Hungry? Really? How to Break Conditioned Eating

Many feelings can be mistaken for hunger, this can lead to comfort eating. It is important to establish whether you are eating for reasons other than actual hunger.

Are you...sad…depressed…annoyed…..celebrating….lonely….bored….on a work break…..out with friends….passing the pub or coffee shop….in the cinema….having a night out….having a day out….having a drink…??

All of these can lead to emotional responses of reaching for food. If it’s social or in situations on our own, we can end up eating! This is because we no longer associate food with hunger but with common situations in which we find ourselves. Sometimes this is conditioned into us as children….if you are good, were you given a sweet? if so, you have grown up thinking your reward for good behaviour is some food! Similarly, when at the cinema, we are conditioned into thinking we should drink and eat lots of sugar!! And if you have drinks, we are conditioned into thinking we should have some salty nibbles like crisps and nuts! If we are lonely on the sofa, we probably reach for some chocolate or ice-cream. If it's hot, we automatically think of having some burgers and sausages on the barbeque!

You need to re-condition your subconscious into reaching for an alternative to food in these situations. Your mind is a powerful influence and it will help you stop eating in these situations if you give it a change.

If you realise that you are reaching for food when you’re not actually hungry, then try to replace food with a positive alternative. This will lead to your mind actually automatically replacing the desire for hunger with something else. For example, imagine you are quitting replace the smoke with something else and your subconscious automatically thinks of the positive alternative instead of the smoke in that emotional situation. Eating can be dealt with in the same way.

When you reach for food when you're not hungry, try some alternatives instead:

•    Drinking water. Most hunger is actually thirst, so first have a large glass of water and then see if you are still hungry.

•    Take a bath, go for a walk, listen to some music or read a book

•    Connect with your body, do some yoga, stretch, dance, laugh, take a deep breath

•    Clean, have some tea, treat yourself to a massage, new clothing or something for the house

Replace the food with a positive emotional response and only eat when you are hungry, i.e. 8-10 on a scale of 1-10 for hunger.
And don’t forget then to eat when you are really hungry!!

When you are eating...

•    Sit at a table, use a smaller plate
•    Chew slowly
•    Use cutlery or chopsticks if it will slow down the speed you can eat at
•    Although it sounds obvious... taste the food, savour every mouthful!
•    Try not to eat while driving, watching TV or when you're at the cinema. A distraction can cause you to eat more and you may not feel as full as you would otherwise.
•    Remember, when you're full... stop eating
•    Clean your teeth or chew some sugar free gum after a meal, this may help prevent you going back for more!

So, even if you are genuinely hungry, you can eat less too!!

I hope these tips help. Feel free to contact me for more information. I offer personal Cambridge Weight Plan Programmes for those who wish to lose weight or control their weight. Call Steve on 07968065885 or 02380639913 for more details.

Good luck managing your weight!