Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5th Strategy to Kick Emotional Eating to the Curb

I alluded to this 5th strategy in yesterday's strategy on portion control.

I will confess that this strategy is going to be one of the biggest keys to your weight loss success long-term. It is something that a lot of behavior modification coaches teach...so there is some real science behind this:

Strategy #5: Pattern Interrupt

Strategies 1, 3 and 4 all help with this, but there are lots of other ways that you can interrupt the emotional eating pattern.

In fact, ANYTHING that you do that stops you from going immediately from one mouthful to the next could be considered a pattern interrupt.

I suggest you come up with a list of things that you can do that might work for you in a variety of situations. For example, you could go outside...but if it is 2am in the middle of a snowstorm that might not be the best option. Call a friend, write in your journal, throw a pillow, pet your dog or cat, go outside and throw rocks, go for a walk, listen to some music, read a book, take a shower, meditate...find simple activities that you can do quickly that help you feel better.

If you want to take the pattern interrupt to the next level you can also use a negative association for when you want to eat...some people wear a rubber band on their wrist that they snap when they have the urge to eat. This small pain can help to remind your brain and body that you don't want to keep at that old habit.

If you decide to do that, then as soon as you go to the new behavior, then gently stroke the same wrist so you are giving your body a positive reinforcement as well. The combination of the positive and negative is far more affective than either positive or negative by itself.

The most important thing about this pattern interrupt is to have a list handy so you don't have to take a lot of time thinking about what you COULD do...and have any "tools" you might need ready as well. So if going for a walk is one of your choices, keep a pair of shoes ready by the door so you can put them on and go.

Write your own list and keep it handy...maybe right on the cupboard or the fridge! There are no rules about what can be on the list...it can be anything not food/drink related that will help you break that eating cycle.

Tomorrow we move to the 2nd half of my strategies for kicking emotional eating to the curb!

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