Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

3 practical tips for starting your week right after a weekend of indulgence

Another Monday has rolled around and you may be thinking its time to get back to healthy eating after a weekend of indulgence. I don’t know about you guys, but there is an awful lot of celebrating in October, and now September for that matter (thank you children). So, I thought it might be helpful to start off your week with some practical, healthy eating strategies to get your healthy eating back on track.

For me and my clients, practicality is key. You can have all the wonderful knowledge in the world as a dietitian, but if the advice isn’t practical or able to be applied relatively easily and without too much fuss, it’s not super helpful.

Here are my 3 PRACTICAL TIPS for starting your week right after a weekend of indulgence:

1. Emotional and Physical Hunger – Knowing the Signs:

We all emotionally eat. It’s normal and very common. However, in saying this, we don’t want emotional eating to dictate our day or week. Rather, we want physical hunger – you know – the grumbling of our tummy – to be the main driver for why we need to eat and why we do eat. To help encourage us to listen to our physical hunger, as opposed to emotional hunger, we can try checking in with ourselves. A bit of mindfulness (or being in the present moment). Ask yourself before eating something, regardless of whether it’s a healthy option, or not so healthy option, how physically hungry you are right now? Try and rate it on a scale, whereby Level 0 (very hungry = starving) to Level 10 (stuffed or full). Where are you on the scale? If you are not towards the lower end of the scale (say levels 0-4), try having a glass of water and re-checking in again in half an hour’s time. You want to be listening to your physical signs of hunger. Physical hunger signs can present differently for everybody. As a guide, physical hunger might be a grumbling tummy, feeling like you’re lacking energy, a headache, grumpiness (?hangry), shakiness or feeling weak. Often, we confuse physical and emotional hunger. It can be really helpful to start recognising these two types of hunger, their differences and the role hunger plays in our day to day lives.

NOTE: Emotional and physical hunger is often a really challenging topic for people to grasp… particularly for those who have had years of yo-yo dieting, food restriction, bingeing or overeating or a poor relationship with food and their body. You are likely to need help from a dietitian and psychologist to better understand the complexities of eating and types of hunger. 

2. No Time Like the Present:

Often, we might catch ourselves saying, “oh I’ll start being healthy next week or on Friday or before I go to Europe in July.” But in actual fact, we really need to start at the next meal or eating opportunity that day. By delaying it, we are not doing ourselves any favours. In fact, we are making it a lot harder in the long run. So, next time you catch yourself saying, “I’ll start eating better on Monday” try and start at the next meal, say at breakfast the next morning. It might mean that rather than getting eggs and bacon out for breakfast, you opt for eggs and some veggies instead – think mushrooms, grilled tomato or spinach. Or maybe it means using a smaller plate at dinner and only plating up half the pasta because you know you will be going back for seconds, regardless of checking in with how full you are feeling.

3. Making the Most of an Unhealthy (Yet Bloody Delicious) Meal:

We also forget that we can make healthier choices within an unhealthy meal scenario. For example, yep – Friday night. You know it’s going to be pizza or burgers with friends, so what can you do to not go completely off the rails? It sounds simple, but often we forget about these options: 1) Opt for a delicious burger, but get a small serving of chips, or better yet, choose sweet potato chips or no chips. 2) Think of a healthier side to have with your fish n chips. Try adding some salad with a piece of flake or choose grilled flake and have some chips. 3) Or, if you just know that IT IS a burger and chips kind of night, try and include some extra movement or exercise that day or earlier in the week. ALL of these little additions / subtractions make a difference, so don’t discount the small stuff.

Emma Caldwell
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Fitwise Physiotherapy
Consulting at our Armadale and East Melbourne rooms

If you’d like to make a booking with Emma, please click here – Alternatively, you can also call our friendly team on 9822 4999 (Armadale) or 9486 0512 (East Melbourne), or email us on [email protected]

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