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One of the biggest diet downfalls can be the habit of comfort eating. Many people turn to food when they've had a bad or stressful day, which can mean you end up eating things that you have otherwise been good at avoiding in your efforts to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet.
The worst thing about comfort eating is that it undoes all your hard work and once you have given in, you're more likely to do so again. Whether its cake, chocolate or ice cream, to really make the most of your healthy diet, you need to avoid comfort eating.
Keep track of what you eat and why you eat it
People will seek comfort from food for a variety of different reasons. You might be stressed, upset or just plain bored when you reach for your favourite unhealthy snack. It is important to understand why you comfort eat so that you can better combat the habit.
An easy way to achieve this is to keep track of what you are eating, when you eat and how you feel as you do. Keeping a diary can help you do this. Simply write down what you are eating and the times that you eat, as well as how you were feeling beforehand.
Doing this for a week to a month can help you to identify patterns in when you eat and your feelings before you reached for the snacks, helping you to recognise when you eat food for comfort.
Control what goes in your cupboards
Keeping a tight rein on what food you buy means that there isn't any unhealthy food in your cupboards. Not only does this mean that you won't be able to reach for the chocolate when you feel upset, it will also improve your diet overall.
Planning your meals ahead can help you to work out a healthy shopping list, ensuring that only the things you need are in your kitchen. Whenever you shop, draw up a schedule of different meals and only buy what you need to create them.
This can help you vary your diet, cut out the rubbish and also save money.
Boost your mood with food
Being careful about what you eat won't only help you to lose weight and keep your diet healthy, it can also make your mood happier. While sugary food might give you a temporary lift, this is only short-lived. This means you can end up feeling worse than before you ate it and it can also impact your health.
Instead, eating foods that are high in omega three fatty acids - found in salmon, walnuts and tuna - can keep your energy levels up and leave you feeling happier. You should also aim to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, especially if you get hungry throughout the day.
Comfort eating - or eating when you are bored - is more likely to happen if you aren't doing anything. Make a list of things that you need to or have been meaning to do and then work through it at times when you haven't got much on. This can stop you from getting bored and dwelling on negative things.
Don't feel guilty
We all need the odd treat now and then, the important thing to remember is not to deprive yourself completely. Not only are you more likely to binge if you stop having any of your favourite foods, you'll also feel more guilty when you give in.
Treat yourself every once in a while, but just go easy. Have a couple of squares of chocolate rather than a bar, or a few scoops of ice cream instead of a tub. Regulating what you eat doesn't have to be boring, you just need to remember that treats are best in moderation.