inner-healing:

How To Stop Emotional Eating Habits

Alternatives to emotional eating

  • If you’re depressed or lonely, call someone who always makes you feel better, play with your dog or cat, or look at a favorite photo or cherished memento.
  • If you’re anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk.
  • If you’re exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
  • If you’re bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy (woodworking, playing the guitar, shooting hoops, scrapbooking, etc.).

Most emotional eaters feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, it’s all you can think about. You feel an almost unbearable tension that demands to be fed, right now! Because you’ve tried to resist in the past and failed, you believe that your willpower just isn’t up to snuff. But the truth is that you have more power over your cravings than you think.

Take 5 before you give in to a craving

Emotional eating tends to be automatic and virtually mindless. Before you even realize what you’re doing, you’ve reached for a tub of ice cream and polished off half of it. But if you can take a moment to pause and reflect when you’re hit with a craving, you give yourself the opportunity to make a different decision.

Can you put off eating for five minutes, or just start with one minute. Don’t tell yourself you can’t give in to the craving; remember, the forbidden is extremely tempting. Just tell yourself to wait. While you’re waiting, check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What’s going on emotionally? Even if you end up eating, you’ll have a better understanding of why you did it. This can help you set yourself up for a different response next time.

Learn to accept your feelings—even the bad ones

While it may seem that the core problem is that you’re powerless over food, emotional eating actually stems from feeling powerless over your emotions. You don’t feel capable of dealing with your feelings head on, so you avoid them with food.

Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary. You may fear that, like Pandora’s box, once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this you need to become mindful and learn how to stay connected to your moment-to-moment emotional experience. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating.

8 steps to mindful eating

This ancient practice can transform the way you think about food and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Like most of us, you’ve probably eaten something in the past few hours. And, like many of us, you may not be able to recall everything you ate, let alone the sensation of eating it. Because we’re working, driving, reading, watching television, or fiddling with an electronic device, we’re not fully aware of what we’re eating.

By truly paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge in foods like a cheeseburger and fries less often. In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it. In the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, Dr. Lillian Cheung and her co-author, Buddhist spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh, suggest several practices that can help you get there, including those listed below.

1. Begin with your shopping list. Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your cart in the produce section and avoid the center aisles—which are heavy with processed foods—and the chips and candy at the check-out counter.

2. Come to the table with an appetite—but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.

3. Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.

4. Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.

5. Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.

6. Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.

7. Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.

8. Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/diet-weight-loss/emotional-eating.htm

Parenting column: 3-step plan will cure picky eaters

Well, as they say, better late than never. Two columns ago, I promised to share my “fail-safe, money-back guaranteed formula for getting kids to eat everything on their plates.” Then, as if I was in my 60s or something, I forgot and wrote a column about kids who argue constantly with their parents. Consider this my mea culpa or, as the young say, “My bad.”
Yes, it is possible to get kids to eat everything on their plates — spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, you name it. Why, in the American Southeast, it is common for toddlers to eat livermush. Compared to livermush, broccoli is like ice cream (to me, anyway). Nonetheless, a kid who scarfs down livermush will refuse broccoli.
Why do so many of today’s kids have picky palates? Some people with capital letters after their names say it’s because their taste buds send weird signals to their brains when they eat certain foods. That explanation cannot be verified; therefore, it is a theory, and a bad one at that. So what if something initially tastes weird? When I was a kid, I thought spinach tasted weird. I ate it anyway and learned to love it. My parents didn’t give me a choice. That’s the real reason kids have picky palates — parents give choices.
Since the parenting revolution of the 1960s, experts have been encouraging parents to give children choices. And so today’s parents complain about children who argue with them about “everything.” They also complain that their kids won’t eat what’s put on their plates. “My child won’t eat anything but (some form of junk food).” Here’s the simple, tested, certified, three-step plan:
1. Fix the picky eater what you want him to eat for breakfast and lunch. If he does not eat it, wrap it or toss it. Do not allow him to snack between meals, even if he’s eaten nothing all day. You have to stop wanting him to eat. He will live, I assure you. My lawyer said I could tell you that.
2. Prepare the evening meal with no consideration of said picky eater’s food preferences. On his plate, put one level teaspoon of each food, as in one teaspoon of roast beef, one teaspoon of mashed potatoes with a few drops of gravy (“He loves mashed potatoes and gravy!”) and one teaspoon of broccoli. The rule then becomes: When the child has eaten everything on his plate, he may have seconds of anything, and the second helping of whatever — in this case, mashed potatoes and gravy — can be as large as his eyes are big.
3. It will take a week or so and much complaining and maybe even pitiful wailing in the interim, but he will eventually begin eating the green, weird-tasting thing. At that point, begin slowly increasing the portion size of the green thing, but do not increase the portion of the thing(s) he loves. Keep them at one teaspoon. Within a month, he will be eating a regular-size portion of foods his palate would not accept previously, upon which you can begin increasing the portion size of things he loves but not past the point where he can eat his favorite things and not be hungry.
Voila! The key to the success of this fail-safe formula — the variable that makes it fail-safe — is that the child’s parents do not sit at the table encouraging him to “just try” the food he hates. They must act completely nonchalant. If need be, they can feed him and then sit down to a pleasant meal. What a concept!

