Eating When Not HungryPosted: February 24, 2011 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
Do you find yourself snacking at night even when you are not hungry? Do you mindlessly munch on leftovers while watching TV or surfing the Internet? Do you reach for the chocolate bars if you’ve had a really bad day?
It’s easy to eat when you aren’t hungry, and doing so can lead to significant weight gain, rather than successful medical weight loss. Take control of your diet and build a healthy lifestyle by curbing binge eating, emotional eating and nighttime eating.
Binge eating occurs when you eat a lot of food in a short time. This food is typically unhealthy, and you may not even realize you’ve been binging until you’ve finished off an entire pizza – rather than just eating one slice.
Emotional eating happens when you aren’t hungry, but still find yourself eating anyway, often to calm upsetting feelings after a bad day. Emotional eating is a pretty common—many people (including your friends and family) may eat food when they are upset, angry, sad or frustrated. While the occasional indulgence is okay, consistently eating when you are not hungry to soothe your emotions will hurt your medical weight loss.
Nighttime eating is similar to binge eating. While there’s nothing wrong with a healthy snack after dinner, ‘snacking’ on chips, cookies, ice cream and leftovers is unhealthy and leads to excessive weight gain. With nighttime eating, calories can sneak up on you—one moment you’ve had a great day of healthy meals, and the next moment you’ve pigged out on pizza, chocolate or your favorite snack without even realizing it!
To stop binge eating, emotional eating and nighttime eating, take control of your diet and your feelings. Eat three well-balanced, healthy meals during the day and keep healthy snacks within reach. This way when you feel the urge to snack, you can easily grab a healthy option. Instead of cookies, have a slice of whole-wheat toast with jam. Rather than chips and candy, munch on fresh fruit or low-fat, low-salt popcorn. Substitute raw veggies for a slice of pizza, and low-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit for ice cream.
Instead of eating, remember that there are other, healthy ways to work out your feelings of sadness or frustration. Go for a walk around the block or call your best friend to talk. Take a hot bath, play with your pet or children, or listen to soothing music for an instant mood changer.
By controlling your eating, you’ll be healthier, happier and successful with your medical weight loss.