Whether it's caused by stress, anxiety or just plain boredom, snacking is one of the largest obstacles on the road to weight loss. So how can you stop snacking and save yourself from nibbling (without feeling completely deprived)? Here are 7 tips to stop mindless snacking:
1. Don't Skip Meals
Create set meals and snack times for yourself throughout the day and stick to them. This will help you to stick to a nutritious eating schedule, and will also fight the urge to nibble on unhealthy foods by keeping you full on healthier options.
2. Don't Buy Unhealthy Foods
Create a shopping list and stick to it. Write a list every time you go grocery shopping, no exceptions. This will help you to avoid accidentally strolling down the candy aisle and picking up something you don't need. Also, be label conscious when shopping. Don't buy anything that has a fat content which is over 5 percent per serving. Replace your favorite foods that contain a high fat content with healthier alternatives, like low sodium pretzels rather than potato chips, or graham crackers rather than chocolate chip cookies.
3. Drink Water, and Lots of it
Most people confuse thirst with hunger and will start to snack when their bodies are just trying to tell them they're thirsty. Before you reach for that snack, have a glass of water first. Then give yourself five minutes and see if you are still hungry. Listen to your body, and try and understand what it's asking for (before making assumptions and heading to the vending machine).
4. Keep Busy
Most people tend to eat when they are bored. Find a task to do around the house, or better yet, take up a new hobby. Activities that keep your hands busy, like knitting, will help to keep your mind off of food so that you aren't eating out of boredom. The busier you are, the less time you'll have to think about food.
5. Put Down the Remote
Get away from the TV to avoid mindless eating. A bag of chips can be devoured all too quickly when you're fixated on your favorite show. So get up, get out and get active. Need to relax? Try reading a book or magazine, which will keep your mind active, rather than sitting in front of the TV.
6. Brush Your Teeth
Foods just don't taste right after brushing your teeth. Avoid late night snacking by brushing your teeth immediately after dinner.
7. Treat Yourself
Depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy the most means you are more likely to binge on them later. Every now and again, enjoy your favorite foods in moderation to avoid destructive behavior in the future.
No matter how diligent you are about your diet, everyone has their moments of weakness. If you notice yourself having difficulty controlling your snacking, keep a food diary, writing down everything you eat and how you feel before and after you've eaten it (use Fitday's online journal). This will help you to keep track of when and why you snack. After you review what you've eaten for the day, think about which of the 7 steps you can utilize to help you avoid snacking in the future.