One of the biggest downfalls of those trying to lose weight is giving in to cravings and self-comforting using food. Turning to food is an increasingly common response to stress and upset, but interestingly a recent study from the University of Minnesota concluded that eating ‘comfort food’ doesn’t make you feel any better. The study monitored reactions of students after watching a distressing video and revealed that they felt better regardless of whether or not they ate their favourite comfort food.
This means that there really is no reason to indulge in food when we feel low. Instead, try some of the following distraction techniques to help train your mind to not crave food when you feel stressed.
Take a nap
If time permits, taking a 30-minute nap can help promote alertness and reduce stress levels. Sometimes when we are tired we crave high-sugar foods, so having a nap should give you an energy boost without you resorting to sugary snacks.
Get your brain working
Turn off the TV and give your brain an activity to challenge it, such as Sudoku or a crossword. Getting your brain working will distract you from your craving and will promote healthy cognitive function.
Go for a walk
We all know that getting exercise is good for us, both mentally and physically – so going for a walk is a no-brainer when it comes to avoiding junk food. The exercise will help you feel less stressed and as a bonus, getting out of the house will help you avoid temptation!
Call a friend
If the reason you are craving food is because you are feeling low or depressed, you may find it helpful to speak to a friend. Not only will you feel better for having talked about it, chances are you won’t regret talking to a friend (while you’ll probably regret eating a big bar of chocolate).