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4 Quick Fixes to Tame Emotional Eating

Written on September 18, 2012 at 10:02 am , by

Stressed? Put down the pint and call a pal. (Photo by Stephanie Russer)

Even health pros struggle with making smart diet choices all the time. FITNESS advisory board member Pam Peeke, MD, admits that she “turned to food for comfort” after a family illness when she was a teen. “Bridge Mix was my ‘crack’ and seemed to numb my pain,” she says.

Peeke learned to avoid her trigger foods, and says that we can all learn to bypass temptation or emotional eating by doing the same. According to Peeke, it’s sometimes necessary to “reclaim your hijacked reward system in your brain” to conquer this issue (for example, going for a walk rather than scooping up a bowl of ice cream when you are stressing out about your upcoming performance review).

Easier said than done, though. So we asked Peeke to share tips from her new book The Hunger Fix, on sale today, for some examples of how to overcome life’s most stressful situations and still be able to slide into our skinny jeans afterward.

Struggling with a work deadline…

  • False fix: Staying up too late, using caffeine as a crutch, stress eating
  • Healthy fix: Eating nutritious foods every three to four hours, sipping green tea, standing up every 30 minutes to stretch

Traveling on business…

  • False fix: Skipping meals, raiding the mini bar, leaving exercise routine at home
  • Healthy fix: Packing smart snacks (nuts, fruit, peanut butter on a whole-wheat pita), setting a curfew at 11 p.m., using the hotel gym

Fighting with significant other…

  • False fix: Hiding out while watching TV marathons, overindulging in wine, ice cream or a favorite treat
  • Healthy fix: Talking out the issue with your partner, calling a friend for advice, taking a breather during a walk

Dealing with a sick family member…

  • False fix: Eating mindlessly, losing sleep
  • Healthy fix: Walking, stretching and meditating when possible, taking naps

From The Hunger Fix by Dr. Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP with Mariska van Aalst. Copyright 2012 by Pam Peeke. By arrangement with Rodale, Inc., Emmaus PA 18098.

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