If you're struggling with emotional eating and uncontrollable food cravings here are steps that are sure to give you more peace, freedom and success.
Eat Breakfast with Protein
People who struggle with uncontrollable food cravings and emotional eating typically do not eat breakfast. Many say they don't like breakfast or aren't hungry in the morning.
Sometimes people do seem to feel better without breakfast. That's because when you don't eat for eight or ten hours, your body thinks you are moving towards starvation mode and releases beta-endorphin to protect you from the pain of it. When beta endorphin is released it has a (temporary) euphoric and confidence-building effect. In the moment not eating breakfast makes you feel strong and lean. But the beta-endorphin release masks dropping blood sugar levels and soon after comes the crash. Your body responds with a strong craving and you are likely to eat anything (usually something sweet) in sight. In addition to releasing beta endorphin, stress hormones begin to kick in when you have gone too long without nourishment. The hormones released when we're stressed include adrenalin -- which gives us instant energy -- along with corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol. While high levels of adrenalin and CRH decrease appetite at first, the effects usually don't last long. And cortisol works on a different timetable. Its job is to help us replenish our body after the stress has passed, and it hangs around a lot longer. "It can remain elevated, increasing your appetite and ultimately driving you to eat more,"
Eating breakfast protects your body from the stress of the crash. It is also important to move away from using "not eating" as a way of feeling beta-endorphin-induced confidence. There are healthier ways to achieve higher beta-endorphin.
By eating breakfast with protein, some healthy fat, and a complex carb every morning you are stabilizing your blood sugar, avoiding stress hormones to be released, and preventing mid-morning hunger and low energy. If you don’t like breakfast foods, eat a lunch-type meal instead.
Eat Enough Protein throughout the Day
Making sure that you get enough protein is essential for the following reasons: It is a component of every cell in your body. In fact, hair and nails are mostly made of protein; your body uses it to build and repair tissue; you need it to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals; it is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Like carbohydrates and fat, protein is a "macronutrient,” meaning that you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. (Vitamins and minerals, which you only need in small quantities, are called "micronutrients") Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low.
There are many benefits to eating a protein enriched diet including: curbing hunger, helping to maintain a healthy weight, and speed recovery after exercise.
Eat Balanced Snacks
Eating a healthy snack allows you to add to your intake of essential nutrients. Fruits and vegetables add vitamins A and C, both of which are important for immunity, wound healing and teeth and gums. Add cheese, yogurt or hummus to increase protein intake, which is necessary for healthy muscles, skin, cells and hair. Whole grain crackers add complex carbohydrates and additional fiber. Dairy foods increase calcium intake, a nutrient that is needed for healthy bones. A handful of nuts at snack time will add healthy fats to your diet, which protect your heart and brain.
Having a snack between meals prevents you from becoming so hungry that you reach for unhealthy junk food. A healthy snack keeps hunger at bay and allows you to stick to a moderate amount of food when you do eat your next meal. Choose snacks such as string cheese and fruit or peanut butter on whole grain crackers; these items are nutritious and will satisfy hunger.
Understand the Role of Stress and Eliminate it Where You Can
During times of stress there are actual physiological changes that happen in our bodies, one of which is weight gain. It may not happen overnight, but if we do not pay attention to our body’s needs, over time we may notice we are putting on the pounds.
Our adrenal glands govern our stress response, by secreting hormones relative to our stress levels. They actually help control many hormonal cycles and functions in our body. When the adrenal glands are overworked, the body prepares for disaster, by storing fat and calories. We crave foods, we lose precious energy, and we gain weight. With any increased stress our body looks to its stored fuel, and then replenishes it when used. Also, with increased levels of cortisol, our body also does not respond as well to leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, so we eat more.
Energy balancing techniques can aid you in eliminating stress. In my experience Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) have proven to be the one of the most effective tools that I have come upon to eliminate stress from the body, it is considered by many to be the ultimate stress solution. EFT is much more than an amazing stress management technique, it not only helps you manage your stress, and it can help you eliminate stress from your life along with many other negative emotions or physical ailments that you may be experiencing.
Address the Underlying Issues that Keep You from Reaching and Maintaining Your Goals
Most weight loss diets fail, as you may have experienced yourself. Even with those that seem to work, the benefits are often short-term, the weight coming back on a few months later. We may know what we need to do, but we cannot find the momentum to act. Typically the root of the problem is likely to be the beliefs and mental patterns that sabotage us. Behavior is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals. The most common self-sabotaging behaviors are procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-injury such as cutting. These acts may seem helpful in the moment, but ultimately undermine us, especially when we engage in them repeatedly.
Here again I have personally experienced and observed in my clients the powerful effect that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has had in aiding one to reach and maintain their health and well-being goals. When we apply EFT, we learn to create a safe environment for ourselves and our resistance and fears begin to dissipate. At this point we are able to “peel the onion” and gently get to some of the underlying issues and beliefs that are sabotaging our behavior and holding us back from reaching our goals.
If you are struggling with emotional eating and uncontrollable food cravings I invite you to join me for a free consultation and learn how Body Confidence Coaching can help you reach and maintain your health and fitness goals. Contact Maria
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