How to avoid bad snacking this January

It’s the start of the year, the debit orders have all hit and you’re trying to manage all your finances while starting your New Year diet plan Download the apartment floor plan. Before you know it, you’re sitting on your bed, finishing off a tub of ice-cream and there are empty chocolate wrappers scattered around you. What’s just happened?

Think of stress eating as your emotional crutch. It’s what you turn to when you feel a bit down or under pressure. Consider the comfort foods you turn to when stressed. Macaroni and cheese, sweet treats, warm drinks and fast food… these are mostly foods from our childhoods, from a time when we felt more carefree.

Besides the feelgood factor, eating is also a distraction. Instead of dealing with your problems, you focus on polishing off a bag of chips.

Common stress eating triggers

  • Relationship conflicts.
  • Academic stress.
  • Financial pressures.
  • Health problems.

Step away from the fridge; don’t let overeating consume you.

Find the pattern
In the midst of your stress eating, try to suss out what triggered it. What was the situation before you dived into a binge chocolate fest? How were you feeling?  Is there a specific atmosphere that you do this in?

A great way to track stress eating triggers is to keep a food journal. Write down how you felt and what happened before you went off the rails and reached for the sweets on certain days. Compare all your findings to suss out your personal triggers.

Know when you’re hungry
Are you really so ravenous that you need two burgers and dessert? It’s important to know the difference between being physically hungry and emotionally hungry.

Try to measure your hunger level out of 10. If it is lower than eight, then you are probably not hungry enough for that binge session you are about to indulge in. When you feel like eating yourself into oblivion, ask yourself what kind of hunger it is and train yourself to tell the difference so you can stop before you even begin.

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Change your mind
Your mind is more powerful than the chocolate, remember that. Once you’ve figured out the pattern to your stress eating, you’ll also see a repetition of what you choose to eat. Play a trick on your mind: conjure up your favourite treat, then, associate it with something you don’t like. For example, imagine your favourite brownies covered in cockroaches. That would put you off, right?

Create a new you

Keep the person you would like to be in your mind’s eye and use it to control your stress eating. Having a 2.0 version of yourself in mind, will help to keep you on track to become that person. Visualise a healthier and happier version of yourself whenever you have the urge to drown your stress in food and in time, you will have trained yourself to manage your emotions according to who are trying to become. You could even Photoshop a picture of yourself into your ideal version and stick it on the fridge as motivation!

Good to know

  • Stock up on healthy snacks for when you have the urge to binge.
  • Try to find other outlets for your stress, like meditating, venting to a friend or exercising.
  • If you feel like you have no control, speak to your doctor.