Every day you decide what to eat, but you might not fully understand what triggers you to make these choices.

For example, do you eat only when you’re hungry, or do you sometimes eat because you’re bored, sad, or just saw a tempting food ad on TV?

The answer to these questions can be important — especially if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.

“One way to find out is to keep a food journal for a few days,” said Nancy Georgekutty, MD, independently practicing family medicine and weight management physician on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. “By jotting down what, when, and where you eat and how you’re feeling at the time, you might spot what drives you to overeat or choose less-than-healthy foods.”

There are several ways to avoid food temptations, Dr. Georgekutty says. She offers suggestions for three common ones.

1. Do you use food to relieve stress, loneliness, and other emotions? If you do, instead of reaching for food, try these tips:

• Get physical and head to the gym, take a walk, or weed the garden.

• Breathe deeply for five minutes.

• Sip a cup of hot tea.

• Write down what is bothering you.

2. Do you mindlessly eat unhealthy food while watching television? Try one of the following activities:

• Eat only in the kitchen or dining room and not in front of the TV.

• Don’t keep unhealthy sweet or salty snacks in the house.

• Ride a stationary bike, do crafts, brush the dog, or lift hand weights while you watch TV.

3. Do you see food and want to eat it? A few of these tips may help:

• At home, while cooking chew sugar-free gum or sip a calorie-free beverage such as water with a slice of lemon.

• Dish up plates in the kitchen instead of passing food around the table.

• At work, sit far away from doughnuts or other sugary snacks at meetings.

• Keep healthy snacks in your desk drawer to help you avoid high-calorie offerings.

• At a restaurant, ask the waiter to remove the bread or chips before the meal.

• Request a take-home box when you order and put half your meal in it before you eat.

Take steps today toward a healthier lifestyle by exercising regularly and making smart food choices that will help you tame unhealthy food temptations and lose weight.  

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Angel Biasatti serves as the director of community and public relations for Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.