We all have those moments when we find ourselves chowing down on everything and anything in sight. Most of the time I’m not even hungry or aware of what I’m doing. Then I look down and wonder. Did I just eat all that?
You reach for a snack and 15 minutes later you’re left with nothing but crumbs and a guilty conscious. Sound familiar? Mindless eating is one of the many reasons people struggle with weight loss. The good news is you can take control of your eating habits right now with these seven tips to stop mindless eating.
Identify Your Triggers
Figure out why you are eating outside regular planned meals. Most people eat out of boredom, stress, sleep deprivation, to be social or fill an emotional void. Ask yourself, “what makes me thoughtlessly chow down?” If you’re truly honest with yourself, you will become more aware of your triggers and willing to change those habits.
Control how much you are eating before you start eating. Never eat snacks straight from the package. Portion snacks into individual plastic bags or into a bowl. So many snacks can be purchased pre-portioned now & are well worth the investment for the time it saves you.
Portion prepared meals with leftovers into individual containers before eating a meal. This help prevent overeating or going back for seconds. Using smaller plates will also give you the illusion that you are eating enough. A larger plate can stimulate your mind to think it still needs more.
Don’t Eat Distracted
Eating distracted i.e. in front of a TV, computer or phone causes you to eat faster and eat more. Eat unwired with your entire focus on your food. This will bring your focus on the meal, slow down your eating and help you feel more fulfilled after.
At the end of each week, plan your meals for the following week. Use a calendar or notebook that it can be placed visibility for everyone to see. Having a plan let’s everyone know what to expect and when and eliminates the pressure of finding something to eat when life gets busy. This is critical to prevent over eating or making unhealthy choices.
Meal planning can save you money too because a meal plan is your grocery list. Having a list in hand, gives you a mission to accomplish and prevents you from wandering astray and buying more than you need.
Every Sunday prep your food for the week. Wash and cut produce. Prepare lunches. Divide dinners into individual containers for easy access every night.
Maintain a Food Journal
Track what you eat every day & be honest with yourself. Sometimes seeing things helps us understand our habits better and identify changes. Many apps are now available to track food and weight loss. I recommend Lose It, My Fitness Pal, Fooducate, Weight Watchers Mobile and Calorie Count.
Get outside for a walk, bike ride or head to the gym for group fitness, a swim or another activity you love. Getting active not only distracts your mind from eating, but also increases endorphins which reduces hunger.
What are your tips for stopping mindless eating? What do you usually eat too much of – ice cream, chips, nuts, crackers, cereal, broccoli? Mine is nuts.
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