Understand Your Personality Better and Conquer Your Emotional Eating

Dr Pam Spurr, self-help expert, MIW life coach and agony aunt, and author of The Emotional Eater’s Diet helps you come to grips with impulsive leading.

Who hasn’t headed for the biscuit tin when they’re upset? I know I have! But when it comes to comfort food and emotional eating some personality traits play into how much we binge on comfort food when we’re emotionally hurt or stressed-out.

In my latest book I highlight a few key traits but one in particular is impulsivity.

Most people can believe impulsive at times. But this personality trait can run from that very impulsive person – think of your friend who always jumps into things with both of her feet, always guaranteed to liven up a party but often regrets her impulsive behaviour.

At the opposite end of this trait is that very controlled person you know – she has a ‘place for everything’, is always on time and her life is run camp lately efficiently. Most of us fall somewhere between these two extremes.

Recent diet research found how impulsive you are plays a crucial part in emotional eating. So just how impulsive are you? And how does it affect you heading for comfort foods and emotionally eating?

Go on, be honest – do you recognise yourself in this list?

*Does your mouth get-in-gear before your brain and you say things without thinking?

*Do you jump into relationships with both feet and often finish them as quickly as you started them?

*Is your cupboard full of spur-the-moment purchases you look back and wonder why you bought?

*Do you fly off the handle easily?

*Do you take up new hobbies/interests and don’t stick with them?

*Have you broken up with someone and immediately regretted it?

*Do you do things like say you want to go on holiday with a friend and quickly have second thoughts?

*Do you like instant gratification and when you want something now, you get it now?

*Do you often wish you hadn’t eaten that snack you grabbed on the run and you didn’t really need?

If you recognise these types of things in yourself then you’re likely on impulse to emotionally eat when under stress, unhappy, feeling neglected or taken for granted.

Your impulsivity is all about how you respond to daily life. It may be that instead of finding a solution to issues that crop up, you find yourself having finished a family-size bag of crisps maybe without even realising it.

Regrets – you’ve had a few

Those who act impulsively often regret their actions. And if you’re prone to comfort snacking you end up feeling worse having scoffed that bar of chocolate.

That feeling of guilt or being out of control and regretting it make you feel even worse. And you might just head for another snack. Not good on any level!

Tips to use from today 

*Become aware of impulses as they build. Sometimes a person senses that certain behaviours are about to burst forth but they ignore it – don’t, think before you act.

*Take a moment to sit back and consider this building impulse. How could you handle it?

*Start facing issues with a positive belief as they arise instead of letting them build up meaning you’re more likely to burst forth with impulsive behaviour.

*Be especially aware when food shopping – don’t grab snack food and put it in your trolley.

*Pause before the checkout and look at every item in your basket – are they healthy choices? Do you need to put some back?

Developing your willpower further 

*Try the classic counting to 10 before you say something you might regret.

*Reread emails/texts/messages that contain potential issues before you send them.

*Avoid ‘automatic food pilot’ behaviour as I call it. You know, impulsive hand-to-mouth eating behaviour, by removing snack foods from your desk and out of the TV room when watching TV.

*Take up something that soothes your hands like knitting to prevent hand-to-mouth comfort eating.

Develop your patience to counter in impulsivity

*Begin by resisting opening birthday presents 1st thing on your birthday – put that off till mid morning or later.

*Try delaying your desire for instant gratification when, for instance, you’re waiting for a text/email/message and you keep checking your phone or laptop. Resist checking for 15 minutes, then 30, building to an hour.

*Develop patience when you’re expecting a delicious dessert after dinner. Leave a 20 minute gap before enjoying it.

*The same applies to snacking – have a glass of water and delay at least 30 minutes before you have one.

*Set the alarm on your phone to help train yourself to get used to these “pause-times” – where you pause before eating or acting on impulse.

Wishing you the best of luck with your emotional eating! Love from me xx 

You can buy you copy of the The Emotional Eater’s Diet here .

Dr Pam’s on twitter @drpamspurr and visit her website www.drpam.co.uk – life, love & sex advice at your fingertips