By Susan Albers, author of Eat.Q.
Emotionally intelligent eaters can make healthy food decisions even when they are emotional—stressed, anxious, bored, etc. Here are seven easy steps from my new book, Eat.Q., to get you started to becoming an emotionally intelligent eater!
1) Cool Off Cravings. Cool off cravings instantly by what I call “Reframing the Craving.” Cravings are increased by daydreaming about the taste of a particular food. When you imagine eating a chocolate bar, for example, it stimulates the brain to begin anticipating the flavor (to the point you can even begin to salivate!) Put a different slant on your tongue’s expectations. For example, think of a layer of whipped cream icing to be shaving cream. Instantly cool down cravings by changing your taste buds expectations and rerouting your anticipatory response.
2) Use Your Body. Whether you know it or not, your body can be one your best tools to help you stop being wishy-washy when you make a food decision. For example, when you say “no” to an extra dessert that you really don’t want, move your body into a “no” position (clench your fist, shake your head no, walk away). Making your intentions and body move in tandem is a way to help yourself make the decision you want to make instead of caving in. In Eat.Q., there are many strategies for boosting your impulse control around pleasurable foods.
3) Be Open Minded. What’s the key to losing weight and eating healthier in the long run? Open mindedness and flexible thinking, according to a study of people who lost weight and kept it off for long periods of time. This is also a hallmark of emotional intelligence. How can you be more open minded? Avoid phrases that close down your will to eat healthier like “always, never, can’t.” These red light words put a halt to your motivation and healthy actions.
4) Tap Into Your Memory. Eat your favorite foods last. The saying is true about “save the best for last.” In this case, the reason is that we tend to have pretty poor memories when it comes to remembering what we eat. Therefore, eating a good food last will keep it fresh in your mind—which will make you feel more satisfied during the day.
5) Make Small Tweaks. Losing weight and eating healthier doesn’t require making huge shifts. Instead, focus on little tweaks that make a big difference. Here is one of my favorite tips. Eat with your non-dominate hand. If you are right handed, eat with your left. Research indicates it reduces how much you eat by 30%. It breaks up the automatic hand to mouth flow.
6) Call Yourself On Uncreative Thinking. Why do we fall for trite statements like, “I deserve this chocolate. I’ll start my diet on Monday. I blew it anyway, so I might as well eat it.” Get savvy and smart. When you hear yourself repeating these rote statements, give yourself a mental tap on the shoulder and encourage yourself to think deeper. Give yourself one reason NOT to fall for the same old excuse—indicate what benefit you would you gain right now by eating healthier today.
This is just a brief introduction to the theory behind Eat.Q. and what you will find in the book. Most of all, I hope that Eat.Q. and emotionally intelligent eating will take you one step further on your journey to eat healthier, stop overeating, lose/manage your weight, and enjoy food again. Keep in mind that the Eat.Q. book is just the beginning. It’s the starter kit and your invitation to future emails, podcasts, downloads. My hope is that you savor Eat.Q. cover to cover!
Learn more about Eat.Q. on Susan Alber’s website, www.eatq.com.