16 The Courier sun • wellness • october 22, 2015 for breaking news visit www.couriersun.com wellness s Don’t give in to mood binges By Tresa Erickson You’ve had one of the worst days ever. It all started this morning when the dog got out and you had to chase it down, which made you late for work and upset your boss. The fun didn’t stop there. You spilled coffee all over an important report and learned that a deadline had been moved up on one of your projects. When you got home, the day got even worse. The kids squabbled all night long and the toilet overflowed. It’s now 10 p.m., the kids are in bed and you’re trying to calm down. You open the fridge and pull out a chocolate pie. A big slice of that will make you feel better, right? Wrong. While eating foods like chocolate will cause the body to release mood-lifting opiates, it is not a permanent solution, and if done too frequently, will result in weight gain. When you are in a mood, don’t turn to comfort foods. You will only soothe your feelings for the time being. Eventually they will return, and if you aren’t careful, you will eat then too and start to develop the pattern of an emotional eater. Emotional eaters are just that, people who consume food when they’re feeling bad. They could be stressed, angry, sad or bored. It doesn’t matter. Whenever the mood strikes, they grab some food, usually unhealthy, and start munching. The food pleases their taste buds and serves as a distraction against what’s really bothering them. To avoid becoming an emotional eater, follow these suggestions: • Eat a balanced diet. Sit down and eat three meals a day. You’ll feel fuller and be less likely to want to eat. • Exercise regularly. Incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine. You’ll feel better and be less likely to fall prey to emotions. • Determine the source of your emotions. Most feelings are the result of an underlying problem. The sooner you determine what is causing you to be angry, nervous or sad, the faster you can resolve it and avoid the urge to eat. If the problem can’t be readily solved, arrange to talk to someone about it. Sometimes just talking about something will make you feel better. • Learn to recognize hunger. Whenever you get the urge to eat, make certain you’re hungry. If you’ve just eaten an hour before, chances are you’re not really hungry and shouldn’t eat. • Create a distraction. If you get the urge to eat and know you’re not really hungry, distract yourself from eating. Curl up on the couch with a good book, take a walk or treat yourself to a movie. You’ll soon forget about eating. In addition to these suggestions, experts advise you stock your cabinets with low-calorie, low-fat foods, like pretzels and unbuttered popcorn. That way, if you do fall prey to emotional eating, you won’t be cramming your body with unhealthy foods. Everyone experiences emotional ups and downs. How you deal with those times is crucial. Don’t grab for food. Instead, call up a friend and discuss what’s bothering you or put your feelings to constructive use with a craft or hobby or a mile around the local track. Avoid becoming an emotional eater and stay in good health.
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