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Good food is the real secret behind weight loss – it contributes to 80% of your weight loss whilst exercise contributes 20%.
Eating healthy energetic food will also purify inner system and improve health thereby preventing (or reducing the chances of) diet-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.
A six-pack is made in the kitchen, not the gym.
A popular saying in the fitness community
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward.
A lot of people suffer from 'emotional eating', or 'comfort eating'. This is where you eat to distract yourself from negative feeling. You are using food to make yourself feel better and to get some real satisfaction other than the negative feeling that you're experiencing. You're not eating because you're hungry, but because you feel sad, lonely, angry, anxious or bored. Hence food becomes a quick, accessible, and easy solution to fulfilling emotional needs, rather than filling your stomach.
Are you a stress eater? Do you have any idea of how much emotional weight you are carrying?
So how do you distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger? This can be difficult, especially if you use food regularly to deal with your feelings. Though the dividing line between the two can be a little blurred, there are few noticeable signs.
Using food from time to time as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you consumed. You beat yourself for messing up and not having more willpower. Compounding the problem, you stop learning healthier ways to deal with your emotions, you have a harder and harder time controlling your weight, and you feel increasingly powerless over both food and your feelings.
Most people think emotional eating is due to lack of self-control. However, in my extensive work with eating disorders and disordered eating, I would say that is rarely the case. If emotional eating were a simple issue of discipline, we could easily find this discipline without torturing ourselves over meal plans, paying money for special diets, and constantly obsessing about who is eating what and when. And, of course, no eating disorders.
For many the negative feeling can seem overpowering - even uncontrollable. They usually know that they are suffering from it, and would look in the mirror and realise they put on more weight. All that extra weight represents all that sadness and loneliness that is bottled inside them.
If you're one of these people then comfort eating can cost you in many ways than you realise. Beyond the health-related and physical drawback such as weight gain, unhealthy body, and increased chances of illnesses, comfort eating can be financially expensive and socially damaging. Constantly munching on junk food can be detrimental on many levels. Also your mood swing can push loved ones away.
Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems. It usually makes you feel worse. It's not good for your self esteem and can undermine your self worth. Afterward, not only does the original emotional issue remain, but you also feel guilty for overeating. So what's usually your next response? You comfort eat more as you react to this new negative emotion. It's a vicious cycle.
It's time to be free of this burden and negative cycle.
Before you can break free from the cycle of food cravings and compulsive overeating you need to become aware of your problem and recognise what triggers your emotional eating. You then need to change these habits to stop it from sabotaging your happiness and positive progression. Learn to disassociate the extreme emotional value you attach to food.
Yes, food is a beautiful blessing. A great pleasure which many of us take for granted. However, it is something we need to survive. It has great nutritional value. Food is NOT a solution for our emotional problem.
When you're sad don't reach out for food. Instead unload your misery on loved ones. Seek real solution to your problem. Do something positive that removes the burden, else you'll hide and withdraw and keep on going through that old negative cycle.
Don't use food to numb your depression. Don't think you can eat away your problem. Things DO matter. YOU matter.
Allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable emotions can be scary. You may fear that, like Pandora’s box, once you open the door you won’t be able to shut it. But the truth is that when we don’t obsess over or suppress our emotions, even the most painful and difficult feelings subside relatively quickly and lose their power to control our attention. To do this you need to become mindful and learn how to stay connected to your moment-to-moment emotional experience. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating.
What’s more, your life will be richer when you open yourself up emotionally. Our feelings are a window into our interior world. They help us understand and discover our deepest desires and fears, our current frustrations, and the things that will make us happy.
I’ve often asked people what they would have to feel if they did not binge or overeat and the common answer is, "I would have nothing to look forward to". And at the end of a long and hectic day, a big bowl of ice cream can be especially effective in temporarily soothing our exhausted, hard-working selves. Why? According to many sources, eating sugars and fats releases opioids in our brains. Opioids are the active ingredients in cocaine, heroin and many other narcotics. So the calming, soothing effects you feel when you eat ice cream and BBQ potato chips are real. And breaking these habits can be like kicking a drug habit.
