Are You Hungry or Are You Bored?
Some easy ways to talk yourself out of snacking, which can equal overeating.
So as I've mentioned, my nighttime snack is 33 chocolate chips of different flavors. It's usually grabbed right after I've gotten up from the dinner table, maybe 30-60 minutes after finishing dinner.
Am I hungry? No!
Does it feel like I need food of a certain flavor to take with me to the couch?
That's why it's a carefully measured, easily trackable item that takes awhile to eat slowly that doesn't pack on calories. 80 to be exact.
This works because I've done some thinking as to WHY I get that craving.
So most people eat three meals a day. Three meals is acceptable for most routines in our society, so let's say you religiously eat three meals, none of them being huge to your standards.
But what about snacks? Right, what about them? Snacks are great for children, who are growing and need more calories, athletes that are going to burn more calories, and for "grazers" or those that don't really eat three full meals.
Take me for example, I'm a partial grazer. I drink a protein shake for a late lunch, so I allow myself a snack later, knowing that I might actually get hungry before bed if I don't, because all of my meals are light.
What about you? Do you eat three meals plus a snack or two? Is a meal not really a meal, but could add up to two snacks spread out?
If you eat three meals plus snacks each day, and you're in the population that is aware that you should be cutting back, I've bet you've had this thought:
"If I don't have this snack, I'm going to be hungry and it won't be convenient to eat in a little while."
or this one...
"I'm going to be parked here on the couch/bed/recliner/outside for awhile, let me bring some food to munch on."
or better yet:
"I'll bring these snacks with me for when I'm hungry!" followed by, "I don't want these sitting around, so I better eat them up."
On the surface they are all practical thoughts. The problem is that they all can potentially lead to eating when you aren't hugry, which leads to overeating and weight gain if this becomes a habit or part of your routine.
And the truth is, many of us are more prone to do this type of eating behavior when we are bored, or during our down time.
You're sitting still after a long day, and you're hands want to be doing something while watching Netflix, so you eat instead.
At least when you're scrolling on the phone you may not be eating... greasy screens are gross, right?
But seriously, try doing something with your hands while doing passive activities, like watching a screen. They make all those interesting fidget toys now. There's a good chance you may not even miss the snack you used to eat while doing it.
The toughest part will be NOT going to the pantry when you realize it's snack time.
That's where you'll have to make sure that there's a different thought to counter it. Here's an example:
"Ooh! It's snack time!" "Oh, wait." "I'm supposed to do something else with that. Let me grab a fidget toy before I sit down." "But food! What if I get hungry in an hour?" "Nope. I'll be too distracted to realize, AND I won't feel like getting up for it." "Blankies."
Distractions away from food WORK. They do. If you're still thinking about the food, you haven't distracted yourself enough from it.
Also remember that if you're hungry, it's your body's way of telling you it is ready for food. If you're not actually hungry, your body doesn't need the food right now.
If you are not physically hungry, it's something else: you're bored, you're in the routine of having food in the same setting, you need to do something with your hands, or....
You're dehydrated. You can sometimes feel hungry if you haven't had enough water. Again, it's the body telling you it needs something.
Try the water, then distract yourself. If it's outside a mealtime, you'll likely be just fine.
Some things to try!