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Use Food to Help Manage Emotional Stress

Food can and should be a tool to help relieve emotional stress. What? How can I say that in a weight – loss book? Isn ’ t the goal to conquer stress eating? I think it is possible to manage stress eating and to be prepared for when it strikes. We all know that food is soothing, and that’s the problem with stress eating. Going overboard and losing control are where the problem lies. It’s a matter of choosing a small amount of the right kind of food that will control and soothe, without triggering overeating. This concept takes some thought.

The mental battle of not eating is often won by consuming about 100 to 200 calories of a preferred (treat) food — but not one that is a trigger. Choose a food that will satisfy, but is not too tasty to resist overeating. Terry’s Story I Like to Eat in the Evening Terry’s story was a familiar one to me—it involves one of the “old wives’ tales” of weight loss. “I can manage during the day, but I really enjoy eating in the evening and can’t seem to control it.”

She went on to say that she knew it was bad to eat after dinner, and that this was probably the sole cause of her weight struggles. While unmonitored evening eating is often a major cause of excessive calorie consumption, eating after dinner can be included, if you preplan. Terry was already doing a lot of things right. She was a structured eater and paced her breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

She included a midmorning and a late-afternoon snack. She ate dinner between six-thirty and seven and went to bed around midnight. That’s where, as she put it, “I got into trouble.” Since Terry thought it was wrong to eat after dinner, she tailored her eating to what she felt she c03. She agreed that she enjoyed evening eating, as it was a relaxing part of the day for her, and she looked forward to it. Right now, though, she could not reconcile this evening eating with effective weight loss.

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