Are you an emotional eater?

Here are four common mood-related triggers for overindulging – and how to avoid them

 
 
 
  • Women drinking champagne
    Stephanie Lowe
    By   | Family and Home Editor, BT.com
    Last updated: 04 September 2013, 09:39 BST

    Surprisingly, positive emotions are more likely to cause overeating than negative ones, according to food and psychology expert Dr Brian Wansink. In a poll, he discovered 86 per cent were likely to turn to their favourite foods when they were feeling happy.

    Ways to beat it

    • Mark the occasion with a non-food treat - Celebrate Friday with a bunch of flowers instead of a takeaway, or a small glass of bubbly in a hot bath rather than a gut-busting meal out.
    • Go for quality not quantity - Spend the same amount on better quality food but enjoy less of it. You might have a small taster of smoked salmon rather than fish and chips, or enjoy one glass of decent wine rather than a bottle of something cheaper.

     

     
     
     

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  • Woman stressed out with digital devices
    Stephanie Lowe
    By   | Family and Home Editor, BT.com
    Last updated: 04 September 2013, 09:39 BST

    Feeling uptight is a common cause of grabbing something immediately gratifying, such as a chocolate bar. And very stressful days may drive you naturally towards sweet foods as you try to boost your energy levels.

    Ways to beat it

    • Step away from the biscuit tin - Research that tracked frequent snackers found that those who went for a brisk five-minute walk when they felt frazzled were much less likely to reach for something sweet than those who continued to sit at their desks
    • Go for a brisk walk - It can lift your mood and put things back into perspective
    • Take up yoga - A recent study found that overweight women who started yoga, lost an average of 10lb after 18 months without consciously dieting
    • Meditate or write a diary every day - These relaxation techniques serve as a buffer to stress, making overeating less likely

     

     
     
     

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  • To-do List
    Stephanie Lowe
    By   | Family and Home Editor, BT.com
    Last updated: 04 September 2013, 09:39 BST

    Most boredom-snacking occurs in the evening when you’re winding down and in relax mode. Or it can catch up with you when you’re having a day off or struggling through mundane tasks.

    Ways to beat it

    • Keep busy - It sounds obvious, but being occupied will take your mind off eating
    • Make a list of the activities you could do instead – reading or updating your Facebook page, for example
    • Go to bed earlier - studies have shown a link between obesity and tiredness
    • Work for your food treats - Choose snacks you can’t eat mindlessly. Shell-on pistachios are an ideal option, or go for individual chocolates over a whole bar

     

     
     
     

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  • Sad woman looking out of window
    Stephanie Lowe
    By   | Family and Home Editor, BT.com
    Last updated: 04 September 2013, 09:39 BST

    Eating may provide a temporary mood boost when you’re a bit low, but it can actually increase the blues in the long term if you begin to dislike yourself for not having more self control.

    Ways to beat it

    • Find the underlying reason - You need to tackle the cause of your unhappiness
    • Talk things through with a good friend - Practice assertiveness
    • Contact Relate - You may need support with relationship problems
    • Read nutritional information - You'll eat less
    • Avoid the weepies - A study found people with buttered popcorn and a DVD ate nearly a third more during a tear-jerker than an upbeat film

     

     
     
     

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