Emotional Eating – What is it and how can I get a handle on it?

Picture this: You hit the snooze button one too many times, had a last-minute project thrown at you at work, and then sat in an hour of evening traffic.

Finally home, you breathe a sigh of relief, head into the kitchen, and decide you deserve a snack after the day you’ve had. Maybe you reach for a few crackers, then a bit of chocolate. Before you know it, you’ve munched your way through the entire kitchen without eating a proper meal. You’re stuffed, ashamed, and wondering WHAT THE HECK just happened?!

Sound familiar?

It’s called emotional eating, and in a nutshell, it is eating for any other reason besides actual physical hunger, fuel, or nourishment.

3 Trademarks of Emotional Eating

  • Binging – usually on high-sugar and carb-rich comfort foods (i.e. junk food). How many people do you know who reach for avocado and apples when they’re upset?
  • Mindlessly eating – you’re not aware of what or how much you’re eating or how those foods are making your body feel.
  • Eating to numb, soothe, please, relax, or reward self, i.e. “I had a bad day and deserve it” kind of thinking. Eating during these times provides temporary relief, but often leaves you feeling worse than where you started!

I know I have personally done all of these! I’d get home from a long day and feel drained so I’d just grab something until I made dinner later. Then never made dinner because I just ate a crap ton of just whatever. Or on more than one occasion saying “umm, how did this whole bag of chips disappear?”

The trouble with emotional eating is it overrides your body’s natural hunger cycle and can promote things like:

  • weight gain
  • an increase in your risk for inflammation and chronic disease
  • create an unhealthy relationship between you and food
  • lead to more danger types of disordered eating

What Triggers Emotional Eating?

Even though it’s called “emotional eating” because people often reach for food to cope with their feelings, there are a lot of other non-hunger reasons that can prompt you to eat.

Some of those reasons include:

  • Uncomfortable emotions, like anger, guilt, fear, and sadness
  • Stress (biggest culprit)
  • Boredom
  • Need to feel pleasure and/or comfort

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Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes? Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism, and weight loss. This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it. So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts.

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food. And for good reason! No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton. I mean actual whole “eggs”.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses. Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin. Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And…nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases. One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized. It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast. (more…)

Walking For Fitness – Is It Really Enough?

Walking often gets a bad rap when it comes to fitness. A lot of fitness pros may even scoff at the idea of a walk being a “true” workout. You may even find yourself feeling like a bit of a slacker on the days you choose to walk rather than run or do a higher intensity workout.

But many experts do agree that not only does walking yield a ton of health benefits, it also improves your overall fitness too. So, before you go ditching those comfy walking shoes, let’s learn how the experts are weighing in on the link between walking and better fitness.

Walking & aerobic fitness

When it comes to improving your heart health, look no further than a brisk walk around the block.

In fact, one study showed that walking briskly for only 30 minutes a day can significantly improve V02 max – this is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise.

In addition to improving aerobic fitness, walking has also been shown to reduce risk factors linked to cardiovascular disease. Reduced blood pressure, BMI, waist circumference and overall body fat were among some of the benefits to adopting a regular walking routine.

Short on time? You can still reap the cardiovascular benefits of walking by performing 3 bouts of 10-minute intervals. Basically, every little bit counts, so keep that body in motion whenever you can!

Walking for strength gains & strong bones

While walking certainly isn’t going to give you the shredded muscular physique of a bodybuilder, it still packs a big punch when it comes to maintaining your muscle mass.

One study looked at the benefits of walking amongst older adults and its impact on muscle mass.

Researchers found that those who performed higher amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity (such as walking) significantly reduced their risk of sarcopenia — a condition defined as the loss of muscle mass and function (muscle wasting or “frailty syndrome”), commonly seen in older adults.

There’s also evidence that walking can keep your bones strong too. Because walking is a weight bearing activity, it helps maintain bone density and strength. (more…)

What Does ‘Organic’ Really Mean?

This word seems to be on many people’s lips these days, but with it comes great burden and so much confusion!

So, let’s start with a basic definition…

Organic produce (and other ingredients) are grown without the use of:

  • Pesticides
  • Synthetic fertilizers
  • Sewage sludge
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and/or using bio-engineering technology

Also, animals that produce meat/poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

When it comes to bath, body & cleaning products and cosmetics labeled as ‘organic’, this refers to the product itself, as well as how the ingredients were grown, produced and/or processed to create the product.

Organic food & food products with ‘organic’ on the label

The demand for organic food, specifically produce, has skyrocketed over the past two decades, with the growing concern over our exposure to pesticides driving the buying and consumption of organic foods.

Research and several experts have validated the idea that if you want to reduce your exposure to chemical residues (such as pesticides), the best way to do that is to choose more organic products in your health routine. (more…)

Meal Prep: The Shortcuts You Need to Know

A big part of feeling successful in your healthy eating regime is planning and preparing your meals ahead of time — so you’re not tempted to just stop at the fast food drive-thru on your way home from work!

So, why not bring back the tradition of good ‘ol home cookin’ and start eating healthier, more nutrient-dense meals… at home?

I know you are saying “Heidi it’s way too time-consuming to cook all meals from scratch.” However, if you plan in advance AND do at least some of the meal prep ahead of time, healthier home-cooking habits can be established far more easily than you think!

It really doesn’t matter what type of diet you follow either – whether it’s vegan, gluten-free, keto or diabetic-friendly. Nor does the size of your kitchen need to limit you – just a few basic pieces of cooking equipment is all you need to get started.

Believe me I know you’re busy, busy, busy and time really can feel like a luxury these days. So, I’ve chopped, diced, and puréed everything you need to know about MEAL PREP, including all the best shortcuts.

What is meal prep?

Meal prep does involve planning ahead and preparing your meals in advance. Basically, you’re cooking complete or near complete meals in advance so all you have to do is reheat them at meal time. This generally works best for lunch & dinner, but I’ll show you how to do it for breakfast too.

However, the prep part can’t really happen until your meal planning is done first. This can be hard for some so keep a running list of meals as ideas pop in your head during the week. Then during the meal planning process, you need to decide what meals you’re going to prepare, make a grocery shopping list, and then buy all the ingredients. Then you get to prepping! (more…)