6 SIMPLE TRICKS TO BEAT MINDLESS EATING
How do you make “mindless snacking” MINDFUL?
You interrupt it.
Disrupt the “food trance”.
When we’re not paying attention, we can graze our way through hundreds of calories of BLT’s (Bites, Licks and Tastes). Why do we eat when we’re not hungry though?
(e.g. “I WANT FOOD, even though I don’t NEED food”)
Why do we do this?? Here’s the 3 main reasons why:
1. “I need a ‘pick me up'”
It’s mid-afternoon, and the slump just hit, but you still have work to do. Cortisol dips between 1-3pm normally, which then creates cravings for something sweet. If it’s not sugar in a coffee, it’s that leftover break room donut, or your kid’s granola bar in the pantry.
2. “Ugh, I’m BORED!”
There’s now about an hour left at work, before you wind up and head home. Boredom snacking is probably the #1 cause. It gives your hands and mouth something to do, and gives your brain a little shot of dopamine, to help you endure those last dragging minutes of the afternoon.
3. It’s Chill Time:
It’s been a long day, time to hit the couch and cruise Netflix. Of course, you always have a nibble with Netflix. 3 episodes later, when you’re scratching at the bottom of the bag or container, you’re wondering how the heck you got here … and you’re old buddy “Regret” is coming for a visit.
So, whatddya do?
1. Interrupt the trance. Set a 10 minute timer, it’ll bring you back to the present. We get hypnotized by TV and don’t even realize what’s going on, until an interruption snaps us back to reality.
2. Take that Costco bag, and divvy it up into small portions, so you’re scraping the bottom of a sandwich bag instead of a giant Costco bag. At the end of the bag, if you’re still not satisfied … it wasn’t food you were craving.
3. Want to make a snack last longer? Eat SLOWLY. (If you’re eating to be full … EAT A MEAL) The 7th cookie doesn’t have anything new that the first one didn’t. If you’re barely taking a breath between bites, it’s probably not food you need. You’re looking for an escape, and that snack is providing it.
4. If something is a trigger food … STOP BRINGING IT HOME. Seriously. Why make it harder than necessary. Out of sight, out of mind. Once you’re comfy at home, you’re a lot less likely to want to head to the store to grab some late night crap, it’s just too much effort.
5. You know what tastes like crap? Doritos, after you’ve chewed a piece of mint gum (or pretty much any savory snack). Brush your teeth if you’re at home. or chew a piece of gum. Gives you a little hit of sweet, gives you something to do, and takes your mind off of wanting to eat.
6. Go for a walk. Get the blood flowing, get oxygen to your brain. Walking is also an awesome stress relief. It buys you a few minutes to see if you’re actually hungry or really just bored.
Beating mindless snacking isn’t as hard as you think, and it doesn’t require expensive hypnotherapist sessions, or pounding truckloads of baby carrot and celery sticks.
It really just boils down to being aware, and being prepared. Have an “exit strategy”. For me, gum is my go to (or brushing my teeth after dinner).
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