Q:Hi there, I love your blog, you're such a big inspiration! I was wondering if you had any advice on how to break bad eating habits. I find that I eat whenever I feel sad, and was wondering if you had any thoughts on how to tackle this? Is really getting me down, specially since I would like up lose a bit of weight. I used to be bulimic and I find it hard to stop myself from binging when I am sad/stressed, although I don't purge any more. Thanks in advance beautiful x
Congratulations on not purging! That is a serious accomplishment and you should be proud!
For me, there are two main things that help me stop emotional eating before it starts:
1) Get outta there. When your student loan bills come in and you know there’s three boxes of Thin Mints on the pantry, that’s a recipe for disaster. So sometimes I have to physically remove myself from temptation. I find that if I go on a short walk, usually by the time I come home the urge to overeat has died down or gone away completely.
2) Opposite to emotion action. This is kind of hard to explain, but basically when I am feeling a negative emotion, I force myself to do an activity that’s the opposite of that emotion. So if I’m feeling sad, I’ll watch an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or I’ll play with my cat or do something else I know will make me laugh and smile. It helps me “snap out of it” and not just feed into the negative emotion with more negative actions.
Those are the main two things I do, but here are some additional ideas, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:
Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or relaxation.
- Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving a little time to pass.
- Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between mood and food.
- Get support. You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group.
- Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re not truly hungry, distract yourself. Take a walk, watch a movie, play with your cat, listen to music, read, surf the Internet or call a friend.
- Take away temptation. Don’t keep supplies of comfort foods in your home if they’re hard for you to resist. And if you feel angry or blue, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you’re sure that you have your emotions in check.
- Don’t deprive yourself. When you’re trying to achieve a weight-loss goal, you may limit your calories too much, eat the same foods frequently and banish the treats you enjoy. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Let yourself enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.
- Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip or unbuttered popcorn. Or try low-fat, lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
- Learn from setbacks. If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you’re making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that’ll lead to better health.
A follower just asked me, “Should I use laxatives?”
She asked that I send my answer privately, so I did, but I’d like to copy and paste my response here in case other followers are wondering the same thing:
“The only weight laxatives cause you to lose is the weight of the poop in your intestines. Laxatives basically make you poop a lot, and since that poop is no longer in your body, you weigh less. But do they make you lose real weight? Absolutely not. As soon as you eat again, you’ll have food and waste in your digestive tract again and your weight will go right back to where it was before you took the laxatives.
If you are having trouble finding time to workout, I’d recommend focusing on healthy eating instead. If you eat right, you’ll lose real weight — and you won’t spend your day on the toilet, either.”
Help a Blogger Out
Hey followers, failingtoadapt is working on a paper on the topic of obesity, and she could use a little help. I thought some of you might be interested in helping out and being cited!
Here’s what she needs:
“Im an occupational therapy masters student, & Im writing a paper on obesity. Part of the paper is that I find a blog where the person has a history w/obesity. I have to describe the impact of obesity on at least two imp. aspects of person’s life (meaning ur participation/performance in daily activities & health (ex: mental, physical, Feeding, education, play, social, leisure etc). Your blog will be cited in my paper. i will also need your age and occupational roles (student, mom, sis etc) Thanks.”
If you think you can help, please message her directly. Thanks!
I’m writing a blog about food expiration dates. I was on a stock photo site searching for “bad food” and I found a few images that were too majestic not to share. Enjoy.
Submission: Body Weight Set Points
What is your opinion on body weight set-points? I am reading “Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About You Weight,” and it makes a whole lot of sense to me.
Answer: I’m sorry, but can you explain the concept to me a bit? I haven’t read the book and I don’t want to give my opinion on something I might not understand.
Submission: Feeling Hopeless About Weightloss
Submission: hi, i need help…i feel like i’m on the verge of a mental breakdown. i feel helpless. i weight the most i’ve ever weighed in my entire life. ive gained about 15lbs since i started dating my boyfriend last summer. i was trying to lose weight (unsuccessfully) before i met him, and now that i have 15 more pounds to lose on top of the 20lbs i wanted to lose before, i feel hopeless. i feel like a slob. i know my boyfriend loves the way i look, but i can’t help but feel unattractive to him. i just feel lost. i dont know where to start to lose this weight. i’m not losing it for him…i wanted to lose weight before i met him. but now weighing 25lbs more than my boyfriend makes me selfconscious. i just dont know how to lose weight and i get too easily discouraged. and i just can’t stop eating the foods that i love, that i know are bad for me. please help. i’m at my wit’s end.
