We sometimes eat mindlessly or to fill a void, to match an emotion, or simply out of habit.
Here are a few strategies for trying to change that.
1. When you think you are hungry drink a glass of water. A lot of the time when we think we are hungry or our tummy feels hollow we are actually dehydrated. Try to drink a minimum of 8oz of water before snacking or sitting down for a meal.
2. Turn off the TV. How many times have you eaten more than you intended to mindlessly reaching into a bag of snacks while glued to your favorite show? Or if you usually snack during a certain show do you feel like something is missing when you take it away? Are you actually hungry here or is it a habit to eat while you watch. If you think you are truly hungry, turn off the tv and pay attention to your food. Then you can go back and finish your show (thank you dvr and Netflix….)
3. Ask yourself if you want an apple or carrots. Chances are if you are looking for a snack but “nothing sounds good” than you are just looking to fill a void or confusing real hunger with sugar cravings. If you are truly very hungry an apple or some carrots would sound fine but if you are not hungry enough to eat an apple instead of chips or something sweet or salty than first drink a glass of water and re-evaluate whether you are still hungry.
If you are actually still hungry, here are a few ideas to prevent a small hunger pain from turning into a binge snack session (what- this only happens to me??)
-Use smaller plates.
The small plate will help you control portion sizes and since we eat with our eyes first seeing a small plate look full is more satisfying than a large plate with empty space.
Use utensils when you can.
Cutting up food into small bites and taking the time to use utensils helps slow you down so you can appreciate what you are eating.
-Sit down at the table.
Break the habit of eating while watching tv or balancing you plate on your knees and eating while distracted or preoccupied so that you are mindful of each bite.
-Pre pack snacks or plan for meals to avoid overeating or grazing which can result in lots of unnecessary calories. If you already portioned out your snacks it’s easy to just grab and go and know you are making a good choice.
-Listen to your body and stop when you are full.
This one is hard. Slowing down between bites helps you to feel when this happens. Give your body time to let the food settle and satiate your hunger. And start listening to your body and responding to what it NEEDS instead of what our head thinks we WANT.