HALT to Help With OvereatingJun 20, 2023
I first learned about the acronym, HALT through Dr. Amen's brain clinic. It made such sense to me that I thought it was important to share with you, especially if you have been dealing with overeating due to the stress in your life.
What is HALT?
HALT is an acronym that is commonly used in addiction treatment programs, but it is also particularly helpful for overeaters who have trouble coping with daily stress. HALT has proven to be a very effective way to keep people on track when they are trying to change their eating habits.
HALT stands for:
Don’t get too HUNGRY.
Don’t get too ANGRY.
Don’t get too LONELY.
Don’t get too TIRED.
HALT: Don't get too Hungry - Be sure to not go too long without food. Going too long without food can lower your blood sugar levels, which can lead to a variety of emotional issues, including feelings of stress, anxiety and irritability.
HALT: Don't get too Angry - Uncontrolled anger can send you running to the cookie jar to calm your stress.
HALT: Don't get too Lonely - Social skills and a positive social network are critical to your emotional well-being and ability to cope with stress. Working on your current relationships can help you maintain control of your eating habits.
Here are some tips to increase your social bonding:
- Enlist a team of supporters and healthy role models.
- Volunteer in your community.
- Join a church group, recreational sporting team, book group, or any other type of group that appeals to you
- Make it a priority to spend time with your friends and family.
- Make a list of people you can reach out to when you are feeling sad, anxious, mad, or frustrated.
HALT: Don't get too Tired - Your ability to cope with stress depends on getting adequate sleep. A single night of sleep loss leads to amplified feelings of stress, anxiety, and anger in reaction to mild stressors.
Lack of sleep also lowers overall brain function, which leads to poor decision-making. Research clearly shows that inadequate sleep leads to higher calorie intake and higher consumption of refined carbohydrates, which causes blood sugar levels to spike and then crash.
Make sleep a priority to boost brain function, moods, and energy levels, and to improve judgment and self-control.
Here are 5 ways to get a good night's sleep:
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule - going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each day, including on weekends. Get up at the same time each day regardless of sleep duration the previous night.
- Create a soothing nighttime routine that encourages sleep. A warm bath, meditation, or massage can help you relax.
- Don't take naps! This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you have insomnia. Taking naps when you feel sleepy during the day compounds the nighttime sleep cycle disruption.
- Sound therapy can induce a very peaceful mood and lull you to sleep. Consider soothing nature sounds, soft music, wind chimes, or even a fan.
- Don't drink any caffeinated beverages in late afternoon or evening. Also avoid chocolate, nicotine, and alcohol- especially at night. Although alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, it interrupts sleep.
When you consistently practice HALT, it increases your ability to cope with stress, make good decisions, and stick with healthy eating habits.
If you need help with your emotional eating patterns and just don't know what else to do, reach out to me. I have been there, and I can help. Schedule an Exploration Session with me by clicking the button below.
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