What factors influence our eating behaviors?

There are many factors that influence your eating behaviors. These can range from what types of foods you ate growing up to what your goals are with your nutrition.  Your work or school schedule can have a huge impact on your eating behaviors, as well as stress, friend/family influence and food likes or dislikes.  There are ways to improve your eating behaviors despite some of these influences.  Choosing foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats like nuts or avocado, and minimizing the amount of processed foods in your diet will help you to stay on a healthy track with your eating behaviors. 
The following are a few keys factors and actions to avoid if you are trying to control your overeating.

Emotional Stress: Find ways other than food to cope with emotional stress. Food should be a comfort when family and friends come together for celebrations not to deal with burdens of emotional stress, hopelessness and low self esteem. When you are sad, stressed or just pissed off at the world, go for a walk, grab a workout, call a friend, or just ask yourself before you take a bite, “will eating this solve the problem?” Probably not.

Poor progress/no progress in your weight loss program: There’s nothing like a bad weigh in, or a couple of undisciplined days away from your workouts to derail all your hard work and sacrifice and send you back to the Dark Side of Ben and Jerry’s. Do not let yourself fall into this cycle of “begin again” over and over again. Set a goal, make a plan, get the help you need and keep going until you reach your goal. You have to accept that there will be occasional setbacks. Let them go, and keep moving forward!

Overeating due to poor portion control: Measure everything you put into your mouth…EVERYTHING! Until you have a general idea of what a proper portion is do not stop using your small food scale, your measuring cup, and your measuring spoons. You have a small food scale, measuring cup and set of measuring spoons right? If not, stop everything and go buy them right now!

Overeating due to access to unhealthy food: If it is not in your house in the first place, you can’t eat it. So stop buying the garbage, stop stocking the garbage and hopefully you will stop eating the garbage. You are less likely to go out when you have a bad craving than if you only have to go to your pantry for a cookie.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.