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Can mindfulness cure stress eating?

It’s a fact we turn to food for comfort — consciously or unconsciously — whether we’re facing a difficult problem, stress or even when we’re feeling bored.

According to Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Lillian Nejad, stress or emotional eating is quite common and happens more often than we might think. Dr. Lillian tells HealthMinute, “Rarely our reason for eating is to due hunger with emotional eating being one of the most common factors of why we actually eat.”

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Dr. Lillian adds, “One of the best tools to combat emotional eating is using mindfulness. Mindful techniques help us become aware of the urge to eat, what feelings we’re having in the moment of emotional eating and then decide if this is a choice we want to make.”

Some of the mindful practices that can help you get there:

  • Start with your shopping list. Evaluate the nutritional value of every item you’re adding to your list and stick to it. Try to avoid impulse purchases when you’re shopping. Aim to fill most of your trolley in the fresh produce section and avoid the center aisles with processed foods such as chips or confectionary.
  • Come to meal time with an appetite—but not when you’re starving. If you tend to skip meals, you may be so hungry to get anything in your stomach that your priority is satisfying the hunger instead of enjoying your meal.
  • Appreciate your food. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to spices, texture, or aroma. As you chew your food, try to identify all the ingredients, especially the seasonings in the dish.

By genuinely paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge in foods with unnecessary calories less often. In essence, mindful eating means being more aware of our food—as we buy, prepare, serve, and eat it.

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