Tips to avoid emotional overeating

For many people, emotions can trigger overeating, and food becomes a crutch when they're bored, tired, anxious or stressed. TOPS Club (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) recognizes the temptation of emotional overeating and the health problems caused by it. This is particularly timely in April, Emotional Overeating Awareness Month. With support and education from TOPS, weight-loss warriors can take steps to control those emotional cravings."Eating gave me comfort. Fast-food chicken was my favorite quick fix for emotions," says Teena Conrad. At one point, she defined herself as an "emotional binge-eater," but now she says, "I am a former compulsive binge-eater. I now choose to get healthy and see my grandkids grow up." Here are a few guidelines to help avoid emotional overeating: •Prevention works. Don't bring high-calorie foods home from the grocery store. •Routine helps build good habits. Try to eat at the same time every day and stick to the basic food groups. Fill up on whole grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as low-fat dairy products and lean meats. •Notice what's happening emotionally within yourself. Learn to recognize if your hunger is real. •Monitor food intake for several days, writing down when, where, how much, and why food is eaten. Recognize negative triggers that prompt overeating. •Before giving in to emotional overeating, hit the personal pause button. Take a walk or call a friend. •Plan for healthy snacks between meals. Keep fresh fruit and pretzels available and skip the chips.

TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe. Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, visit www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

********** Published: April 10, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 51