Every one responds to the body’s signal to eat, in their own unique way. For some, this may involve a relaxed meal, enjoying every mouthful; others eat just because they have too. Food is also a way of reacting to emotions. Many people unknowingly either reduce their intake drastically, while others consume comfort foods that are usually loaded with sugar, fat or salt.

So if you’re stressed out, upset or happy and find yourself over-eating, here’s what you can do to curb your craving:

1. Avoid shopping for comfort foods! If you are a sweet lover, avoid buying or storing sweets at home so you are not tempted to eat it whenever you crave it.

2. Keep away from the kitchen: Avoid heading for the fridge or cabinet when stressed or bored. Instead, distract yourself by talking to a friend on the phone, participating in your children’s activities, visiting a neighbour, or walking outdoors or in shopping malls.

3. Differentiate between emotional craving and biological hunger: Is it really hunger that you are feeling? If yes then prepare a healthy meal or go for a light snack. If your emotions are making you head for the kitchen, try to entertain yourself with other activities. A trip out of the house can do wonders.

4. Pre-plan healthy meals: Plan your meals and get them ready for your snacking urge. Replace meals that are high in calories and fat with healthy nutritious meals and snacks. Instead of snacking on desserts, crisps and cakes, have fresh fruits, low-fat yogurt, unsweetened breakfast cereals with low fat milk, or low-fat cheese on brown toast with a variety of vegetables. Seek variety as much as you can in order to avoid boredom in your main meals by mixing it up with grains, vegetables, fruits, low fat milk and dairy products and lean meat sources.

5. Stick to specific meal times: It’s great to know when you’re craving unhealthy foods – maybe at night after a long day at work or in the afternoon when you are feeling tired. At these times, have your pre-planned healthy snack instead and try as much as possible to get busy with something other than food.
   
6. Persist with your healthy diet: There is no good food or bad food, but a good diet and a bad diet. You will have some space in your diet for an occasional desert as long as you account for it in your overall daily calories. And don’t forget to enjoy and savor it!

Last but not least, have a healthy opinion of yourself and believe in your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Take a break, pamper yourself now and then. Spend some time on your own, go to a beauty parlor or work out at the gym. It’s a great way to stick to your healthy eating plan, while staying happy, relaxed and contented.

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