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How often do you eat when you’re not actually hungry?

We eat for many reasons, but a lot of them have nothing to do with us actually being hungry or needing food.

  • Do you pick or nibble? That’s a habit.
  • Do you eat food that is offered to you even though you don’t really want or need it? That’s an issue with feeling uncomfortable saying ‘no’.
  • Do you eat or drink after a long day or when someone has upset you to manage the way you feel? I call that ‘reactive response eating’.

Throughout your life, without even realising it, you will have picked up all sorts of habits and behaviours around food, which can be really unhelpful if you are trying to eat well and live a healthy, happy life!

Since becoming a mum there is so much that I have learnt, but I have seen how easy it can be to create ‘associations’ and form habits around eating and drinking with your kids from very early on.

One example of that is how easy it can be to use food as a form of entertainment. It is super easy to give them something to eat to keep them quiet or keep them busy and out of your hair for a while – but did they really need to eat? Or could something else have filled that time?

In the same way that your upbringing will have impacted on you, if you are a parent, what you do will have an impact on your kids, too.

I truly believe that if you are able to understand your eating and why you do what you do around food, you can end up eating a lot healthier overall and stop eating more than you need. Forget the diets, honestly – tune into your body, eat for the right reasons and get back to eating real, whole, minimally processed food.

Time to understand your eating

In Feel Good For Life I talk about four main types of eating, which in a nutshell are:

  • Fuel eating – eating because you really needed to, no emotion attached but you still enjoyed it.
     
  • Joy eating – eating something that you REALLY enjoyed before, during and after with NO guilt attached.
     
  • Habit and haze – the type of eating you do by accident, just because… habit eating and grazing.
     
  • Reactive response – you feel angry/lonely/upset/sad/mad at yourself whatever it maybe…

My goal is to help you eat mostly for fuel and joy and get rid of eating out of habit or as a reactive response.

My challenge for you…

This week, with EVERYTHING you eat or drink, I want you to fill in the food diary (click here to download) and think: Why did I eat or drink that? What TYPE of eating was it?

See the patterns, why are you eating what you do? Are you nibbling when you are making dinner? Are you having the odd choccy bar after a bad day? It is these unhelpful behaviours that lead us off course when it comes to healthy, happy eating long term. If you can see the patterns, you can change them!

Let me know how you go!

For more about creating a healthy relationship with food and managing your eating habits so you can live your healthiest, happiest life, grab yourself a copy of my books today.

Love, Claire x

Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionistManaging director of Mission Nutrition, and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist.

First published: Mar 2015
Last updated: April 3 2017
Last science review: October 10 2016



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