By Hope Kumor
So, you’re busy sitting at work and lunchtime rolls around. However, you don’t think too much about it since you have loads of work to do. An hour rolls by and when you’ve completed your tasks, so you grab something to eat. Then, boom, two hours later, you’re hungry again. You tell yourself you can’t eat, but once your eyes meet those free chocolate glazed donuts purchased for the office, you can’t help but grab one. Before you perform this act, you must stop!
According to Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, a registered dietitian, educator, and blogger at RealMomNutrition.com says, “Food seems like the perfect, easy, delicious solution. It’s also social–you go to the vending machine or to the coffee shop with a coworker and his or her purchase will likely influence yours for better or for worse.” She also provides us with five tips to stop that mindless eating!
- When you have the urge to eat and you know it’s probably not hunger because you’ve just eaten lunch an hour ago, for instance, put it off for about 10-15 minutes–send a few emails, call a friend, run a quick errand and then see if the urge is still there or has passed. It might’ve been boredom or a fleeting craving. If you’re really truly hungry, eat something benign like an apple and move on.
- Don’t keep junk food in plain sight. Get rid of candy bowls in your house and at the office. Put the chips up high where you can’t see or easily reach them. Pack up the leftover birthday cake in foil instead of a clear container so it’s not in view and calling your name. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
- Avoid eating right out of the package. Research at Cornell University has found that we eat more when we eat directly out of packages, especially large ones. When you eat from the package, you lose track of how much you’ve eaten. There’s no visual cue, like an empty plate/bowl that you’ve had “enough”–until you eat the whole package of course!
- If you’re really struggling with mindless eating, track your food intake for a week either on paper or using an app like MyFitnessPal–it forces you to be mindful of what you’re eating and to think before taking a bite. Sometimes, just the thought of recording it may be enough to make you stop and realize you’re not even hungry. A food record will also help you identify when you’re most prone to mindlessly eat and that can help you come up with solutions and alternatives. If you mindlessly eat at night while watching TV, for instance, maybe you can watch on your tablet computer in your bedroom, away from the kitchen, instead or maybe you can walk on your treadmill while you watch your shows.
- If you just have to munch on something, pick something you can mindlessly nibble on that doesn’t have much caloric consequence, like a baggie of crudite, sugar snap peas, carrots, celery, peppers, etc. As a bonus, you’ll be getting extra nutrients and meet your daily veggie servings.
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