Your emotions might get the better of you at times, especially when it comes to food. Try using the delay, distract, decide technique to find out if you’re hungry or eating for comfort.
It’s been a tough day, work’s been stressful and no matter how hard you try to see the good, it’s not happening. It’s easy to reach for some comfort food to make yourself feel better.
What sort of hunger?
Before you go in for those crisps or glass of wine, work out what sort of hunger you’re feeling. Wait, what? Not all hunger is the same? Nope. One quick difference is that physical hunger tends to come on gradually while emotional hunger comes on suddenly. You can become a master at telling the difference by reading, Hunger: friend or foe?
It’s physical hunger
If you regularly delay eating when you’re physically hungry it can cause your body to stop sending those vital cues that let you know when you need to eat and you could potentially overeat when you do start munching. If you’re physically hungry rather than trying to go too long between meals, have a balanced snack that includes carbs, protein, fat and a portion of fruit or veg. Hummus and veggie sticks, or apple slices and nut butter are some of our faves.
It’s emotional hunger
If you think what you’re feeling is more like emotional hunger, we’ve got a technique that could help.
The 3 D’s
Try the 3 D’s technique before you dive into food or drink.
Set a time limit on how long to delay for (somewhere between 5-20 minutes)
Get curious about the emotions you’re feeling. Is it sadness, boredom or stress?
While you delay, distract! Do something to help meet your emotional need like call a friend, go for a walk, or do an activity you love. Grab a pen and paper. Jotting down your thoughts, or journaling, is a great way to process how you feel.
You’ve delayed, you’ve distracted, now decide. How do you feel now? You might find the craving has passed, especially if you’ve chosen an activity that met your emotional need in another way. If not, you can always repeat the whole process again. If that craving is going nowhere, honour your emotional need and enjoy a little of what will hit the spot without any guilt or shame. Savour every mouthful, use Our guide to mindful eating.
If you ate the crisps, or drank the wine, and you’re feeling guilty remember that there’s always a new opportunity to start afresh. Just because you’ve eaten something for comfort doesn’t mean the whole day, week, month, should go the same way. Keep on practising questioning your hunger and use the delay, distract, decide technique next time you need it.