The average woman has a funny relationship with food.
We eat for so may different reasons and too often it can have very little to do with being hungry. Stress, tiredness, boredom, loneliness, sadness – all these can be triggers that send us reaching for the icecream tub.
If you need to lose weight this emotional link with food can be a disaster – especially in your middle years when metabolism slows and weight loss becomes much harder to achieve.
One of the most important things you need to do if you want to lose weight when your over 40 is be able to tell when you’re really hungry.
You need to know the difference between real physical hunger and ’emotional hunger’ caused by a psychological need.
It all comes down to whether you can feel it. Real hunger causes those familiar ‘pangs’ deep in the stomach – a sensation that many of us don’t allow our bodies to feel. If you can’t feel it – you aren’t hungry. It’s that simple.
Step one in any attempt to curb your eating has to be – only eat when you feel the physical signs of hunger and don’t eat at any other time. Step two – of course – is stop eating when you no longer feel hungry.
Following those two simple rules should be easy – but it isn’t. There are far too many temptations pulling at us until we give in to the mental or emotional ‘hunger’ and eat for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s five simple tips to help keep you safe from emotional eating:
- Never shop for food when you’re hungry and particularly not when you’re tired and emotional as well. You’ll buy for comfort and you’ll take home the wrong kind of food.
- Always write a list and stick to it no matter what. If you simply don’t have the willpower in a supermarket – shop online.
- If you cook for small children – never finish off their leftovers. This is often just habit eating – it’s there so you eat it. Instead have some yoghurt or fruit and a glass of water or fruit juice with the children. Clear away immediately.
- Be the first to order in a restaurant – studies show that if you order after others you’re more likely to be influenced in your choice of dish. Order first and you can stick to a healthy choice.
- Suck a mint or chew gum whilst cooking – many women consume as many calories while cooking as when they actually sit down and eat. This is ‘hidden’ eating. You don’t sit down and there’s no way of you or anyone else measuring what you’ve really had. You’re simply trying to fool yourself. Chewing on something creates a physical barrier which prevents you giving in to the nibbling urge.
Follow these tips and break the connection between food and your emotions.
Discover what your personal triggers are and then train yourself to eat when you are hungry – you could soon be looking younger, fitter and slimmer than you’ve looked in years!