I admit it. I’m guilty of mindless eating. Sure, it all starts innocently enough. I’ll grab a bag of chips while working, thinking “hey, I’ll just have a few” and then ten minutes later, I’m shocked to find I’ve finished more than half of the entire bag. It doesn’t take much time to do A LOT of damage and that, my friends, is why mindless snacking can pack on the pounds. Putting a stop to mindless eating can be one of the best things you can do in your quest for better health & fitness (and a smaller waistline). So how can you make it happen?
Stop Mindless Eating in 4 Simple Steps
Tip #1: Round up the Usual Suspects and Throw ‘Em Out
What foods do you have in your home/office/workspace that you frequently find yourself mindlessly noshing on? Whether it’s Doritos, Girl Scout cookies or yes even those delectable little jelly beans you keep in a candy dish “for guests,” round ’em up and toss them in the trash. Tough love? YES.
But if you’re someone who’ll plow through them in moments, you need that tough love. If you’ve tried this tactic before and found yourself delving into the trash can to retrieve your goodies, go one extra step and be sure to not only empty the bag or box of whatever junk food you fancy into the trash- put a little extra nasty on it (think salt, vinegar or even dish soap). That way you won’t go back for more when no one’s looking.
Tip #2: Stock up with Healthy Snack Options
You don’t need to stop snacking entirely. That’s just plain cruel. Keep some smart whole food options on hand for snacking. Think apples & almond butter, veggies & hummus, grapes & nuts. You can even portion these out and put in ziploc snack bags (because yes, you can overdo it on healthy foods as well). Tempted to grab a box of 100 calorie snack packs? Although it’s not the worst thing you could do, it’s certainly not the best either. Junk food is still junk food irregardless of portion sizes. Check out the video below for my soapbox rant (and see just how much better 100 calories of whole foods looks compared to the paltry portion of cookies in a snack pack):
Tip #3: Make some places “off limits” for eating
Think about where you are most frequently when you find yourself in the midst of a mindless snacking, emotional eating or full-out binge session. Then make that area completely off limits when it comes to eating. Whether it’s the sofa, your desk or even just standing next to your pantry or fridge, put up a mental yellow police line crossing tape all around the spaces in your home or office where you find yourself mindlessly eating. Best place to eat is at a kitchen table- away from the distraction of the television, a computer or even your smartphone. The less surrounding distraction, the more you’ll be focused on the food- aware of not only how much you’re eating, but how it tastes and how full you become.
Extra special bonus when you implement this tip: no more crumbs on the furniture or around your workspace. Let your inner neat freak rejoice!
Tip #4: Timing is everything
Many of us fall victim to mindless eating at night- not necessarily because we’re hungriest at that time, but most likely because we’re distracted by primetime TV & the endless stream of crap food commercials. If you’re one of those folks who mindlessly snack at night, make it a general rule not to eat after 7 P.M. (unless you’re genuinely hungry and/or haven’t yet had your dinner- in which case, I’d say leave the TV off, sit at the kitchen table and focus on your meal).
When do you find yourself mindlessly snacking throughout the day? Make sure you have pre-portioned healthy snacks on hand or an alternate plan of activity (think brisk walk!) during your “high snacking” times. Knowledge is power. When you know your triggers, you’re better equipped to tackle them head on.
Have your own tips to combat mindless snacking? Share in the comments below!