Eating habits: To lose weight, explore why you overeat

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Eating habits: To lose weight, explore why you overeat

Eating habits — Learn essential steps to understanding your eating habits and losing weight.

If you eat only when you feel hungry, chances are you'll have less trouble reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Most people are not in touch with their hunger signals, though, and instead eat in response to triggers such as stress, anxiety and boredom.

To successfully lose weight, you've got to get in touch with the powerful forces that shape your eating habits — how you think and feel about food and why you eat when you're not hungry.

Here are four steps that can help.

Step 2: Change gradually

When you've identified an eating habit that you'd like to change, remember that gradual changes work best. Consider this example. Marty works as a customer service manager for a retail department store. Her job is often stressful. She prides herself on meeting the needs of customers and sometimes finds herself juggling the needs of customers with the needs of management. When she feels overwhelmed by stress, she walks to the vending machine for a high-fat, high-calorie snack.

Marty recognized that this was one eating habit preventing her from reaching a healthy weight. She decided to start dealing with on-the-job stress by taking a brisk, 10-minute walk at break time and by eating fruit for snacks.

Like Marty, you, too, can prevent thoughts and feelings about food from standing in the way of your weight-loss program. Choose one area at a time and be specific about how you're going to change. When you feel you've successfully changed one eating habit, work on another.

Step 4: Think positively

Don't dwell on what you're giving up to reach a healthy weight. Concentrate instead on what you're gaining. Instead of thinking, "I really miss eating a doughnut at breakfast," tell yourself, "I feel a lot better when I eat oatmeal and fresh fruit in the morning."

Believe it or not, the process of making changes to your eating habits can be enjoyable and the health benefits will soon become evident.

Last Updated: 11/01/2006
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