Let’s face it. We all have those days where absolutely nothing in the world seems like it can fix our problems. I mean, c’mon we’re not perfect; we’re only human after all.
But those are unfortunately also the days we tend to look toward food to cure our problems, like it’s some kind of fix-all, magical medicine. In fact, it is not so get that out of your head now.
Food cannot fix your situation, no matter what you’re going through, and in fact can make matters worse in the end.
You may quickly loose control of yourself and end up eating everything in sight, filling up on sugary sodas, chips or even worse: picking at everything in the kitchen. A friend of mine recently admitted to me that whenever she’s stressed out or particularly moody, she just can’t stop eating. “It’s like I don’t have control….I hate it,” she said.
So, make control! With these 10 tips, you will have all the control, rather than food controlling you. Take that, extra-cheese pizza!
1. Stay Active: When angry or irritable, you may be inclined to take your aggression out on food, diving into salty tortilla chips or an entire jar of nuts. Instead, try getting up and being active. Maybe run or walk around your block, or go for a long swim. This will help calm you down and you’ll feel great after you sweat it all out!
2. Chew gum: Chewing sugar-free gum is also a great stress-soother, because sometimes it’s not the food you’re craving but rather just wanting something in your mouth to chew on. Pick your favorite flavor, and chomp all those angry feelings away! If you’re not a fan of gum, choose another go-to fix like a mint or other mini candy.
3. Go for a sweet pick-me-up: When you’re feeling blue, you may want to reach for the tub of Ben and Jerry’s but let’s face it, ice cream won’t solve your problem. Go for something a bit healthier like fresh fruit, a dab of honey or a small piece of dark chocolate to suffice your sweet craving.
4. Phone a Friend: It’s been proved that cravings don’t last very long, often no more than five minutes. So next time you think you want that bag of chips, try holding off by calling your best friend instead. Most likely, after a few minutes of talking, you’ll forget about the food completely and instead be engaged in a great, lengthy conversation with a close friend.
5. Hit the books: Try reading one of those books that has been on your shelf for years, the one you just never had the time to get around to. Well this is your time! If you want something a bit lighter, browse through your favorite magazine. Reading can really help by taking you to a different place, and taking your mind off food.
6. Grab a pen: Journaling has been said to help you relax and sort your thoughts. So, grab a pen and start writing! You don’t even have to have a point behind your writing. Just let your mind do the work, as you let yourself unwind.
7. Invest Your Time in a Hobby: Whether you like horseback-riding, mountain biking or playing the piano, investing your time in something you love will make you much happier and take your mind off of whatever’s going on. After all, fueling up on a beloved hobby is much better than fueling up on junk food.
8. Prepare go-to mini snacks: Obviously, if all you have in the house is junk food, than that’s what you’re going to eat. Rather, fill your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks that you can quickly grab. Set aside mini plastic bags filled with portioned, homemade trail-mixes, unsalted nuts, cheese with wheat crackers or grapes, or veggies and hummus. Then, when your having a break down, you can reach for one of these healthy pre-made baggies instead!
9. Breath: Yes, actually breathe. Sometimes we forget to take time for something as simple as breathing because we take it for granted. Try lying on your bed with your eyes closed, and simply taking long, deep breathes for five minutes at a time. If you want something more challenging, try practicing meditation or sign up for a yoga class.
10. Sooth Your Soul: Make a gentle herbal tea like chamomile or peppermint, which are both great for relieving stress. Or, try turning your home into a mini spa, by taking a long, hot bath and listening to soothing, quiet music. Maybe throw some candles in there for the ultimate relaxation experience.
11. Laugh it Off: Laughing sends off feel-good hormones so you’ll feel much better in minutes if you can find something to start you giggling. Watch your favorite comedy, call that hilarious friend of yours or search You Tube and the TV for great comedy bits.
12. Give in…Just a Little: If none of the above seem to work, give in to your food craving, but just a little bit. Maybe have 5 chips instead of the whole bag or a bite of that delectable brownie. But if you know you don’t have the self-control to stop when you should, I wouldn’t even mess around with temptation.