The solution? Find other ways to reward and soothe yourself besides food (and other self-destructive behaviors.) Will these other ways be as effective at soothing you as food? Absolutely not! The things you come up with will help somewhat. But, in order to truly give up emotional eating, you are also going to have to practice tolerating difficult feelings.
...Emotional eating is a powerful and effective way to find temporary relief from many of life’s challenges. If it didn’t work so well, no one would do it. In order to stop this cycle of emotional eating, you have to make a commitment to reach deep inside yourself to find a place of grit and strength.
Jennifer Kromberg, Clinical Psychologist
Go back to the happiest moment in your life. Go back to that one day when you thought it couldn't get any better.
Don't see food as the enemy but, likewise, don't see it as some divine experience. Whether we have a weight problem or not, many of us see food as a form of comfort or reward. The only way to get around this is to strike a balance with regard to how we eat and how we think about food.
If you do slip up by having a bar of chocolate, then don't beat yourself up about it - it most likely hasn't done irreparable damage to your diet.
On a mental level, don't make that chocolate bar an object of dread or desire - it's a snack. The more you can take the emotion out of food, the more successful your dieting will be.
Deal with the issue of discipline by reframing what you think you deserve.
A tub of ice cream may make you feel better in the short term, but it is not addressing the real issue you are trying to deal with - you need a coping strategy other than food. Linking what you eat to how you feel about yourself only reinforces negative beliefs that centre on a conditional acceptance of who you are.
Saying things such as 'I've been a good girl because I've eaten only one piece of toast for breakfast' sends the direct message that we should accept ourselves only if we are restricting our natural instincts. And this is counterproductive.
Our acceptance of who we are should be unconditional, not based on calorie intake or dress size.
It is only when this happens that we will be able to value ourselves enough to eat healthier and to lead a happier, more positive lifestyle.
Daily Mail, UK newspaper
If you don’t know how to manage your emotions in a way that doesn’t involve food, you won’t be able to control your eating habits for very long. Diets so often fail because they offer logical nutritional advice, as if the only thing keeping you from eating right is knowledge. But that kind of advice only works if you have conscious control over your eating habits. It doesn’t work when emotions hijack the process, demanding an immediate payoff with food.
Before you start your nutritional plan, keep a food diary. Record:
Do this for the next 5-7 days. You'll notice a pattern emerging.
You'll be shocked by what you think you have to what you actually have.
The food diary will help you:
Remember, the whole point of the food diary is not to freak out how much rubbish food you may be eating but to identify your pattern and triggers so you can amend any unhealthy ones which are increasing your weight and preventing you from living a better life. Once you know these triggers it'd be crazy to continue with that lifestyle or pattern.
Studies show that a journal [i.e. food diary] doesn't just aid weight loss - it turbo-charges it. When researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research followed more than 2,000 dieters who were encouraged to record meals and snacks, they found that the single best predictor of whether a participant would drop weight was whether the person kept a food diary. It trumped exercise habits, age, and body mass index. The number of pounds people lost was directly related to the number of days they wrote in their log. (It's no coincidence that Weight Watchers, one of the most successful diet programs, asks participants to track what they eat).
Good Housekeeping (magazine)
Those containing sugar (specially processed or refined sugar) and starchy carbohydrates. Avoid fried food and those high in fat, salt and/or oil.
|Meal||Snacks & drinks||Ingredients|
|White rice||Crisps||White sugar|
|White bread||Fizzy drinks (include 'diet' drinks, which contain artificial sweeteners)||Cheese (specially cheddar and blue cheese)|
|Pasta||Juice and other sugar-sweetened drinks||Potatoes|
|Deep fried and baked food (e.g. chips, burgers, pastries)||Cream-heavy or sugar-rich food (e.g. tomato soup)||Mayonnaise, salad cream, and other fatty condiment|
|Processed food (e.g. microwaved and frozen food)||Baked potato with butter and cheese or other fatty filling (e.g sour cream)|
|Red meat (e.g. beef, lamb)||Alcohol|
|Processed meat (e.g. sausage, bacon)|
Vegetables, especially green vegetables. Also drink water regularly throughout the day.
