So many people get frustrated with their latest “cheat” or guilt trip. After hearing many stories from my clients, it started to become clear to me that there are times during the day in which we are more likely to make food decisions that don’t match our hunger levels (or even our food desires).
This “vulnerable” time may be influenced by a number of different factors: low energy levels, high stress levels, the feeling of being over worked and the need for recompensing, the feeling of deprivation after a very low calorie day, etc. If you can identify your most vulnerable time during the day and understand what influences the strength of the cravings, then you are one step close to being able to handle even the toughest of temptations.

One of the best tools for helping you to ID what emotion or situation is influencing your eating and food decisions is a food journal. Tracking not only what and how much you eat, but including information about how you are feeling (emotions like stress, sadness and boredom) or whats happening around you (getting dinner together while helping the kids do their homework, or sitting at desk working on a report that is late) can give you valuable insight as how they influence your eating. Patterns may emerge and by understanding what to do to avoid being in a potential trouble situation can make things a lot easier.

Being aware of when you are most likely to overeat, eat when you are not hungry, or make unhealthy choices can help you better prepare a counter attack. Surrounding yourself with healthier choices or giving yourself options during this time is a good first start. For example, if you tend to eat a snack the minute you walk in the door after work (even though dinner is only 30 minutes away), perhaps planning to take a walk or do the laundry rather than heading to the kitchen would help. Another solution could be to prepare a healthy snack ahead of time so you don’t have to go rummaging through the kitchen.
Sometimes ignorance is not bliss, and understanding when your vulnerable time is, can help you manage your health and cut down on emotional eating.