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Take the following: Are You an Emotional Eater Quiz.

1. Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
2. Do you eat or continue eating even if the food doesn’t taste good?
3. Do you eat when you can’t think of anything else to do?
4. Do you eat after an argument or stressful situation to calm yourself down?
5. Do you eat to reward yourself?
6. Do you keep eating even after you’re full?

Each “yes” indicates that you’re eating in response to your feelings. In other words, the primary reason you’re eating is because of your emotions. The key to getting emotional eating under control is awareness. Before you take a bite, ask yourself: “What am I feeling?” Let yourself feel the feeling for five minutes without eating. Then figure out something else you can do to help relieve it instead of putting yet another bite in your mouth.

 

Visit Doris at www.doriswildhelmering.com.
Check out her middle grade book as well as her parent and teacher guide.

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Do you realize that your thoughts determine how you behave? If you learn to harness and control your thoughts, you’ll change your behavior. You can change what, when, where, how often and how much you eat, and you will lose weight. And it all starts with harnessing your thoughts. In other words, it’s mind over matter.

One thing you can do is to become an “Impartial Observer” of yourself.

Every time you start to put something in your mouth say, “I am aware.” For example,
I’m aware that I’m eating the rest of my son’s peanut butter sandwich.
I’m aware that I’m going to the freezer for my third bowl of ice cream.
I’m aware that I’m walking down the hall to buy a candy bar from the vending machine.

Becoming aware of your eating is one of the most important ways to stop overeating and get into control of your weight.

Another way to change your brain is to change the way the way you talk to yourself in your head.
For example, instead of saying, “I can’t lose weight. Say I won’t lose weight.” If you say I can’t, you’re putting yourself in a victim position. And you’ll definitely feel helpless to do anything about your weight. If you say I won’t lose weight, you’re now in control. You’re in the driver’s seat. You’re making the decision and at any point you can decide to start working out, watch your food intake and lose weight.

Another change you can make — don’t say, “I’m fat” or “I’m so overweight.” Because if you do, you are defining yourself as a fat person. Say instead, “I carry too much weight on my body.” Now you’ve distanced yourself from your weight. You’ve put it out there and you can do something about it.

Another neuro-linguistic, mind-over-matter technique is to use picture words when you talk to yourself. Instead of saying, “I’m going to be careful at lunch today”, say instead, “I’m going to order a salad with grilled chicken strips. I’ll have the dressing on the side. And I’ll order an espresso for my dessert”.

By using picture words, you can see that lunch sitting there on the table. Right?

Or instead of saying “I’m going to exercise today”, say instead, “I’m going to put on my red tennis shoes, walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and listen to some rock n’ roll”. Now you’ve painted a picture in your head, you can see yourself on the treadmill listening to the radio. And because of this picture, you’re more likely to follow through and do it.

Mental pictures trigger electrochemical changes in your brain that turn your thoughts into action.

Visit Doris at www.doriswildhelmering.com.
Check out her middle grade book as well as her parent and teacher guide.

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Develop some food-free zones such as no eating in the car, or in front of the television. Having food-free zones gets you to think about where you’re eating. This is another way to use your brain and not get into mindless eating.

Use Aromatherapy.
We know odors affect appetite. Strong sweet smells, such as chocolate, trigger feelings of hunger. Whereas neutral sweet smells — such as bananas, green apples, vanilla, and peppermint help curb appetite. Scientists believe that scents may fool the brain into believing that you’ve eaten more than you have.

So keep a vanilla scented candle on your desk and take a deep whiff several times a day. Or if that seems a little weird, or you’re afraid of what your co-workers will think, because you’re always sniffing a vanilla candle, drink vanilla or green apple tea.
I’ve gotten in the habit of finishing my meals with a small peppermint candy. That little trick signals to my brain, “Eating is over Doris.”

Use Visualization.
Visualize yourself sipping water from a water bottle throughout the day. See yourself jogging in the park or lifting some hand weights in your bedroom or running up a flight of stairs.

See yourself with a group of your friends at a restaurant and holding up your hand and telling the server “No thank you,” when he goes to put the bread basket on the table.

Athletes visualize a perfect golf swing or a perfect dive into the pool as a way to prime themselves before competition. You can prime yourself in your mind’s eye so you don’t overeat or eat the wrong things.

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Changing the way you talk to yourself in your head will change your weight.

Change your brain with the use of neuro-linguistic programming.

