Lindsay Pietroluongo – 4 Bad Eating Triggers and How to Resist ThemAug 8th, 2013 | By Lindsay Pietroluongo | Category: Lifestyle
Admit it – you’ve never bought a bag of candy and not polished off all four servings in one sitting. Believe it or not, you do have the willpower necessary to resist tempting foods; channeling that willpower is the real problem. Here are four fast solutions to your most common “bad” eating triggers.
When you’re stressed, your glucose levels dip; your brain needs that glucose in order to make sound decisions. That’s why stress is often just a hop, skip and a jump away from inhaling a large pizza with extra cheese all by yourself.
Solution: Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a couple of minutes. If you’re into meditation, find a quiet room and meditate for five minutes. Need to unwind from a long, anxiety-producing day? Take a yoga class or pop in a yoga DVD. Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to substitute a cupcake for deep breathing – just go through the motions of relaxing and you’ll naturally forget all about your food craving.
When you’re sleep deprived, the region of your brain that helps you plan your meals becomes exhausted as well. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who sleep for four hours each night eat 500 more calories than people who get a full eight hours of sleep.
Solution: Try to sleep for seven or eight hours each night. If you know ahead of time that you just can’t sleep that much every night because you have a busy week looming, get as much sleep as you can for the first few nights.
Wait – isn’t the point of a trigger that it doesn’t help you exercise self-control? Yes…and when you’ve been “good” all day, week or month, it’s really easy to give yourself an allowance the next chance you get.
Solution: Make a plan early on. Self-control is at its strongest the first time you use it and then it slowly loses its strength each time you use it thereafter. If you know which decisions you’re going to make ahead of time, it’ll be easier to stick to them even if your resolve has slumped a bit. For example, as you’re eating a fruit salad for breakfast, plan what you’re going to order during happy hour with your friends – commit to one glass of red wine and a side salad now so that you don’t order a margarita and nachos later.
The connection between feeling cheap and eating junk is unexpected, but there’s a connection none-the-less. According to the University of Maryland in College Park, people who donated any amount of money to a charity, even just $1, were able to hold a weight for longer than those who kept the cash for themselves. People who are viewed as charitable are also assumed to have more willpower.
Solution: When you’re a do-gooder, you perceive yourself as someone who has willpower. You don’t have to donate money to charity every single time you have a desire for dessert, though. Simply doing kind deeds regularly is enough to shift your self-perception.
Lindsay Pietroluongo is a full-time freelance writer in the Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal and Chronogram magazine. Lindsay also writes business content and marketing materials for professionals. Visit Lindsay on the Rocks and Poison Apple Ink to learn more. Lindsay can be seen on Hudson Valley Insider each Thursday under the Lifestyle section.