Diet and Fitness, Diet and Healthy Eating

4 Ways to Preempt Emotional Eating

0 Comments 23 March 2010

Do you eat in response to stress or other emotional triggers? Stop that habit with help from Drs. Susan Mitchell and Catherine Christie, authors of Fat Is Not Your Fate: Outsmart Your Genes and Lose the Weight Forever.

To preempt the immediate eating that is literally a “gut reaction” to emotion, our clients and patients have found the Four Ds helpful.

  • Deep breathing: Take ten slow, deep breaths in succession: breathe in to a count of ten, hold for a count of ten, and breathe out slowly to a count of ten.
  • Delay: Wait at least ten minutes before eating; then see if you still feel like eating.
  • Drink water, coffee, or tea: Have a glass of water or drink something hot, such as tea or coffee. Drinking helps satisfy the desire to eat.
  • Distraction: Tailor your distractions to the source of the emotion. If it’s stress that habitually makes you eat, schedule a “worry time”, or do a mechanical task such as pulling weeds or trimming shrubs to help clear your mind. If it’s boredom, commit to a new and stimulating objective. If it’s loneliness, call a friend or volunteer at a shelter or library. If you’re angry, get physical and go for a brisk walk or clean a closet. Make a list of enjoyable or mechanical distractions you can do instead of eating, such as listening to music, gardening, doing laundry, playing your guitar or piano, cooking a meal for a sick friend, playing with a pet, or sending or answering e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dr. Susan Mitchell and Dr. Catherine Christie are the authors of Fat is Not Your Fate: Outsmart Your Genes and Lose the Weight Forever (Copyright © 2005 by Dr. Susan Mitchell and Dr. Catherine Christie), I’d Kill for a Cookie, and Eat to Stay Young. Dr. Mitchell, a registered dietitian, certified nutrition specialist, and fellow of the American Dietetic Association, has appeared on Today, CNN, and the TV Food Network. Dr. Christie, also a registered dietitian and certified nutrition specialist, is a fellow of the American Dietetic Association and president of the Florida Dietetic Association.

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