How to Say No to Bad Foods and Mean It

Feb 19, 2010

Written by Adam Freeman, Fitness Director @ O2 Fitness Wilmington

They say the first step to recovery is acknowledging the fact that you have a problem. Did you know that you are an emotional eater? Actually, everyone is an emotional eater in one way or another. Maybe your shaking your head right now, saying "Are you crazy!!! Only overweight people are emotional eaters." Well, believe it or not, you are too!

The most common emotion that causes poor eating habits is depression, and it is widely known because a lot of movies will create a laugh that intensifies the character's feelings by showing how depressed they are to indulge in stuffing their face full with sweets. By seeing that over and over on the silver screen has caused us to think we have to be depressed to have an emotional eating disorder or "bad habit."

The truth is, an emotion is an emotion. A feeling based on certain events that cause you to react in a certain way. If depression can cause you to eat a large portion of chocolate, wouldn't over indulging because you are happy the same thing? Actually, yes! Whether you are Sad, Angry, Bored, Happy, Fearful, Surprised, Joyful, or Disgusted, you have an opportunity to crave food for all the wrong reasons. Those are just the basics though! Double that by adding mixed emotions such as Love, Submissive, Awe, Disappointment, Remorse, Contempt, Aggression, Optimism and you will see many new doors open to what may be causing you to crave all the wrong foods.

Now, my point is not to get you all down on yourself and grab the closest candy bar, but to show you exactly how to change it. Your first task is to identify when you are craving something bad. Once you become aware of what emotions are causing these bad habits, then you can take action and control your beliefs about those cravings.

When you think of a soda, what is the first soda that comes to mind? I am more than positive that 99% of you will say either Coke or Pepsi. I had one guy once tell me he loves the "Bud E" and I just had to drop my head low, knowing that if Budweiser Energy was the first thing that came to his mind, then we have a long road ahead of us. My point is, if you can produce the marketing that Coke and Pepsi has done so successfully, then you can trigger a reaction to block bad decisions when it comes to eating bad foods. No, you don't have to spend millions of dollars advertising in front of millions of people everyday, you just need to advertise to yourself.

Actually it is a very simple 3 step process, all you need is a pen and a notecard and follow these rules:

1) Write on the top of that notecard your awareness key, "I eat Chocolate when _____ stresses me out at work" or "I eat McDonald's because I am in a hurry/frazzled/impatient." Now if you have more than one thing that causes you to eat    emotionally, list ALL of them!

2) On the opposite side of the notecard, write what you really want to believe about those foods because right now you are saying, "I love chocolate, it comforts me when I am stressed out"
(i.e. "Eating Chocolate when I am stressed will only cause me to stress more after I eat it because I will gain weight." or "If I could take two extra minutes to prepare food before I go to work instead of eating McDonald's, I would not gain so much weight and I would not cause more stress from being in such a hurry.")

3) Now laminate your card and put it in your pocket. Keep it in your pocket every single day. Read your card every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed. Everytime you reach in your pocket, you will feel your card and everytime you don't have it in your pocket you will remember you forgot it just as you reach in your pocket and fear that you may have forgotten your keys. The more that card is in front of you, the more you'll think about it, and the quicker you can change your feelings around about a bad habit you may have.

*BONUS TIP: You can use this same process to stay focused on your goals with fitness, family and work.

For more information about hiring a NC personal trainer, visit any one of our O2 Fitness locations.

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