There is a reason why Lay’s potato chips say “You can’t just eat one”….
Losing touch with your body’s natural hunger and satisfaction signals can lead to chronic overeating – and unhealthy extra pounds that can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. When Swedish researchers compared the eating habits and weight of 4,359 people, they found a consistent pattern: Overweight people ate more snacks than normal weight people. And if you snack on junk foods, you’re also flooding your body with trans fats and saturated fats, excess sodium and sugars and refined carbohydrates.
With determination, anyone can fix bad eating habits and anyone can get to a healthier, more natural weight. By acknowledging the psychological issues behind your snacking habits, you’ll find that there are other choices besides eating that provide what you need. By paying attention to your hunger signals and switching to healthy snacks, you can boost nutrition, control cravings, lose weight, and avoid energy slumps.
Here are some tips to fix our uncontrolled snacking:
Reacquaint yourself with hunger. If you’ve lost touch with the feelings of hunger and satisfaction, try post posting eating until your stomach is truly hungry and your body is craving fuel. You might be surprised at how long the wait is!
Before you eat rate your hunger on a scale from 1 to 10. On the hunger scale, 1 is “starving, feeling light-headed”, 5 is “comfortable”; and 10 is “so full I feel sick”. Your goal: Eat only when you reach a 3.
Stop eating well before you’re stuffed. Finish when you reach a 6 on the hunger scale – just a little bit full. You’ll eat less – and be truly hungry again in time for your next meal or snack.
Satisfy emotional hunger the right way. So much of snacking is related to stress, boredom, even sadness and depression. If you need a psychological boost, don’t turn to chocolate. Treat yourself to relaxation or fun. Take a walk, call a friend, or make plans to socialize. Express anger, frustration, sadness, and other emotions to a confidant, a journal, or the person who’s triggering your feelings.
Put a stop to mindless eating. If snacking is simply a long held bad habit that helps you get through the day’s routine, it’s time to ban chips, ice cream, pretzels, and all other snack food from every room except for the kitchen or lunchroom. If you can’t take a break, and chewing and drinking are comfortable to you, turn to sugarless gum and tea or ice cold water to satisfy your needs.
Replace junk food with real food. Throw away chips, crackers, cookies and candy. Instead, stock fruits, veggies, whole-grain crackers, nuts and low fat or fat free dairy products. Make you snacks beneficial to your health.
Plan snacks like real meals. Try healthy, high-fiber fruits and fresh vegetables such as baby carrots or cherry tomatoes, and for a more substantial snack, perhaps some whole-grain crackers, with a dab of peanut butter. Put your snack on a plate, pour a glass of water or a cup of tea, and sit at a table to enjoy it.
Try and put some of these tips to work for you today and not only cut your chances of illness down the road, but lose some excess weight in the process. Not a bad deal if you ask me!
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