We’ve all done it… You had a bad day and before you know it, you’re reaching for a pint of ice cream or bag of chips. We’ve been raised to react to emotions this way, from the first time your mom gave you a cookie when you fell down or earned an A on a spelling quiz. It’s so common that I have never met a single client, student, or friend who does not emotionally eat sometimes! So, how do we combat it?
The best way is to resolve the problem. Why are you sad? Why are you stressed? Some things we can’t correct, such as a death or divorce, but we can solve how we respond. If you can’t resolve the problem, the solution is how you respond to the urge to binge. The best methods may be talking it over with a friend, exercise, rest, or calming activities, such as yoga, massage, or meditation. Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood boosters, and sleep, yoga, and meditation can decrease stress hormones. No matter your vice for when the going gets tough, you can handle the binges. Stock your fridge with yummy, healthy snacks that you’re drawn to, maybe pear and banana slices plus peanut butter, low-fat popcorn, or a single serving of your favorite ice cream. The good news is that this, too, shall pass and you’ll be back on track in no time!
The holidays are here, possibly the happiest and unhealthiest time of year. On Thanksgiving when we’re giving thanks and celebrating friends and family, we seem to put health last. Start a new tradition and make health a priority this year! Why not start the holiday with a Turkey Trot or family fun run/walk in your neighborhood? And eat breakfast, even though you may plan to eat a large meal later. Studies show that exercise and breakfast keep us from eating too much throughout the day. For breakfast try fiber and protein-rich foods to keep you satisfied, maybe a veggie omelet with a side of fruit. And, for the big meal, keep two or three of your family’s favorite traditional holiday foods and scrap the least favorites for fresh veggies and fruit salad. Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab suggests that if your table has fewer options, you’re likely to eat less! Try tossing diced pears, persimmons, and oranges with dried cranberries and pecans for a new fall favorite. Yum!
Finally, I have a confession: My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is dessert. To keep from binging too much, my family has a rule. We won’t eat pie right after the big meal; we wait a few hours when we’re ready for leftovers. As strange as it sounds, we eat less this way! Cheers to you, your family, and health!
Why do we always have to start a new health kick on a Monday, the first day of the month, or first of the year? It’s a mind trick, because January 1 is no different from any other day of the year. (And this year it fell on a Tuesday!) But we have it stuck in our heads that each year we need to resolve to be healthier, eat better, or exercise more. Instead of making resolutions that undoubtedly fail us because they aren’t lifestyle changes, how about we make small steps to reach a simple goal?
If you haven’t met your resolutions in the past, start 2013 with the goal of doing better than you did in 2012. That’s it! Just take a little bit better care of yourself than you have been. Studies suggest that small changes are the real players when it comes to permanent lifestyle changes. So, add a piece of fruit to one snack each day. Add exercise one day per week. Allow yourself a day of relaxation. If you make these small changes each week, you’re bound to build a lifetime habit that is a permanent change, and simply helps you feel better! Happy New Year!