Food is primarily about fueling our bodies with essential nutrients. However, for most of us, our eating behaviors are strongly influenced by psychological, social, and emotional factors. In order to take charge of your eating, look at each of the following areas:
Spend time observing your eating behaviors. Consider keeping a food journal. Do you eat when lonely, sad, happy, bored, or stressed?
Learn to differentiate between hunger and appetite. Hunger is an actual physical need for food; appetite is the desire for food often triggered by stress, habit or availability of food.
Find replacements for eating when you are not hungry. Delay at least 10 minutes before eating; distract yourself with some activity that requires concentration; distance yourself from the food; determine how important it is for you to eat the desired food.
If achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is among your wellness goals, come up with some strategies to reach your goal and put those strategies into play. Celebrate your victories and forgive missteps.
Be in the “driver’s seat” when it comes to eating. Don’t just go along with feelings or circumstances, but take charge and empower yourself to eat well and enjoy what you eat. Listen to and honor your body, rather than your feelings. And remember: it’s all about balance. The occasional splurge is okay!