We’ve all been there before; you open up a bag of chips or a sleeve of cookies with the intent of only having a handful, or sticking to the portion size. You start out well enough, sneaking in a few extra bites, but vowing to put the food away after those one or two extras. Before you know it, you’ve demolished the entire container and are left with only an empty bag and an aching stomach. Mindless snacking has the power to completely derail dieters, and most of the time we don’t even realize that it’s happening until it’s too late. If you’ve found yourself the victim of mindless snacking one too many times, use these 10 tips to help cut it out of your life forever:
1. Maintain a food journal. It’s easy to ignore how much you’ve eaten when you aren’t keeping track of the foods you’re consuming. Writing down everything you eat helps you stay more accountable while you’re dieting because it’s all there in plain sight.
2. Portion out foods you know you’re likely to overeat. If there are certain foods that you know you have trouble limiting yourself to, pre-portion them out into plastic bags as soon as you get home from the store. This makes it easier to just grab the correct portion size and stick to it.
3. Stop buying trigger foods. Everyone has one or two foods that they just can’t get enough of, even when they know it’s wrecking their diet. To avoid mindlessly eating these types of foods stop keeping them in the house.
4. Do something else. When you start to feel the need to snack coming on do something else instead. Wash the dishes, fold the laundry, give yourself a pedicure, read a magazine… anything that takes your mind off of snacking.
5. Drink plenty of water. Far too often people confuse thirst pains with hunger pains, and end up snacking on foods between meals because they think they’re hungry when they’re really just thirsty. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and when you find your stomach grumbling drink a glass of water first. If you’re still hungry 10 minutes later then get a snack.
6. Eat plenty of healthy fats and proteins. Many snacks are full of refined or processed carbohydrates, which our body digests quickly, making them mucheasier to overeat. Change the way you snack and instead eat foods that are packed with healthy fats and plenty of protein. This will help keep you satiated for longer periods of time.
7. Get enough sleep. People are much more prone to mindless snacking when they’re tired because they’re less aware of the types of food that they’re consuming. Many times people snack to make up for the fact that they’re tired.
8. Exercise regularly. When you make one good decision, such as the decision to exercise each day, you’re much more likely to continue making good decisions throughout the rest of the day, such as fueling your body with healthy foods instead of mindlessly snacking on foods that aren’t good for you.
9. Allow yourself treats from time to time. One of the biggest causes of binges is completely cutting yourself off from treats that you enjoy. Allow yourself to indulge in one serving of your favorite unhealthy snack occasionally – just don’t let it become a regular habit.
10. Evaluate why you want to snack. The next time you find yourself reaching for the bag of chips think about why you’re getting it out. Are you really hungry? Or are you stressed, tired, or emotional? Many times we eat because of emotional voids and not nutritional ones.
Don’t let mindless snacking derail your weight loss efforts. Use these ten tips to help avoid binging on snack foods, and focus on fueling your body with quality foods instead.