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Everyone needs food to survive, but too many live with fear around food choices and become so completely overwhelmed with what they should or shouldn’t eat, that it’s easier for some to just pick on something light throughout the day to avoid the possible heartache.

It would be fair to say that feeling like this means food has got a strangle hold on you. Th will cause you unnecessary stress.

It’s time to take back your control. So how do you do that?

Understand Why You Eat

Firstly, you need to know the difference between hunger and habit. These two things will prompt you to eat. One is genuine (feeling hungry) and the other is becomes a huge contributing factor to weight gain – being and feeling out of control with food (habits from repetition)

The main reason you eat is to live. Right?

Without food and water, you will eventually perish.

So the secret here is mindfulness of your actions, your choice of foods or drinks, when was the last time you ate, if you are genuinely hungry and if emotion is playing a part in why you are eating.

Now it’s a fact that some people cannot gauge when they are satisfied or comfortable after food. I put this down to a habit created over time associated with an emotion of comfort action or thinking.

When a complete and sufficient meal has been eaten and you are either still receiving signals from your brain that you are hungry, or you are soon after searching for more food, it may be due to a number of triggers such as:

- negative emotions that upset you,

- high stress where your brain is on replay of a situation,

- the visual sense of missing out on something you can see, learned habits,

- or a hormonal imbalance where hormones in your endocrine system may be stimulating hunger.

Many people cannot remember what it feels like to be hungry and that’s a shame. It’s actually good to feel a little hungry while keeping your water intake high. The feeling of hunger tells you that your body has processed and digested your last meal, and you gain the skill of being in tune with your body. With food accessible all day, hunger is something that many have forgotten to experience, and this contributes to excessive stress on the body’s organs due to overeating.

When you eat, serotonin - a chemical in your brain, is increased which elevates your mood by making you feel more calm, secure, happy. This would be OK if stopped there, but because you feel so relaxed and comfortable after eating, additional treat foods that contain sugar, trans fats or are high in processed carbohydrates, are often turned to. Further, the desire to consume these treat foods can very much be due to the learned habit of snacking when relaxing.

If you have learned to eat at certain times of the day, even when you are not genuinely hungry, you could quite easily fall into the mindless habit of eating until the food is all gone. If you are busy reading, puzzling, or participating in any activity that takes your focus off the act of eating, you may find yourself feeling unsatisfied that the food has been eaten so quickly resulting in you searching for additional food to eat. Have you ever experienced finishing a meal and being surprised that your meal is finished – and you can’t remember the action of eating the food?

After a meal, hormones are released into your bloodstream to tell your brain that you are satisfied, but if your daily diet is too high in sugars, trans fats or other processed carbohydrates, other hormones being NPY and AgRP from your hypothalamus and ghrelin from your stomach, override the hormones that make you feel satisfied after a meal. Your switch to tell the brain you are satisfied, becomes broken.

Poor Food Choices May Cause You Stress

Food provides protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that equate to energy to live and the ability to grow, strengthen and repair.

It’s when your daily diet becomes unbalanced with an intake of too much refined sugar, starches, bad fats, and simple carbohydrates, that your body is put under stress.

You may feel tired, weak, or shaky; an increase in blood pressure can cause stress on your heart; excessive weight gain will cause stress on your organs, and other illnesses will arise over time.

Participating in regular exercise and drinking a sufficient amount of fresh water each day, will greatly assist with reducing all physical and emotion stress.

Eat a good variety of wholesome foods each day and aim to have two serves of foods that are high is simple sugars, fats, salts and refined carbohydrates each week. Avoid or greatly reduce alcohol consumption.

Take stress away from the equation and take back your control over when you eat and what you eat.

Plan your meals each week and refrain from eating out at restaurants or buying fast foods. They can never be as healthy as a good home prepared or cooked meal

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