics clears your mind and helps you forget about your craving.
Keep a journal. This will really help you feel empowered against those negative habits. Write down alternatives to eating, so when you've had a bad day and want to munch mindlessly, you have a list of other things you can do. Make sure they're pleasurable, so when you're in the middle of a bad day, you'll have something to look forward to!
In your journal, talk with your urge. Say a host of crazy things. But let it speak. Go on and on. Ask questions. Most of the time it just runs out of steam. But the point is to hear it out. The food shuts it up, but allow your urges to be heard and understood.
Talk back to that little voice inside your head that whispers "Eat!" and suggest alternatives: doing something creative; taking a hot bubble bath with candlelight, music and small glass of wine; reading; or—although it could be dangerous—shopping!
I reward myself with other things that make me happy, like getting my hair done and regular manicures and pedicures. These things are what really fulfill me.
Talk it out
I call a friend for a good heart-to-heart—this helps me get to the bottom of why I'm feeling sad or depressed. It takes my attention away from food and focuses it on myself.
Just imagine you are marooned on a desert island for two months (or whatever time you are dieting for) and the only food available is fruits and veggies. Even if you do have chocolate ice cream, remember that it is in limited stock and has to last till the ship comes along! This way, even if you feel tempted, you will have to eat very little.
I pretend I'm someone I admire—either fictional or real. How would they handle it? Scarlet O'Hara wouldn't let herself pig out on ice cream!