Appetite Seem Out of Control? Put a Stop to Mindless Snacking With These Tips
Sometimes it can seem like your appetite has a mind of its own. Maybe it’s an hour after lunch and you’re hungry for chips, or perhaps you’ve finish cleaning up after dinner and all of a sudden you’re filling a bowl with ice cream. Whatever the scenario, allowing your appetite to dictate when you eat might be easy, but it could also cause you to consume more calories and junk food than you need. That’s because what sometimes feels like a growling stomach could be caused by boredom, a routine or other non-physical-hunger-related cues.
If you find yourself mindlessly reaching for food, use these tips to ensure you’re reaching for the right reason:
- Drink a glass of water: You may be mistaking hunger for dehydration. When you’re not adequately hydrated, your body gets confused and signals that you’re hungry instead of thirsty. Keep a glass of water within arm’s reach and drink some—in half an hour you’ll be able to tell if you’re actually hungry or just needed a drink. Always drink a glass of water first thing in the morning as your body is in a natural state of dehydration after hours without water. Doing so will wake your body up faster than coffee and help stabilize blood sugar.
- Don’t skip breakfast: You’ve heard it before, but waiting until lunch to eat is going to wreak havoc on your hunger signals (a reason why breakfast skippers are 4.5 times more likely to be overweight). Keep blood sugar steady (if it’s out of whack, it can make you hungry throughout the day) by eating a healthy, filling breakfast such as eggs and whole wheat toast or oatmeal and fresh berries.
- Get moving: Sometimes hunger strikes because you’re bored and eating is a mindless action! Distract yourself by going on a walk or doing a quick workout. If you’re at the office, take a flight of stairs or a few laps around the office floor. Exercise can also restore the sensitivity of neurons in your brain, which also keeps your appetite at bay.
- Have a cup of tea or coffee: Caffeine is actually a natural appetite suppressant. This isn’t an invitation to drink cups and cups of coffee all day long, but in moderation, coffee and tea can boost your metabolism and keep hunger at bay. Just make sure to limit the amount of sugar and cream you add to lessen unnecessary calories!
- Look back fondly on your meals: Studies show that remembering your most recent meal and how filling and satisfying it was can help you eat less later in the day. Write down what you’re eating as you’re doing it—you’ll be able to jog your memory later while focusing on how delicious the food is in the moment.
- Sit down to meals. Multitasking while eating is distracting and the brain does not register that you ate. Take time out to calmly sit down to eat, even if it’s a snack. Turn off technology and focus on what you are eating—and enjoy it! Your mind will register the food and reduce the feeling of being unsatisfied.
If your body is still telling you you’re hungry after trying these tips, then grab a healthy snack like a hard-boiled egg, a small handful of almonds or veggies and hummus.
Looking for guidance reaching your health goals? These blogs can provide helpful tips:
- Make Time for Your Health All Winter Long
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- Do You Make These Mistakes When Setting Goals?
Photo credit: Graham Holt