Parenting column: 3-step plan will cure picky eaters

Eating Disorders in Children and Teens

Eating disorders can cause serious health problems for children and teens. Here is what to watch for.
By

WebMD Feature

Eating disorders in children and teens cause serious changes in eating
habits that can lead to major, even life threatening health problems. The three
main types of eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia, a condition in which a child refuses to eat adequate
    calories out of an intense and irrational fear of becoming fat
  • Bulimia, a condition in which a child grossly overeats (binging) and
    then purges the food by vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain
  • Binge eating, a condition in which a child may gorge rapidly on
    food, but without purging

In children and teens, eating disorders can overlap. For example, some
children alternate between periods of anorexia and bulimia.

Eating disorders typically develop during adolescence or early adulthood.
However, they can start in childhood, too. Females are much more vulnerable.
Only an estimated 5% to 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male. With
binge eating, the number rises to 35% male.

What causes eating disorders?

Doctors aren’t certain what cause eating disorders. They suspect a
combination of biological, behavioral, and social factors. For instance, young
people may be influenced by cultural images that favor bodies too underweight
to be healthy. Also, many children and teens with eating disorders struggle
with one or more of the following problems:

  • distress
  • fear of becoming overweight
  • feelings of helplessness
  • low self-esteem

To cope with these issues, children and teens may adopt harmful eating
habits. In fact, eating disorders often go hand-in-hand with other psychiatric
problems such as the following:

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • substance abuse

The dangers of eating disorders

Eating disorders in children and teens can lead to a host of serious
physical problems and even death. If you spot any of the signs of the eating
disorders listed below, call your child’s doctor right away. Eating disorders
are not overcome through sheer willpower. Your child will need treatment to
help restore normal weight and eating habits. Treatment also addresses
underlying psychological issues. Remember that the best results occur when
eating disorders are treated at the earliest stages.

Anorexia in children and teens

Children and teens with anorexia have a distorted body image. People with
anorexia view themselves as heavy, even when they are dangerously skinny. They
are obsessed with being thin and refuse to maintain even a minimally normal
weight.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly one out of
every 25 girls and women will have anorexia in their lifetime. Most will deny
that they have an eating disorder.