|Skinless chicken & turkey||Spinach||Berries (e.g. blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, blackberry, strawberry)|
|Oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna, trout and herring)||Cabbage||Apple|
|Whole grain bread||Broccoli||Citrus (e.g. orange, lemon, lime)|
|Whole-wheat pasta||Sweet potato||Banana|
|Lean cut meat||Cucumber||Nuts (e.g. almonds, mixed, pistachio, Brazil, cashew, walnuts)|
|Carrots||Grapes (especially red ones)|
|Beans (e.g. blackbeans, kidney, green)||Cherries|
|Sweet peppers (aka capscium)||Apricot|
If you're already eating many of these food then great. Just make sure you eat them regularly, especially the vegetables. Remember there's no limit on how much vegetables you can have.
If on the other hand you don't eat them regularly then do it! Encourage and motivate yourself by making a list of goals. Just make sure your goal is:
Stock your kitchen with good foods to keep your body healthy and you satisfied as you cut calories. Buy fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and lean meats (round or loin cuts).
Eat a bit of protein with every meal to keep hunger at bay and to help preserve muscle as you’re cutting calories. Aim to have three ounces of protein with each meal. Three ounces of protein translates into any of the following:
Eat regularly throughout the day - but keep your portion small and healthy. Have a healthy snack between meals to boost energy and stop feeling hungry. Don't go long hours without snacking as you'll end up binging due to starvation.
|Whole milk (or pasteurised milk)||Semi-skimmed, 1% fat or even skimmed milk|
|White bread||Wholemeal bread (not brown bread as it's just a coloured version of white)|
|Sugar-coated breakfast cereal||Whole grain breakfast cereal such as porridge or shredded whole grain wheat cereal with no added sugar|
|A sprinkle of sugar on your breakfast cereal||Topping of fresh or dried fruit, which counts towards one of your five a day|
|Breads made with ghee (e.g. parathas, puris, peshwari naan)||Wholemeal or grainy bread|
|Chapatis, rotis, naan bread||Chapatis without fat (e.g. no ghee or butter). Choose healthier spreads (polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat and low-fat varieties) rather than butter|
|Omlette cooked in butter||Omlette cooked in tiny amount of olive oil|
|Butter or ghee||Lower-fat, unsaturated fat spreads|
|Frying (e.g. fish, chicken, meat, etc)||Grill, boil, steam and bake|
|Vegetable cooking oil||(Extra virgin) olive oil, soya, sunflower oil. Use oil sparingly. Using non-stick cookware for deep-frying can help you to limit the use of oil when cooking curries|
|Chicken with skin||Skinless chicken grilled or roasted without fat|
|White rice||Brown (basmati) rice. Or have smaller portion (i.e. fistful) of white rice|
|White (plain) flour or chapati||Wholemeal flour or chapati|
|Fried rice||Boiled rice|
|Fatty meat (e.g. lamb breast, duck)|
|Creamy or cheesy sauces on your pasta, meat or fish dishes||Tomato- or vegetable-based sauces|
|Sugar in tea||Honey|
|Fizzy drink||100% fruit juice (with no added sugar) mixed with soda water|
|Deep-fried, thinly cut chips||Thick-cut, reduced-fat oven chips. Avoid adding extra salt. Avoid soggy batter and soggy chips as this is a sign that they have absorbed lots of fat from being cooked in oil at the incorrect temperature|
|Sandwich with mayonnaise (or salad dressings)||Sandwich with no mayo (or low-fat salad dressing)|
We all do it. But here are few healthier alternative to satisfy our craving during the night: