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Barriers are things that get in the way of making a change and staying with it. Changing your eating habits takes time and practice. It's normal to feel like you've slipped a little on your goals once in a while. But it's important to stay on track and keep trying.

There are many things, such as emotional eating or easy access to fast food, that can make it hard to change how you eat.

Finding your barriers and learning how to get around them can help you reach your healthy-eating goals.

For more information, see:

actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Overcoming Barriers to Change.
What Influences How You Eat?

Emotional eating

Emotional eating means that you eat too much or too often for reasons other than hunger. You may eat because you're sad, depressed, stressed, or lonely. Or you may use food as a reward. Food can be soothing and distract you from what's really bothering you.

If you are an emotional eater, you may not listen to your body's natural signals. You may eat more than you need or want.

actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Recognizing Your Hunger Signals

To find out what causes you to eat this way, keep an eating journal for a week or two. Write down everything you eat, plus the time of day and what you were feeling right before you ate. This will help you identify things that trigger emotional eating.

You may want to talk to a counselor for more help in understanding your emotions and eating habits.

Get more tips on dealing with emotions and eating.

Easy access to less healthy food

It can be hard to eat healthy foods when fast food, vending-machine snacks, and processed foods are so easy to find. The good news is that there usually are healthy choices, even at fast-food restaurants.

Here are a few tips:

  • Learn which restaurants offer healthier choices. For example, choose fast-food restaurants that allow you to order a side salad instead of fries with your meal.
  • Have healthy snacks ready for when you get hungry. Keep healthy snacks with you at work or school, in your car, and at home. If you have a healthy snack easily available, you'll be less likely to pick a candy bar or bag of chips from a vending machine instead.

For more information, see:

actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Making Healthy Choices When You Eat Out.
Quick Tips: Making Healthy Snacks.
Quick Tips: Adding Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet.
actionset.gif Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

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