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Are you guilty? Eating your emotions?
Do you eat when you are mad at your boss/spouse/partner?
Do you reach for that rich creamy dessert when you are frustrated?
Do you have a Happy Birthday to yourself everyday?

Nibbling on food when you are bored?
Munching on food when you aren't hungry?
Eating at random? Then you are under the spell of emotional eating.
Habitual eating at random  and eating based on your emotional state is emotional eating. It can be detrimental to health. Stuffing in the extra calories will not solve you emotionally. 
Know your hunger signals and differentiate it from emotional eating.
Emotions can influence what, when, and how much we eat. If you have recently eaten and find yourself craving food again, do a quick emotional check.
  • Is your eating patterns based on emotional needs and not physical needs?
  • Do you eat  under stress, anxiety or depression or out of boredom?

How to determine your hunger signals?

It is not True Hunger if you have recently eaten and find yourself craving for food again. Hunger builds at a slow pace, usually several hours after you have eaten. 
True  Hunger comes with emptiness in stomach, rumbling stomach and sometimes accompanied by fatigue, due to the decrease in blood sugar levels.
If you answer "yes" to the following questions, then Stop in your tracks.
  • Did I just eat an hour or two ago?
  • Am I eating in response to an emotion?
Practice mindfulness in eating to help you watch what you eat, how you eat and when you eat. Mindful eating is important for physical and emotional health.

4 Tips for Mindful Eating

1.  Food Journal Tracking

Track ALL you eat, WHEN you eat AND what triggered you to eat. 
Be exhaustively detailed when writing your food journal. 

Track ALL you eat:
- Is it the chips you consume when you surfing the internet? Or the keropok you munch on when watching your tv serials?  How you reach over to the candy bowl at your colleague's workstation when you are discussing work?

The place, aroma of food or a TV ad, whatever the trigger -note them. It helps you keep tabs on your eating pattern and correct them.

Track WHEN you eat:
- Late night suppers when your favourite uncle drops by?
- Early morning rush and grabbing that quick curry puff on route to the MRT station?

Track your Eating Triggers
- How the aroma of fried chicken at the mall makes you scramble for it and you feel powerless.
- and that certain TV ads seems to make you dial a pizza all the time. 

You will be amazed at how much amnesia calories you had, before you start your food tracking!

Many researches on obesity reported that women who kept a consistent food journal lost 6 pounds more than those who didn't journal their eating habits

2. Weigh Your Options

Can food make your disturbed emotions go away?
Healthier, non-damaging options are:
- write your thoughts down. If you can put it on paper, it aids in putting it in perspective
- talk to yourself out loud and record your voice. Listening in the third person wakes you up and helps put perspective on your anxiety.
- talk to a confidante
- call an SOS helpline (if you want a listening ear but wants to remain anonymous)

3. Eat Small & Frequent

Eat small and frequent meals to keep your blood sugar stable and hence, your hunger in check.
Eat five/six meals a day that includes three meals and two/ three snacks. Great way to help prevent emotional eating.

4. Chew Your Food

Chewing your food 25 to 40 times per mouthful helps your digestive system.  Chewing slows eating and improves the flow of digestive juices in your saliva and stomach.
These stimuli are important to send the satiety signals to your brain. This helps it sense the feeling of fullness and satisfaction from a meal.
The result? You will feel full  longer and won't reach for snacks.

Dont eat your emotions everyone!
Yours  always in health and happiness,
Dee Dee

Dee Dee Mahmood, multi award winning Celebrity Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, is the Academic Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Edith Cowan University Australia. Her PhD research on obesity was chosen for its impact on obesity in Asia and was accepted and presented at the President's Cup Award, American College of Sports Medicine Northwest Annual Meeting in Tacoma, Washington. This TEDX Speaker has several signature community programs to her name, Fat2Fit Asia and Walking Football for Health Asia. She conducts  synergy on community and corporate health and research collaborations internationally.

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