Instead of saying to yourself, “I can’t lose weight” say, “I won’t lose weight.” When you say, I can’t you make yourself a victim. When you say, I won’t you put yourself in charge. Once you believe and feel that you’re in charge of your weight, you’re more likely to jump on the weight-loss wagon and do something about your weight.

Too hard to believe? Try it.

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When you take responsibility, you take control in the weight loss game!
What excuses are you using for those extra pounds you carry?
“My whole family is overweight” says Maggie. “What can you expect.”
“My mother always rewarded me with food so now I reward myself with food” pipes up Pete.
“I just can’t stop eating, laments Delores, even though I feel like I’m going to pop.”
“My life is miserable,” says Joan. “Why should I deprive myself of food? I need something to make me happy.”
And now we can blame the food industry for helping us pile it on.

The real problem with blaming others for your extra weight is that it actually sets in motion a belief that you can’t do anything about your weight. If you take responsibility for your weight, however, and say, “I’m overweight because I eat too much,” you shift to an internal focus of control and the belief that at any minute you could take control of your eating and your weight.

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Embrace resiliency, amplify your strengths – believe in yourself and lose weight.
If watching your weight and keeping to an exercise regimen seems a drag, try switching your frame of reference. View weight watching and exercise as a privilege. See it as a way to build stamina, character and resiliency. Dr. Paul Pearsall, neuropsychologist and author of the “Beethoven Factor” refers to adversity as “stress-related-growth.” Dr. Suzanne Segerstrom, professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky says “a persistent attitude is as good as a positive one.”

What happens when you lose weight? You feel great about yourself. You walk differently. You hold your body differently. You convey to the world, “I like myself.” And you do. You feel good and accomplished. And when other challenges come into your life, you may not like them, but you know you have the grit, the stamina, the hardiness to deal with them.

Think about yourself when you get off the treadmill, finish doing your last set of reps or laps in the pool, you have a renewed sense of self. A belief that you’re strong and tough and can handle anything down the road.

Resiliency is like a muscle: You have to challenge it to make it stronger. Resilient people aren’t necessarily braver or stronger than others, but they have learned to move beyond themselves, to grab the baton of responsibility and run with it. In doing so, they erase their weaknesses and amplify their strengths.

So whistle while you work out. Take a bow when you pass up a fatty food. Tell yourself, “Look at me, I am strong, I choose to be active the whole day long.” As positive psychology points out, “Don’t languish, flourish. Don’t merely survive, thrive. Be satisfied with the past, be happy with the present, and be optimistic about the future.”

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When your mate is overweight, best keep your mouth shut if you hope to have a good relationship.
Is your mate overweight? Do you try to monitor what your husband or wife eats? If so, you’re probably caught in a not-so-nice power struggle.

A woman told me that she had bought a chocolate cake but needed to hide it so her husband wouldn’t eat it. As she’s talking I’m thinking, “The guy’s almost 50. He should be the master of his food intake. Her telling him what to eat is not going to make him a happy camper. He’s going to resent it. She’s putting herself in the bad guy category because when she directs her husband what to eat and not eat, he feels resentful.”

When given this kind of feedback many women respond, “Yes, but I don’t want him dying on me because he has clogged arteries and is overweight.” What I say: “I doubt if your harping is going to keep your husband alive. Besides, you’re not with him every waking hour. If he wants to eat or overeat, he will. He’ll just do it behind your back. In policing one’s mate, you become the nag while your mate becomes the sneak. Ridiculous!”

If your husband is overweight or has a health problem and should not be eating certain foods, it’s up to him to restrict his diet. The best way you can help is to have healthy food in the house and provide a good example by eating healthily yourself.

Here’s another frequent weight issue. A woman’s angry because her husband wants her to lose weight. She’s put on 60 pounds in the last four years and he no longer finds her attractive. She is angry and asks if it’s fair for him to expect that she lose weight.

Gaining or losing weight has nothing to do with fairness. If your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse finds you unattractive because of the extra pounds, and you want to be attractive to him or her, then it’s important to lose the weight.

What about the father who’s unhappy with his teenage daughter about her weight? He should stay away from the weight issue except to provide good role modeling by eating healthily. Teenagers who are overweight are painfully aware of the fact. Comments such as, “I thought you were watching your weight,” or “You’d really be beautiful if only …” do not serve parent or child. You also don’t want to chip away at the already fluctuating self-esteem that many overweight teenagers have. Instead focus on your child’s attributes and decide to look beyond her weight.

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