Symptoms of anorexia include:

  • anxiety, depression, perfectionism, or being highly self-critical
  • dieting even when one is thin or emaciated
  • excessive or compulsive exercising
  • intense fear of becoming fat, even though one is underweight
  • menstruation that becomes infrequent or stops
  • rapid weight loss, which the person may try to conceal with loose
    clothing
  • strange eating habits, such as avoiding meals, eating in secret, monitoring
    every bite of food, or eating only certain foods in small amounts
  • unusual interest in food
Get more helpful info on this disorder via children.webmd.com

Ron Huxley’s remarks: Eating disorders are very difficult things to treat, in my experience, as they tend to be so self-reinforcing and have such strong social reactions. This blog post by WebMd is an excellent overview. What it doesn’t address is the feeling of “control” it gives individuals who feel so out of control in life. One’s body can be one area that no one can tell you how to live or act. Finding a substitute that allows for control in a less dangerous way is very important. Ongoing treatment with a specialist and group therapies are also beneficial. How have you dealt with eating disorders with your child? Share!

Fun Ideas for Picky Eaters

Toddler’s can be the most finicky little people when it comes to just about anything; especially when it comes to eating! Parent’s are always trying to find fun, innovative ways of introducing new foods to the family menu. In this article I will be providing a few fun tips for letting your kids be the kitchen “Sous Chef” so to speak.

I’ve found that introducing new vegetables, colors and just about anything that doesn’t resemble a piece of chicken or slice of pizza is the most difficult task when trying to get my toddler to eat new things. A new game we’ve started together is—

The Calendar/Alphabet Game
Make a large calendar for the month and for each day have your children write a different letter of the alphabet on the calendar. For example, Monday “B”, Tuesday “M” etc … On Monday you and your children choose a new fruit, vegetable, dairy or grain that starts with the letter “B” to incorporate in the meals and snacks for that day. There is no limit to the many ways that the new foods can be added either. If you choose Broccoli for the new vegetable, liven it up a bit … have it as a snack, cold with their favorite dip or chopped up in a homemade cheese omelette for breakfast. Our favorite so far is “Y”, we made the best mixed fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt parfait with granola for dessert which followed our Yellow Squash Lasagna. It is very important to have your children involved in the prep work for each of the meals/snacks. It gives them a chance to connect with the food and learn to be creative. They’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when they finally sit down to enjoy the food that they never thought that would!

I’m a stay at home mom so my kids are almost always at home with me. to break the ongoing cabin fever that plagues young kids I try to implement atmosphere changes as frequently as possible, which leads me to my next tip—

The Color Wheel Picnic
This can be done as often as your schedule allows and it really is a lot of fun! On the same calendar that you use for the calendar game, put a star on a few days a month that you’d like to have a picnic, whether it is at the neighborhood park, your backyard, or in your family room on a rainy day.

Now have your child pick their three to five favorite colors for that day. Write down the colors and together go into your refrigerator and/or pantry. Find fruits, snacks, fresh vegetables, cheese/dairy and whole grains that match those colors and pack them into your picnic basket, have fun with your kids sampling all of the fun and colorful foods. Remember to bring a camera to document all of the colors that you’ve created with the food and take pictures to pin to your calendar so that you can remember just how yummy it all was!Along with creating fun and healthy meals with your kids, getting in enough physical activity is essential to their growth and what better way to connect eating healthy with staying fit. My next tip shows you how to help your toddler burn off some energy while getting your daily exercise in as well. I recommend spending at least thirty to forty-five minutes per day of physical activity—The Final Countdown
Who doesn’t know the saying “no pain no gain”? Well, who says you can’t have fun too? Countdown consists of combining a little math with a little exercise. Before starting remember, stretching is always important so do a few minutes of leg and body stretches with your children. Now, choose a number from one to five, for instance your child chooses the number “four”.. start off with doing four sets of four sit ups together. Remember to have them count along with you that would have been a total of 16 sit ups. When finished have them choose another number, “five” now do five sets of five jumping jacks, twenty-five in all. Once you’ve finished all numbers one to five reward yourselves with a nice cold smoothie or your favorite treat!These are just a few, fun, nutritious, and healthy tips to share with your children. Keep an eye out for more fun topics to come very soon!

Via http://www.divinecaroline.com/22107/118457-fun-ideas-expanding-toddler-s-menu/2#ixzz1YmdjP5uW