Answer: Hey friend. First of all, stop for a second and take a deep breath. Remember that your weight is only one facet of who you are and only one aspect of your life. It’s okay to want to change it, but don’t let it consume you. Take the pressure off yourself a bit and realize that even though you may not like this one thing about yourself and your life, there are still a million things you do like (your loving boyfriend, for example). You know, just get a little perspective and that hopeless feeling won’t be as strong.
Okay, onto the weight loss.
When people tell me they don’t know where to start, or that they’re feeling overwhelmed, I always make this recommendation: just change one thing. Think about your habits, and pick one specific one that you know isn’t helping you lose weight. For example, if you drink soda with every meal, you can start there. Make a goal that’s specific, measurable and achievable like, “This week, I will only drink soda with half my meals, and I’ll drink water with the other half.” Make a goal that you can think of and say to yourself, “Yeah, I can totally do that.” Then do it. For a week, for two weeks, for however long it takes you to feel comfortable and ready to move on. Then make another goal (while still practicing your first). Keep adding small, measurable goals, keep meeting them, and keep making more. After a month or too you’ll be amazed at how much your lifestyle has changed.
I think this is the best approach to take when you’re feeling hopeless. It’s easy to feel hopeless when you feel like there’s this huge goal that you have no idea how to achieve — but if you break it down into smaller goals, your attitude starts to become a lot more positive and with each goal you achieve you get more confident and more determined.
Clear Your Green Fridge of These Belly Betrayers
- Carbonated Drinks. The bubbles that make sodas and seltzers fizz also fill your belly with gas, and as the gas expands, so does the size of your stomach. If you’re planning to hit the pool a lot this summer and you want a flat belly every time, clear those carbonated drinks out of your fridge. After a few weeks, you’ll be just as hooked on unsweetened iced tea or ice water enhanced with liquid flavor drops.
- Cheese and Milk. Milk, cheese and cream have plenty of health benefits, but you may want to lay off of the dairy products for a while if you’re hoping to shrink your waistline. Even those of us who haven’t been diagnosed as lactose intolerant may still have trouble digesting these foods. With indigestion comes gas, and with gas comes an expanding middle.
- Salty Foods. Bologna, bacon, soy sauce and cheese dip – these are just some of the high-sodium foods lurking in your fridge. In addition to causing high blood pressure, sodium leads to water retention. The more water you retain, the more bloated (and the bigger) you’ll appear.
Stock Your Green Fridge With These Belly Shrinking Foods
- Greek Yogurt. Yogurt is packed with probiotics, the same kinds of helpful bacteria that are found in our intestines. Probiotics help your body break down and absorb food, which means they’ll cut down on gas and bloating.
- Filtered Water. The best way to beat water retention is by drinking more water. We know – it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Drink morefiltered water and you’ll help flush away the excess sodium in your system. The water you’ve been retaining will be flushed out too.
- Papaya. This tropical fruit is high in papain – an enzyme that’s so powerful at breaking down food that its powdered extract is often used as a meat tenderizer. When you eat papaya, the papain helps your body digest food easier, leading to less bloating and a tighter, flatter-looking stomach.
- Trade Sour Cream for Greek Yogurt. There are about 493 calories in one cup of sour cream, and roughly 435 of those calories come from fat. A cup of Greek yogurt, on the other hand, has less than 140 calories. Even better, many varieties have zero fat, and all Greek yogurt is packed with protein. The thought of adding a dollop of yogurt to a fajita or baked potato may sound strange at first, but you’ll be surprised at how much unflavored Greek yogurt tastes like sour cream.
- Swap Out Lettuce for Fresh Spinach. When you hear “healthy living,” a bowl of fresh salad is probably one the first things that springs to mind. But iceberg lettuce, one of the most common ingredients in salad, is made up mostly of water and isn’t exactly nutrient-packed. Spinach has three times the calcium and vitamin C of iceberg lettuce. It’s also higher in fiber, iron and other vitamins and trace minerals. Spinach even stays fresher longer than lettuce – and with the help of The Ozonator, those leafy greens will remain crisp and nutritious longer than ever.
- Replace Spaghetti With Shirataki Noodles. Toss those spaghetti noodles out of your pantry and make some room in your green fridge for Shirataki noodles. These noodles are made from tofu and yam flour, and an 8 oz. bag contains just 40 calories. Compare that to the 220 calories you’ll get from 8 oz. of traditional spaghetti noodles and the choice is clear. Tofu Shirataki noodles even offer more protein than regular noodles. They’re a great way to cut calories without giving up your favorite pasta dishes.