I’ll provide some tips and strategies I use on how to battle boredom eating and mindless munching.
A week from now I will be in Los Angeles to attend The Biggest Loser Season 14 Live Finale. (Thank you Planet Fitness!) As anyone who knows me well can attest, I have been a huge fan of the show for over a decade and have hosted countless viewing parties throughout the years.
The show has had a major influence in my own Weight Loss Success Story and continues to inspire me to keep the weight off every single week. Jillian Michaels is not only the reason I gave up Diet Coke in 2009 but her book, Master Your Metabolism, is the reason I gave up all artificial sweeteners and focused on eating foods that come from the ground or have a mother. (PS: In 2010 she also came out with the Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.)
Recently, a friend asked me to write a Healthy Habits post regarding a battle many of us face: snacking out of boredom, not hunger. As I begin to pack my bags to head to the LA, I can’t think of a more appropriate post (and I hope my tips are Jillian approved!)
Tips to avoid boredom eating and mindless munching:
Evaluate Hunger Levels:
Before eating a snack, I always ask myself “Does an apple sound good?” If an apple doesn’t sound good, you’re probably not really hungry.
Follow Stomach Cues, Not The Clock:
We often get in the habit of eating at the same times every day, regardless of hunger. If 3 o’clock rolls around and you automatically reach for that granola bar without thinking it might be time to stop and assess hunger levels. (Does an apple sound good?)
Are You Bored?
If that apple doesn’t sound good and you find yourself reaching for food when you’re not really hungry it is time to step back and find out why you’re mindless munching. Are you bored? Lonely? Upset? Rewarding yourself? Bonding with others? Angry? Disappointed in weight loss progress? If you’re not eating to cure hunger, you’re wasting your hard earned calories.
Instead of eating out of habit or boredom, step back and distract yourself. Call a friend, make a cup of tea, write in a journal, go for a walk, play with your kids, read a book, take a bath, paint your nails, etc.
If 20 minutes have gone by and you’re still hungry, EAT! By all means…eat. :) The ideal snack is around 150-200 calories and provides both protein and fiber. My favorite snacks include: bean dip and baked tortilla chips, string cheese and tomato juice, sharp cheddar cheese and an apple, hummus and carrots, almonds and dried apricots….did I mention I love snacking? ;-)
Last but not least, I must make the disclaimer that I LOVE snacks and feel it is important to eat every 2-3 hours. However, if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain your weight, mindless snacking and munching can be a big waste of those hard earned exercise calories. Cooking Light has a great list of Snacks Under 150 Calories if you need more ideas. Healthy snacking after a workout or between lunch and dinner is key to healthy living but mindless munching all evening out of boredom is a sure way to derail your efforts.
Keep up the good work.